Devil's Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale

This is a picture of Devil's Bridge, at Kirkby Lonsdale, which I visited yesterday. It's close to the borders of three counties- Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Lancashire. It's a stunningly beautiful place. The bridge dates from around 1370 and was once the main route between Kendal and Skipton. Its name is intriguing for the Christian; a bridge connected to the devil sounds neither safe, nor does the destination to which it leads sound pleasant. On both counts, however, this is wrong. 

According to legend, the Devil manifested himself to an elderly woman, offering to build a bridge in exchange for the first soul to cross it. When it was completed, the woman threw a piece of bread over the bridge and her dog chased after it, thereby outsmarting the Devil. This is pleasantly fanciful. In reality it was built the monks of York, and Satan, who is real enough, need not build bridges in order to procure souls. 

Another reason it may have gained its ominous name is due to the river over which it stands. Hot summer afternoons entice people, or rather young men, to dive off into the cool waters below. As you can see from the photograph, however, the rocks just beneath the water are sharp and concealed. Furthermore, the currents are swift and strong. Jumping from Devil's Bridge has sometimes been a person's final act. 

So do go and visit this bridge. But don't go exchanging anything upon it, nor be tempted to cool down in the powerful, rocky waters beneath.