Tag Archives: Yorkshire Dales.

WEST CRAVEN WAY – Barnoldswick Thornton East Marton.

The friendly people at The Fountain Inn produced a perfect breakfast for a walking day and I was away about 9. Rather a grey start to the day. In the market square the stallholders were setting out their goods, mainly cheap clothing I’m afraid, but there was a fruit and veg stall from where I bought a couple of bananas. Soon I was onto the canal towpath, Leeds-Liverpool, and passing The Anchor Inn. This is an old turnpike inn which later became a canal-side attraction. In its basement cellar is an amazing and unexpected stalactite display.

Anchor Inn cellar.

Anchor Inn cellar.

There were a few boats moored up but no canal traffic. After a short stretch I took to the fields towards Kelbrook Moor and was soon climbing alongside the delightful Lancashire Ghyll with the mighty Pendle Hill and the diminutive Blacko Tower in the background.

The next farm’s warning signs were all too accurate…

The Pendle Way was followed for a short distance, this is a 45mile route I walked over 2 days a few years ago only to find on my completion a note on my car from a ‘countryside warden’ worrying about my whereabouts. He had been on the point of calling out the mountain rescue. It is always a dilemma when you leave your car for a backpacking trip, putting a note on the windscreen advertising your absence has never seemed sensible. I am circumspect now where I park.

The next couple of miles were through rich pastures and not well signed, I was glad of my leaflet’s directions. The way took me towards Lothersdale, a whole new world of rough moorland fields. This was the perfect territory for Lapwings/Peewits displaying their wavering flight and plaintive call. Trying to photograph one in flight was almost impossible.

To the west Earby town lay below and Weets Hill dwarfed Barnoldswick at its foot.

Weets Hill, Barnoldswick and Earby.

Weets Hill, Barnoldswick and Earby.

Dodgson Lane followed a clough down the hill and into the farmyard of an isolated and abandoned property. This was in an idyllic situation but with no suitable track to it has so far escaped the developer’s eye. The area here is steeped in old farming traditions, the stone walls a testament to their labours and everywhere reminders of the past.

The pretty village of Thornton was a contrast to the moors. Here I joined The Pennine Way [walked 50 years ago as a teenager with a heavy pack and tent]  I was now back into the lush farmland and met a farmer, the only person encountered today, checking his fences. We chatted of old times, his older than mine, shared acquaintances and places. These people are a pleasure to spend time with and full of local knowledge and worldly wisdom. A short stretch back on the Leeds – Liverpool canal and I was back in East Marton. I had time to look around St. Peters Church, with a Norman tower, which I had never visited.  Apparently in the churchyard there are memorials to some of the navvies who built the canal – but I couldn’t spot any. The next disappointment was that The Cross Keys pub in the village was closed for refurbishment. At least there were no notes on my car windscreen.

I’ve enjoyed this varied walking route and stayed dry for the trip, although the sun was shy and those cold winds persist. I am surprised that no one else seems to be out on the long-distance trails.

WEST CRAVEN WAY – East Marton Bracewell Barnoldswick.

Pendle, Longridge Fell and Bowland from Weets Hill.

The West Craven Way is described as  “a dramatic walk through some of Lancashire and North Yorkshire’s most beautiful countryside”  by Pendle Borough who produce a leaflet and internet download of the route. 24 miles in two halves, I decided to start at East Marton anti clockwise on the western half, spend the night in Barnoldswick [just off route] and complete the eastern section the following day.Z WCWCaptureA rainy morning delayed my start from E. Marton but with an improving forecast I was soon wandering up the lane to the impressive 17th century Ingthorpe Grange. Met a man using the metal coat hanger water diviner trick trying to discover the blocked drains causing flooding to the track. Hope he was successful. The rolling countryside hereabouts apparently is mainly composed of drumlins, deposited by the last ice age, overlying the limestone – very picturesque in the sunshine. The lanes here have an antiquity about them… Passed by Marton Scar, a limestone outcrop, alas too low for any climbing. I do wonder about the environmental impact of some of the modern farming practices, all too  common in the area, is this really necessary… Tracks wound through fields full of sheep and lambs to enter the old hamlet of Horton, now mainly gentrified farms and barns. Crossing the busy A59 was not easy. A lazy stream, Stock Beck… …was followed into another small hamlet, Bracewell, where the second person I met was in the garden of the old post office. He was proud of his village and pointed out the plaque on the wall stating it was originally built in 1867 for the village school master. with funds from the sale of an organ and collections in church.Opposite was the church with its Norman tower and I sheltered from the wind in its porch for a snack. A little further on I passed through what appeared to be a motor cycle scramble circuit, agricultural diversification, god knows what the noise and disturbance will be like on a race day.Narrow lanes and fields took me towards Weets Hill where I joined The Pennine Bridleway up to an isolated house on the shoulder from where I couldn’t resist the climb to the top at 397m. Here I met my third person of the day, an elderly fell runner enjoying the sunny weather. One gets a 360 degree view from here [Pendle, Longridge Fell, Bowland, Three Peaks, Barden Moor, Kelbrook Moors and Boulsworth Hill.] all a little hazy today and as the wind was ferocious I didn’t hang about.

