|Silsden Bridge, and the view to Hawk Cliff Tower,|
|Silsden, and the tower of St James church.|
|The 7%(!) climb of Bolton Road, Silsden.|
|Silsden Reservoir, with Earl Crag beyond.|
|The mysterious Tower and Air Shaft, Cringles.|
|The way to Woofa Bank.|
|The Bank Lane descent and Jowett's Crag.|
|The High Moor road, with Chelker reservoir and Beamsley Beacon.|
|Barden Moor, from Draughton Height.|
|The Village Hall, and St Augustine's, Draughton.|
|The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, from Priors Lane.|
|Lumb Gill, and avoiding the A59|
|Halton Hall, Halton East.|
|The eastern fringe of Barden Moor, from Moor Road.|
|Low Crag, Barden Moor.|
Barden Road has us properly on the moorland edge, crossed by the cattle grid, arriving below the rough edge of High Crag, which doesn't quite dominate the face of Halton Height as it has been extensively quarried out in the past, and a grassy track up is used here to rise us up behind Shelter Cliff plantation, cutting off the views as all the focus has to go onto gaining another 60m of alttude in pretty short order, as the going suddenly shifts to vague and spongy before reaching the high moor top at around 350m. There won't be a detour to see the trig point up here, hiding away to the east, instead focusing the attention to the walk along the wall that contains the moor, and taking in the view of the vast gritstone slab of Barden Moor, sloping down to the east, with the high 500+m summit off to the northwest, and the depression at its centre containing, and largely concealing, the pair of reservoirs within it, while the higher hills to the north and east rise above it. Beyond the tree edge, the moor gently declines, opening out the view to the day's summit at Embsay Crag, and offers a fine view southwest to the high points of Haw Park quarry and Skipton Moor, which will be in our sightlines for much of the next hour, as views across the centre of the moor diminish. Startle some of the moorland sheep who are surprised to find someone on this path, and conclude that not a lot of traffic comes up her, even professionally, as the carcass of a dead sheep by the path seems to have decayed to nothing exactly where it fell, right above the point at Eastby Gate, where views of the crag below cannot be had. A steep descent comes to pass over Heugh Gill, or Rams Gill depending on which map you are reading, finding water management structures at the bottom of the clough and a tough climb out of it before the path clearly resumes at around 320m up on the other side, and despite the clear route, the going feels tough, as I'm clearly out of practice on surfaces like these after having done much road work over the last couple of years. The way forward to Embsay Crag seems obvious, with the rising path to it summit being plainly clear from afar, but getting there is harder than it should be, as the route across Grey Field conceals many deep grooves hidden by the moorland grass, as well as concealed streams and bogginess in places, which induce path detours and one episode of hammering it through stinking mud just before we meet the well cut path up from Embsay Kirk. As we rise, attention wanders to the railway below, getting a sightline down to Hawbank Tunnel and Embsay junction, and having heard the toots of steam whistles as we've gone on these last couple of hours, this is a fine place to finally spot the train itself as it rolls into Embsay, an Austerity tank at the head of a rake of five coaches.
|High Crag, from Barden Road.|
|The Barden Moor southern edge wall,|
with Pendle Hill, Longridge Fell, and Embsay Crag.
