Posted on 11th September 2014
This stop combines so many different things that I find absolutely fascinating. Firstly it is home to a fantastic local legend.
Troller’s Gill is a spectacular limestone ravine below Barden Fell and the steep grey crags contrast starkly against the fresh green grass of the hillside. Even the bony trees that dot the slopes and the traditional dry stone walling give it the feel of something older and deeper than the world around it. But legend adds a feel of eeriness to the place. It is said that the ghost of a large hound haunts Troller’s Gill, and has done for many generations. In fact, it is even reputed to have appeared to a lead-miner on his way home from work many years ago.
That lead miner was the Troller after whom the gill is named. But this just pulls at my deep obsession with the origins of words, phrases, quotes and names. What kind of name is Troller?! Where does it come from? I can only dream that, like such names as Smith and Baker, it has it’s origins in a profession. And what would be a Troller’s job? Why, to travel around the Yorkshire Dales, through places exactly like Troller’s Gill, hunting trolls of course!
And there is a literary connection to this story too. One legend feeds another and the hound of Troller’s Gill may also have been the inspiration behind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. Similar claims are made for many other locations, but since it is made here too I will make The Hound of the Baskervilles the second of the books I send out via Book Crossing to travel to places that I cannot. You can follow the trail of where my book is carried to via Book Crossing.