Weets Hill with Ingleborough in the hazy distance

Weets Hill with Ingleborough in the hazy distance.

Along the ridge was a house with giant heads, why? I found some lovely little paths down from the hill and into the former mill town of Barnoldswick. The terraced houses harp back to that period but now there is Rolls Royce, Silent Night, smaller industries and a remaining textile mill.  Barlick, as the locals know it, was once in Yorkshire but was transferred to Lancashire in 1972. As one wanders in this area you are never sure of which county you are in.

I would like to give a big thanks to Fountain Inn, my accommodation for the night, lovely people –  great ales – good supper – comfy room – spot on breakfast.   http://fountaininnbarnoldswick.com/

More of the same.

The forecast was encouraging – warm, sunny with little wind. Perfect for a day’s climbing at this time of year. We could have tossed a coin or made an informed decision as to where to climb. We didn’t really succeed with either – a few clouds seemed to sway the team away from the good open higher climbing on Robin Proctor’s Scar to the low level South Giggleswick Scar. We were last here a couple of weeks ago, time for a change really. A couple of teams were already on the crag and as we arrived late the temperature was already rising. Now I can’t complain about belaying in the sun – but why here. It’s a winter crag after all and we are now in mid May. Did four decent routes, couldn’t be bothered with the last scrappy one, actually I thought  the whole place was scrappy today. I found the routes hard and fingery, struggled to stay in contact and certainly couldn’t have led them in my present state of unfitness.  On the positive side it was great to be out with good friends Dave and Rod as I’ve hardly climbed at all this last year – it showed!  We caught up with all our news and adventures. They are already planning climbing trips abroad but after today’s effort I just can’t raise my enthusiasm at this moment in time.

For the record –

Rawhide 5+

Bonanza 5

No Wavering 6a

Bramble Jelly 6a

High on 'No Wavering'

High on ‘No Wavering’


Crowshaw Quarry.

Crowshaw Quarry.

Since my last post I’ve survived a heavy week of birthday celebrations [21 again!] and a trip along the Silk Road in Uzbekistan [more of that later] but ‘mysteriously’ gained about 7 pounds in weight. I blame the latter on the Uzbek Plov, surely not the vodka!?  So with the arrival of all this beautiful warm sunny weather I had to get out and flex my muscles on the rock. Craig Y Longridge has had all the usual suspects training away – I struggled. The strong winds also had the unfortunate trick of blowing your mat away just when you were getting scared of the drop. So I found my way up to the recently developed Crowshaw Quarry for some new boulder problems on the cleaned low wall to the left. These were in perfect condition in the morning sunshine yesterday but unfortunately my soft skin, unused to climbing gritstone, soon produced a couple of finger flaps.Taping up always unravels for me and bleeding soon ensured leading to an early lunch – will be back.

Starting Tweeter and the Monkey Man.

Starting Tweeter and the Monkey Man.

But that was only bouldering. Because of my toe operation its over a year since I climbed with Rod, or did any routes. I could not let this warm April weather go by without getting out onto some proper climbs. Over the phone the choice was Giggleswick or Wallowbarrow. I went for the former to avoid the long drive, could have been a mistake. Today the sun was soon warming the limestone which I found to be far steeper and more polished than on my last visit. We had the whole of Giggleswick to ourselves, maybe everyone else had gone to Wallowbarrow.