|Heugh Gill, or Rams Gill, the most testing part of the day.|
|Crossing Grey Fields to Embsay Crag.|
|Trainspotting on the E&BASR, from on high.|
It's a climb of about 60m to attain the top of Embsay Crag, with that kind of rough gritstone and hard sand path that kills the boots to guide you all the way to the top, a surface that I haven't had much interaction with since it destroyed pair of Boots #3 in 2013, but its a climb that's worth it to get to the 371m vantage point at the top because any summit and view is one to be greeted with joy, and it only needs to be shared with one other guy, who appears to have carried his toddler-aged daughter up there with him. I'd hoped for sunshine on the southern panorama, but the day has definitely not turned out as well as it had for most of the last four walking trips, though my new photo-chromatic glasses have a much darker tint than my old ones did, so it's not actually as overcast as my brain tells me it is as I take in the view around from Barden Fell in the east to the fringes of the Forest of Bowland in the west. The moorland views to the north are not so grand, as Embsay Moor rises above 430m to obscure everything beyond, and having spent most of my career walking in the terrain to the southeast, I'll face the southwest and look on into Lancashire, scanning the distant horizon beyond Embsay Reservoir and Skipton to see if any of the most distant hills are Winter Hill, which they aren't. It's kinda amazing that nearly five years have passed since I was last up here, pounding out the route beyond Crookrise Crag with the FoSCL group, and that's a path up that I'll have to retrace after we've headed down from the crag, choosing the longer but somewhat less steep path that leads off to the northwest before coming around again below the crag to cross Witshaw Bank down in the direction of the reservoir, to cross over Crag Gill at the point where Moor Beck pours into the body of water below. It's a descent that sees more other walkers making the ascent than had been seen over the preceding hours, and it seems that the path around the reservoir sees many more, so folks are still apt for a bit of Springtime exercise, even though our burst of early Summer has passed, and we retrace our old path down Pasture Road to pass the Craven Sail Club, which affords me a small chuckle, beofre passing below the dam and noting that Good Intent farm still endures at its foot, surrounded by the buildings of the waterworks. The high vantage points recede as we descend with the lane, passing Crown Cottage farm, and note in passing that Crown Spindle Mill, hidden way in the valley of Embsay Beck is up for sale, and ripe for purchase if I ever wanted to start a rural commune thing, rolling down to Hill Top farm at the top of the village, where a pair of llamas (or alpacas) ruminate serenely among the other sheep in their field.
|Embsay Crag looms over Embsay and Skipton.|
|The path walked on Barden Moor's edge.|
|Descending Carefully towards Embsay Reservoir.|
|Looking to the Crag, from the reservoir.|
|Hill Top Farm, Embsay, with Llama farming!|
Enter Embsay as Pasture Road runs on past the Manor house, and the mill ponds created to serve the pair of mills down the side of Embsay Beck, the upper of which, Primrose Mill has gone to be replaced by the residential development of Tannery Lane, with only the mill house and chimney enduring, while Embsay Mill, endures further down West Lane, still in business though mostly concealed away behind banks of trees. It's a more interesting thing to look at than the houses down this road, council built below the old village up the hill, but there's interest at the bottom, as we meet the Midland Railway terraces, built to serve Embsay station, hidden away on the far side of Skipton Road, and to be seen on a future date, left in our wake as we pass the Cavendish Arms and note the quantity of Tour de Yorkshire dressing still adorning the houses along here since it passed through last week. It'll be a road walk all the way to Skipton from here, passing the suburban edge of the Brackenley estate and turning attention to the passage over Haw Beck and the embankment of the preserved railway line as it reaches down to Embsay junction without quite meeting it, before we pass under the former MR Grassington branch, which ought to be ripe for preservation if the Swinden quarry ever closes down. Cross Bank then has to dive to pass under the A59, before rising again to meet the still burgeoning suburban edge of the town beyond, and to approach the former quarry and farmstead at Storems Laithe, which leads us onto the A6131 and the top edge of the Skipton Castle estate, where a remnant of the Haw Park tramway is identified, which once sent stone down to the chutes above the Springs Branch. Around the Bailey wall of the castle we proceed, past the Skipton Building Society HQ before we arrive by the castle gates at the top of the town, and take my shots towards Holy Trinity parish church and the War Memorial at the north end of High Street before looking towards the Town Hall and Public library on the descending road, hopeful that I might one day arrive here when it isn't market day. So down through the empire of vans, and the throng of shoppers, really failing to get the speed up on the last stretch of the day as we pass through Skipton's commercial heart, the route from Swadford Street and over Belmont Bridge to Broughton Road already feeling like the road walked one time too many, as the station dwells at a remove and location that's just that bit too inconvenient. It's pretty startling to conclude the day at 4.25pm, as this is a trip that has surely gone on longer than it ought to have, which has me feeling that I need to get properly back in training before I start aiming at time constrained walks over the distant and elevated Wharfedale moors when the High Season comes along.
|The remains of Primrose Mill, Embsay.|
|The Railway terrace, Skipton Road, Embsay.|
|The former Grassington Branch, Cross Bank.|
|The Haw Park tramway, behind Skipton Castle.|
|Skipton Castle Gatehouse.|
|The Empire of Vans, Skipton High Street.|
5,000 Miles Cumulative Total: 3239.7 miles
2018 Total: 140.3 miles
Up Country Total: 2961 miles
Solo Total: ????.? miles
Next Up: Spring Jollies in the Old Country, and a tilt at the Leicestershire Round, hopefully.