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River Wharfe

The Strid

At 'The Strid' the wide and shallow River Wharfe narrows to seven feet and plunges to depth of....Well, who knows?

The Strid is a section of the river that is much deeper than it is wide. The river before the Strid, perhaps sixty feet wide and six feet deep, is abruptly turned on its side and funnelled through a long rocky channel, maybe six to eight feet wide and nobody-knows-how-deep. I seem to recall that the name Strid comes from the word stride, or maybe it was the other way around. In theory, with the correct combination of long legs, agility and stupidity, it’s possible to jump or stride over at the narrowest point.


Failure to jump the Strid is inevitably fatal and no one who has fallen into the tumultuous gorge was ever known to survive.


Legend has it that Alice de Rumilly founded the downstream Bolton Priory after her son William, Boy of Egremont, pretender to the Scottish throne, was swept to his death at the Strid in 1128 when his horse failed to jump it during a hunt.


My maternal great grandmother jumped it at age eighteen. She obviously didn't see the 'danger' sign.


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