Thanks to Rod’s leading I managed to second half a dozen 5’s – [memo for tonight – no food and definitely no vodka]. The day was superb and the heat built up as the afternoon progressed.

Over the garden wall.

Over the garden wall.

From the anchor chains I had time to appreciate the situation in the valley and had some superb views over to Pendle and up to Buck Haw Brow. The motor bikes were screaming past.

Golf course, Giggleswick and Pendle.

Golf course, Giggleswick and Pendle.

Buck How Hill.

Buck Haw Brow.

Could be stiff in the arms tomorrow.


My 13yr old grandson has wanted to climb Ingleborough since he saw it full on, a couple of years ago, whilst caving in Chapel le Dale. He was staying with me this week but the weather seemed to have taken a nose dive [the back end of hurricane Bertha] We bravely set off in high winds and rain but at the base of Ingleborough itself could see an ascent today would be unwise and futile.

Ingleborough under cloud.

Ingleborough under cloud.

Plan B – Ingleton Waterfall Walk.zCapture.JPGfalls  I’ve not done this for years. The price of entry has certainly escalated [I’ll not comment further] though I seem to remember we used to sneak in above the  turnstiles without paying. Lots of families visiting today no doubt because of the weather, so there was a chatty, jolly atmosphere as we made our way around. You go up the River Twiss [the private part] and down the River Doe, both are impressive gorges. You walk through limestone, slates and sandstone so a good opportunity for a geology lesson. The bit in the middle connecting the two rivers over farm land usually boasts a mobile ice cream van parked in the green lane!  I don’t ever remember seeing the money tree before in Swilla Glen – an old tree completely studded with coins making it look like armadillo skin.After all the rain we have had every fall today was full of peaty rushing water – very impressive.

Pecca Falls.

Pecca Falls.

Hollybush Spout.

Hollybush Spout.

Thornton Force.

Thornton Force.

Beezley Falls.

Beezley Falls and Triple Spout.

Rival Falls.

Rival Falls.

Baxenghyll Gorge.

Baxenghyll Gorge.

And last but not least ….

Snow Falls.

Snow Falls.

My grandson thoroughly enjoyed the walk, and the ice cream, so the day was a success and Ingleborough can wait for a better day.  If you haven’t been round this trail before or have in the mists of time pick a day to visit after heavy rain – you will appreciate. A little Switzerland.


The e-mail message said South  Pennines grid ref. 018 362 at 9.45am.

Twisty roads over from Colne made me late into the carpark.  I wasn’t too sure of my whereabouts but a huge white sign on a hill ahead spelt out Welcome to Yorkshire – the Tour de France had been through last weekend. The other five were booted up and ready to go. Two are from Yorkshire so the score is 4 – 2. A long straight track took us onto Haworth Moor and then a descent into a pretty valley at The Bronte Bridge and waterfalls, mentioned by Charlotte in 1854. Everything around here has a connection, true or fabricated, to the Bronte Sisters. Today the stream was running empty so the waterfalls were disappointing. Signs directed us up towards Top Withens – this is the first time I’ve noticed Japanese characters on a sign post in England, obviously reflecting the Brontes’  popularity with those tourists. The farm is now mostly ruined though one room has been restored and wooden benches added to serve as a refuge on The Pennine Way which we were now following. The situation is said to have been used by Emily in Wuthering Heights. Lovely open space walking led across the moor and down to Walshaw Dene Reservoirs. As it was the PW the path had been flagged through the peaty terrain. An early lunch break was called at the emptied middle reservoir. Time for a debate as to our onward route and much map gazing.

Four men and a map.

Refreshed we climbed over Wadsworth Moor and down to the attractive hamlet of Walshaw. Then up again past old farms and down to Paddock Beck on sketchy paths. A long  ascent of the old Hebden to Haworth road proved to be very sweaty in the afternoon heat. We had actually been walking most of the day in Lancashire but we then descended steeply to the Leeshaw Reservoir back in Yorkshire. Yet another uphill took us back to the carpark, the walk planner was getting some stick by now for all the descents/ascents [2700ft] packed into what was a relatively short walk [11miles]

We needed a visit to The Friendly pub up the road in Stanbury to restore our composure with a pint of Goose Eye Brewery’s Maillot Jaune, a blonde summer ale produced to celebrate the tour in Yorkshire. Delicious.  Out of interest other local breweries have come up with the following imaginatively named special tour brews – On Yer Bike,  Le Champion and Saddle Sore.

