Giggleswick Scar, Dead Man’s Cave, the Celtic Wall and more.
The ‘pieman’ and I have postponed several recent meetings because of bad forecasts, it was no different for today but we said “what the hell”. And so we found ourselves being battered by 50 mph winds on the limestone pavements above Giggleswick. Wainwright’s Walks In Limestone Country gave me some ideas, always dangerous, and I wanted to visit some of the out of the way features. I cannibalised three of his walks into one rough itinerary. Living in Skipton I presumed the ‘pieman’ would have up to date maps of the area around Settle, but no – so we had to make do with Alfred’s drawings, as good as any map I would say. The only problem being my copy was from 1970 and not all the wall gaps still exist so we had some fairly hairy up and overs, no walls were damaged on this walk!
First off was Schoolboy Cairn, above that big quarry, maybe had something to do with Giggleswick School down below. A high level promenade above the bypass road gave us a gale battered but splendid bird’s eye section above the South Craven Fault. The floods in the Ribble Valley below were all to obvious. We clambered up to the conspicuous Wall Cave, the wall seems to have gone, from where we had a view across the golf course. apparently there was previously a tarn here. There are lots of strange features in this limestone area. Below us somewhere are the popular bolted climbs on the steep scar.
Spurning other caves we marched along to Buckhaw Brow, the garage and cafe of Wainwright’s era have long since gone. Without giving any secrets away we arrived at Dead Man’s Cave and were glad of its shelter for lunch as the gale blew past. The bodiless sanctuary gave us chance to think and talk, previously these had been impossible. Guess what the ‘pieman’ dined on. The odd drip on our heads was of no consequence. My next new rendezvous was the so called Celtic Wall on the hillside above, we could not really miss it. 20m long and 2m wide and constructed of massive blocks it stood in splendid isolation. 2000 years old and possibly a burial site – who knows?
In front of us across a valley was the escarpment of Pot Scar [previously a regular climbing venue of mine until it became too polished for comfort. Climbers have a skewed take on places – Cannabis, Nirvana, LSD, Addiction, The Pusher and A Touch Of Grass were all popular lines.] and next to it Smearsett Scar. We had not knowingly been to the latter’s summit so a direct assault was commenced. We had to cling to its trig point to avoid being blown away. Views to Ingleborough, Penyghent, Fountains Fell and Pendle were glimpsed but photography was almost impossible. We spied a way off which we followed to Little Stainforth, the famous packhorse bridge above the falls and then along the Ribble to finish.
Schoolboys’ Cairn with Pendle in the background.
Looking out from Wall Cave.
Dead Man’s Cave.
The Celtic Wall.
Pot and Smearsett Scars above.
The isolated Celtic wall.
Stainforth bridge and falls.
By the way despite the forecast we didn’t have a drop of rain, the sun shone briefly, it was great to meet up with the ‘pieman’ and a first class day’s walk was grasped from nothing.
Memo as usual – buy some up to date maps.