Dog Leap Stairs lead from the Castle Garth to the Side, alongside the Railway Viaduct. When the Viaduct was doubled in the 1890’s the stairs were relocated. Most local people know the name Dog Leap Stairs, even if they are unable to recall the names of any other stairs.
Dog Leap Stairs were made famous in the Dire Straits song ‘Down to the Waterline’. The first song on the first Dire Straits Album.
‘Near misses on the dogleap stairways
French kisses in the darkened doorways.
A foghorn blowing out wild and cold
A policeman shines a light upon my shoulder’
In 1772 Baron Eldon, later Lord Chancellor of England, eloped with Bessie Surtees making their escape, according to folklore, on horseback up Dog Leap Stairs. Must have been quite some horse! It is difficult to imagine any horse being able to navigate such steep stairs today!
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