Get them whilst you can.

THERE’S WALKING AND THERE’S TALKING. [much ado about nothing]

Sunday’s walk definitely came into the talking category. i had been trying to arrange a trip with friends up to White Hill, in the heart of the Bowland Hills, whilst the dry weather lasted but had been frustrated by a few wet weekends. There is no point going up there in bad weather with no views. I can be flexible with the days to fit the forecast but my friends, having to work because of the dour pensions situation, can’t.

So plan B was devised to do a low level walk easily accessible to us all. Even so we cancelled the Saturday because of heavy rain – glad we did. Sunday dawned dull but an arranged leisurely [10.30 AM] meet at East Marton seemed perfect as the day improved and blue sky appeared.

The usual suspects were involved. A the salesman. D the adviser. H the pieman. J the navigator [unfortunately me].   B the rock man never appeared.

D H and J assembled at the rendezvous at the appointed time. No sign of the usually punctual A. The call came through – he had turned right instead of left and ended up on the far side of Skipton. Being benevolent we waited for him to reappear, at speed, along the A 59.  No mercy was spared on the comments on his navigational deficiencies.

A “raggle-taggle, beggarly crew” set off along the road to pick up our first bridleway. As this led off the main road there was obviously a problem with those people who, mistakenly, rely on their ‘sat-navs’

I dread to think what happens if you drive your HGV down this bridleway. It leads into the undulating back country on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. This area was a blast from the past for me as I spent many childhood holidays with my cousins on a farm, Stainton House, not half a mile from here.  Great memories of a carefree time. The views today, despite our moderate elevation, were wide ranging… the Three Peaks, the Bowland hills, Pendle, Weets Hill and the Craven Fells… we seemed to be in the centre of them.  By now the banter was in full swing and we were catching up on our relevant  illnesses and life crises. So minor details such as finding the correct path away from the delightful Ingthorpe Grange were ignored.

Ingthorpe Grange

Ingthorpe Grange

Only much later did we realise our [or my, the navigator! ] mistakes.  Actually not that much later – we had only gone about a mile and a half  – mainly at right angles to our intended route. It was however ‘easy’ to cut up a field to a road in our direction – unfortunately there was a major problem as this was blocked further on by engineering works.

new 278Some barbed wire walking got us through and we bypassed the grounds of Gledstone Hall to reach a road at a known point. One of the problems was trying to navigate using a 1:50,000 map, 1:25,000 are almost essential for this type of rural walking. It must also be said that there was a distinct lack  of FP signing in this whole estate area but our lack of concentration due to chatting was the main problem.

Now on farm lanes we made better progress but with less than a third of the walk completed it was unanimously decided to stop for lunch, it was well past mid-day. H the pieman had the best sandwiches. D the adviser was rather gloomy about interest rates. A the salesman had no luck. J the navigator kept quiet in view of his mistakes so far. Shame B the rock man wasn’t present to explain what we were sitting on. We enjoyed the stroll through the hidden hamlet of Horton with its lovely spruced up stone properties.

new 280Crossing the busy A59 at Monks Bridge proved difficult with the heavy traffic flow. Back in attractive rolling fields gave good walking but finding the way and stiles was again difficult with our map and lack of any signing. It didn’t look as though these paths were walked often. The town of Barnoldswick was straight ahead and that is where I had planned to join the Leeds – Liverpool Canal at Greenberfield Locks  for the last few miles.

Yet again we circumambulated [big word for went astray] and arrived in a park in town from where we seemed to take back streets through the Rolls Royce Factory to eventually get onto the canal bank. Having checked we were heading in the right direction it was another mile before we reached the popular Greenberfield Locks.

From here the canal weaves its docile way through the rural land. More walkers and cyclists were encountered, a few canal boats drifted by. Everyone seemed cheerful in the warm sunshine. You know when you are back at East Marton by the double arched bridge, 161, over the canal.

