Friday, 6 May 2011

Sharp Haw and Rough Haw 10.4.11

(7.5 miles) 4 hours

Well April has been a great month for weather. Unlike April 2010 where frost still lay on the ground and snow was still clinging onto the high fells, this April was positively hot!

 Sharp Haw is a great little hill just inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park boundary line, also not to far from Skipton - which is a great day out in itself. The hill seems to go to a point from most angles which is where its got it takes its name - Haw derived from the old old Norse word haugr which also means hill, and Sharp as in its appearance. A few of its neighbouring hills are worth exploring too.

So naturally, it was a train to Skipton. Now the last time we tried to get to this hill, we ended up getting as far as Shipley and doing Baildon Moor (see the blog entry) due to it being a bus to Shipley, and due to some heavy traffic we missed the connecting train at Shipley. And the next train wasn't for another hour! So with that in mind we cautiously got to Leeds station and this time just made it to our bus, which is laid on due to the on-going engineering works.

 The bus service was swift and we got our connection at Shipley, and made it to Skipton for about half past eleven. I was still aching after my hike to Buckden Pike, Great Whernside and Little Whernside the previous day! But I had promised I'd do this one and I was very much up for the trek!

This is a great walk for those who don't want a hell of a jaunt up some 700 metre peak in the middle of nowhere, but want to see the Yorkshire Dales still from a rugged perspective. It also takes in some great views of Skipton Castle and the adjacent canal. Here is the canal from a bridge on Broughton Road as we walked up into Skipton centre from the railway station...
As we cut down by the side of Skipton Castle there's a great pathway which runs next to the canal for a bit, and then up into Skipton Woods...
Skipton Castle looms out above the canal tow-path...
This man made waterfall is actually quite impressive and sounded good too...
From here the canal ends and a slow moving beck is on your left hand side as you make your way into Skipton Woods...
Eventually this frankly beautiful part of the walk snakes its way to a modern tunnel which the beck passes through under the busy A59 road. It does seem that you can't cross over this, but you can. A steep scramble up the railing lined concrete allows you to pass over the beck and the tunnel, into more of the woods. The pathway becomes pretty steep here to for a while, but there is a wooden hand rail for those needing it. Here looking back at the slope...
After following the pathway, you will eventually come to the edge of the woods. You then pass through a gate and come out onto a clearing with a sign post pointing in four directions. You have the option here to go back to Skipton for a fairly big circular route if you wish...
To get to Sharp Haw however you need to turn right here and head up the embankment of the A59 road. You then need to cross over the road (be really careful) where you should see a stile, and a path cutting across open pasture...
On the other side of this field is Skipton Golf course, which unfortunately you need to cross. I'm not really a golf fan, and seemingly not many golfers are walking fans, so be careful here as they don't seem to appreciate you walking the public foot path. The path however is clearly marked with posts for you to follow to avoid cutting across the well kept putting greens.

On reaching the other side of the course you come to the well trodden path through some long grass and passes under some trees. A stile then leads out onto a ploughed field. Across the field you get your first glimpse of The Skyrakes, Sharp Haw (centre) and Rough Haw (right). Here it is doing its best impression of the Sahara dessert, note the sharp point of Sharp Haw...

Heather pleased to finally see the hill...

On the edge of this field you need to pass through a farm gate. The path then stays to the edge of the next field. From here is some fine views of Embsay Crag, which I scaled last year...

The path leads eventually down onto Brackenley Lane. You need to turn left up the lane. Be careful here as drivers tend to race down here not expecting walkers, and with it being only a country lane can be a bit daunting to say the least! Follow the lane and you come to an intersection with the busy B6265. Cross the road and once again you should see a stile next to a farm gate...
Make your way across this sheep filled field, noting the caravan site on your left...
On the edge of the field you come to another farm gate. Go through this and come out onto Bog Lane. Walk up the twisty lane in the direction of Sharp Haw. You will eventually come to a car park on your left, with another gate across a bridleway. Turn left up the bridleway, then take the right hand boggy path towards Sharp Haw...
On top of this little hill is a Trig Point at 357 metres...
There are also some cracking views into the Yorkshire Dales from here. You can make out the hump of Rye Loaf hill to the North and up towards Malhamdale. Buckden Pike, Great Whernside and Meugher to the East, Embsay Crag and Crookrise Crag Top looming up to the South East, back towards Skipton, the Aire Valley and Ilkley Moor to the south and into Lancashire, with Pendle Hill just about visible to the South West....
Buckden Pike (left) and Great Whernside (right)...
 Looking towards Sharp Haw's neighbour, Rough Haw, and beyond towards Thorpe Fell...
 
Well you can't just do one when your here, so we made our way across the moor to Rough Haw...
Once again this is a fairly well defined path, cutting across some boggy ground. Rough Haw is pretty steep though...
The summit of Rough Haw is marked by a cairn at 339 metres...
On the edge of the hill is a substantial drop down into the valley with the B6265 on the valley floor. On the edge is a huge Limestone slab which makes a good leg dangling sit down point to take in the views. Here's a few pictures looking across the valley towards Crookrise Crag Top, see if you can spot the white painted Trig point on the summit…
From here we made our way back to Skipton along the same route as we came up, except we avoided Sharp Haw this time taking the route along the base of the hill to get back to Bog Lane.
Overall, a great walk for anyone. A good introduction to the Dales if your new to walking in the region, with a good couple of hills to bag too.
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