Troller’s Gill, Appletreewick
The caves of this deep limestone ravine are the haunt of trolls and sprites. The Gill is also associated with a black dog legend.
Parkinson in his Yorkshire Legends and Traditions (1888-9) tells how the ravine is haunted by a fearsome barguest: a huge long-haired dog with eyes the size of saucers and razor sharp saliva flecked maw. The story runs that a man who lived in the area decided to spend a night in the Gill to witness the barguest for himself. One windy moonlit night he set off down the winding ravine, as he crept into the dark depths of the ravine he heard the shout” Forbear”. This did not daunt him and he walked on until he came to a huge Yew tree, where no light penetrated. Under the tree he drew a circle on the ground, chanted charms of protection and kissed the damp ground three times. He then called on the fearsome beast to appear.
At once a howling wind blew up and fire flashed from the rocks as the barguest appeared and attacked the unfortunate man – his protective circle having no power to repel the creature. His body was discovered later by a shepherd with mysterious marks on his breast that had not come from the hand of man.
The story is said to have been recorded in 1881. This is obviously a local legend as there were no witnesses to describe his movements.