This famous feature is a result of different road levels over time. Just above is the popular  Cross Keys pub which made a perfect end to the day. They serve Copper Dragon ales from the brewery in Skipton. We enjoyed a final chat over a pint of Sun Chaser, their limited edition light summer beer. On reflection maybe a ‘sat-nav’ would be a good idea.

For a detailed map view of our 12miles wander………………..


z ingleboroughDon’t forget that clicking on photos enlarges them

Driving over from Lancashire in the sunshine held promise of a glorious day like the preceding few. Alas on crossing the border into Yorkshire greyness reigned and did so for the rest of the day. Good to meet up with old friends for today’s walk. We  arrived in Austwick at the same time thus avoiding, on all sides, the usual derision as to our time of rising or navigational skills to the chosen venue. It was presumed we had one map between the four of us, compasses weren’t mentioned. We were soon into our stride out of the delightful village of Austwick…..

Last of the summer wine!!

Last of the summer wine!!

…..past lots of characterful stone cottages.

new 132

It had been very warm this last week –

new 133Our first objective was to visit the hillside which is home to the famous Norber Erratics. These are sandstone boulders and were transported  by glaciers,  15000 years ago, from cliffs 1km away to the north in Crummackdale and were deposited  on Carboniferous limestone when the ice melted. Some of the larger erratics have protected the limestone beneath them as upstanding  pedestals of limestone. On the hillside are  a mass of such boulders but our ‘Team Geologist’ was unable to find the the most photogenic. We were in luck as the local SARDA were running a practice dog rescue on the hillside and their leader, knowing the area well, was able to point us in the right direction and assured us that if we became lost or cragfast the dogs would find us.

One of the best.

One of the best.

By now the morning was passing rapidly and we had various problems with navigating through the fields we had mistakenly become enclosed in without damaging any farmers stone walls. We realised our only map was woefully out of date by about 40 years.

new 144 Once on the correct bridle way we made better progress until it started going downhill in the wrong direction, a heated discussion resulted in a rather uncoordinated attack on the limestone pavement above us. This off-piste route did however reward us with a fine cluster of purple orchids.

Soon back onto  one of the main thoroughfares, from Sulber Nick up onto Ingleborough, and we were made aware of the vast amounts of footfall that these paths take. Masses of Three Peak walkers started to stagger down past us. Good luck to their chosen charities. The path was ‘protected’ by stretches of stone flagging  and the less durable boarding.

new 155Even in our small group  competitive hurdling appeared –

  – as we progressed towards the summit.

This was Ingleborough, 724m or 2573 ‘Wainwright’ ft, poor views, late lunch in a cold wind and hoards of people enjoying the experience on their smart phones! The top was flatter and more confusing than I previously remember.

Hint – a compass would be helpful in all but the best of visibility.                       Incidentally where does the ‘borough’ originate from?  it usually denotes a town.           We careered over Little Ingleborough and down to the unmistakable Gaping Gill.

This is probably one of the best known British potholes, the awesome surface rift leads to a vertical shaft of 340ft and a gigantic cathedral like chamber. For the full experience try to go down on one of the organised ‘cave rescue’ events on a winched chair in May or August bank holiday breaks.

Onwards now and into the dry valley of Trow Gill, which today was busy with climbers ascending the vertical limestone walls. The gorge has been transformed into a sports climbing venue – ie bolted, and is proving very popular.

A few miles, of I must say, rather tedious stony bridleways –

Bridleways coming down from Ingleborough.

– brought us back to Austwick and the welcoming  Game Cock Inn.

The Game Cock.

Over a pint we  solved  the in or out of Europe question , we considered the benefits of Pacer Poles and we worried about male breast cancer.
Till we meet again …

Family Celebrations and a New Crag!

The beginning of this week brought some days of welcome warmth and sunshine. On the Sunday  I was in Manchester to celebrate my youngest son’s 39th birthday. Eight of us went out for an Indian buffet meal, greatly enjoyed by the family with ages ranging from 4 to 94yrs. The waiters made a great fuss of the oldest and youngest, whilst the rest of us stuffed ourselves on the delicious curries.

The 4yr old!!

