Most of what I have to say today is irrelevant. Putin is focused on invading Ukraine on false premises, and a peaceful nation is being annihilated.
The object of the day was to reach the trig point on Crookrise at 415m. Sir Hugh has had an ongoing mission to visit all the 76 trig points on OS map 103, mainly in the NW part of Lancashire, although today we are in Yorkshire. This would be the final summit, and he duly touched the shining white pillar early in the afternoon, congratulations on another challenge completed.
Fortunately, we had chosen a blue sky day and the views were sparkling. In the background, on the picture above, is the lovely little ridge of Sharp Haw on the edge of the busy Dales town of Skipton. Down the Aire valley was all floods. In a northerly direction, the monument on Rylstone was prominent and the rift of Deer Gallows showed up clearly, reminding me of a long day when we climbed on all six crags on this edge of Barden Moor with a lot of rough walking between them.
Our rendezvous on this occasion was the free car park in Embsay village to make a hopefully interesting circuit, it turned out to be a full day in the hills. Above the historic village, once busy with mills, is the shapely Embsay Crag, and this was our first objective, although at the time we hadn’t realised it. In my mind, the path traversed below it en route to the reservoir, but no, we were slowly guided onto the summit. And what a summit, surrounded by gritstone craglets with a 360 degree view. The vast interior of Barden Moor with Deer Gallows, distant Beamsley Beacon, Embsay and its reservoir directly below, even more distant Pendle and the fell wall leading up to the Crookrise summit. Along the valley below, a steam excursion was puffing on the short stretch of restored railway.
A problem was how to reach the route up onto Crookrise without loosing too much height, we failed and followed a decent path down to the reservoir. This took us past a secluded ghyll complete with a lively stream, magic.
I was glad of not carrying a full climbing rack and rope up the steep track, past the perfect little boulders where we used to stop off for some warm up entertainment before the main event. Sir Hugh had promised a nostalgic visit to Crookrise Crag after the celebratory trig visit
My regular climbing partner years ago lived in Skipton, still does, so Crookrise, on his back door, was a frequent venue for our early struggles on gritstone, I knew it well. From the trig point I thought I saw a way down to the base of the rocks – but our first attempt, and second, and third, ever more precarious, only landed us into a world of moss and conifers, many of those precariously toppled by recent storms. Obviously too far west. Back up to the top, we retreated several times and yet tried again without success. This was jungle warfare that stretched Sir Hugh, and I felt embarrassed and responsible. Let’s sit down and have lunch was my best solution. I didn’t know it as well as I remembered. I tried to distract him with views across to the splendid crag at Deer Gallows.
Composure restored, we climbed the wall onto the access track and headed down the fell, our tails between our legs. More stiles were passed and investigated without any obvious ways down, but the last seemed to ring a bell in my memory. I was over and looking down on the End Slab of the main crag. Sir Hugh was ‘keen’ to follow, and soon we were stood below the slabs. The rock was in perfect condition, and I was regretting not throwing my rock shoes into my sack. But maybe my memories deceived me, the slab was steeper and relatively holdless, drawing one on to even more difficulties higher up, which I may not be able to succumb. I was content therefore to admire smugly from terra firma. The rest of the crag stretching west into the trees will have to wait for another time, even I was loosing my enthusiasm.
Back on the descending track, we met up with a pleasant couple, ‘birders’ by the look of them, who were out for the day with their binoculars. In typical Yorkshire banter, they commented on farmers, walkers and most emphatically irresponsible dog owners. On the whole, we had to agree with their sentiments, though we debated the finer points as we progressed down past the reservoir. Our contributions to bird watching were Greylag Geese on the water and Oyster Catchers swooping above.
The industrial heritage of Embsay was in evidence, with mill chimneys and mill races as we entered the village past the Manor House. It was difficult to believe it was 4 o’clock back at the car, I’ve no idea where the time went. Sir Hugh hasn’t divulged his next project as yet.
For Sir Hugh’s version of the day, see conradwalks: Trigs 103 – Final trig of 76 – Crookrise Crag
and for those interested in the crags mentioned