I’ve recently acquired a new slide scanner, and I’ve been digitising some really old slides. The other day, I was dealing with some stuff from Yorkshire, when I came upon some pictures of Uppish Ghyll. I immediately thought of a childhood song:
‘Oh, take me back to Uppish Ghyll
where the water flows uphill’
Now, although it sounds like a nonsense rhyme, it isn’t. Uppish Ghyll is in limestone country, where underground rivers aren’t uncommon. Uppish Beck emerges from the ground at the head of the gorge, and flows down the opposite side of the hill. The strange thing is, the stream first goes underground at the foot of the gorge, at least thirty feet below the head.
This was proved beyond doubt in the early 1950s, when Dr. Michael Ure, of Leeds University, and Professor Karl Horstmann, of the University of Heidelberg showed, using coloured dye, that the water did indeed, flow uphill.
This happens when an underground river meets a bed of impermeable slate, which, in some cases, forces it upwards. The phenomenon is named after its discoverers, and called the Horstmann-Ure Effect.
It was believed that this feature was unique, until the discovery of similar phenomena in the Bowyang Caves, in South Australia, and the Gouffre Breauque caves in the Tarn Valley in France.