I had only been back home 5mins when the phone went and one of my climbing partners was enthusing about the weather [we have had little to enthuse over this ‘summer’]. It was soon agreed to have a climbing day on the Monday. As we are both long in the tooth finding somewhere new to climb in the area is difficult. He mentioned that on a winters walk in the dry valley above Malham Cove he had noticed a crag with bolted lines, not in any guide book.. This was news to us and a bit of detective work was needed to glean the necessary information. Monday dawned bright and sunny and after coffee we were soon walking through impressive Yorkshire scenery to Comb Hill.


Approach to Comb Hill.

   On the approach we thought the cliff looked a bit short and scruffy but once below  we realised it was about 16m [50ft] high. The sun was just reaching the crag as we arrived. Without all the full information choosing a first route was a bit of guess work. Setting off up the a promising line proved rather difficult and the rock was ‘awkward’ but led to a satisfying steep finale. Encouraged we spent a pleasant afternoon on the face relishing in the warm conditions and the superb Dales limestone scenery. It so happens that the popular Pennine Way path goes beneath the crag so we had a steady banter with passing walkers wondering how we had got the rope to the top in the first place!!!


Give us a clue. 6a+

It’s always difficult getting decent crag photos when there are only two climbing. Anyhow we’ll be back in the spring to explore further.

The next day,Tuesday, dawned sparkling again. This was the occasion for another family ‘celebration’ – 7yrs since my characterful father passed away.To remember the date I took my mother, the 94yr old, out for a scenic drive into the Bowland countryside. We enjoyed a grand lunch at the beautifully situated Inn at Whitewell.  Cheers Dad.

The 94yr old!

The 94yr old!

Three great days with something different to remember and take from each of them.


Some climbing at last.

The forecast for Saturday 22nd was good. Cool in the morning but staying dry with sunshine and temps of 12 degrees. The definition of dry in case you have forgotten is “lacking moisture; not damp or wet” The night before Dave had said a trip was on –  to do some climbing in Yorkshire.
It has been so wet this Summer that we doubted that anywhere in the south Lakes would be in condition. It is much easier to take the soft option and go to the more accessible crags near Settle which have the advantage of being bolted.
As the forecast was for cool in the morning, there was frost on my car at 7am, we had a leisurely start and drove over to Settle. Without any discussion I drove into the car park at The Watershed Mill, other cafes are available in Settle. Coffee has become an essential part of our pre-climbing ritual. It has the ability to stop the shakes from the previous night or start them for today!!

A few early shoppers were in the cafe on our arrival but when the cafe begins to fill up you know the coach trips have started to arrive. Coach driver X was having his free tea and chips after depositing his charges.

Morning Coffee

  Avoiding the shopping trap in the mill we drove up the valley to park for the short walk into Moughton Nab.

Moughton Nab above the Quarry.

Leisurely walk in.

The steep ascent goes round the side of a vast slate quarry which is always busy in the week but fortunately not at weekends.

Large Slate Quarry

Moughton Nab – Penyghent.

Once the crags had been reached we traversed below them to our selected area for the day. Penyghent was prominent in the background and brought a more scenic alternative to the industrial waste of the quarries.  We started on a couple of F5’s  to warm up. The rock was dry and the climbs were fairly easy.

Quarry Hill F6a

You can see from the photo the bolts that have been used to protect these climbs and convert the crag into a sport climbing area. Basically a lot of limestone crags were not getting climbed on and were becoming overgrown. Following a good clean up previously blank, unprotectable areas of rock now yielded new routes. There was some inevitable blurring of the demarcation of previous traditional climbs that had been lost to the invading vegetation. The popularity of some of these renovated Yorkshire crags says something about the possible future direction of climbing in the UK. A strong traditional ethic still holds on our mountain and gritstone crags but there is room for the Sport crags being developed. We would probably not have been climbing today on this small neglected crag if it wasn’t for the cleaning and bolting efforts of the local climbers. There is room for all sides of the sport without getting too bogged down in ethics.
The day progressed with a couple of F6a’s and an awkward F5+.
By now the sun had left the crag and hands were getting cold – time to pack up and head home, satisfied with some good climbing and the sunshine.

Pendle in the distance