Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Skipton to Thorpe Fell Top and back 22.5.11

I last did this trek last year, but I never made it to the Trig Point on Thorpe Fell Top, or even bothered with Crookrise Crag Top. It's only over the last six months or so that I've developed an obsession with Trig Points - that really doesn't sound healthy reading that back either! So this jaunt was simply unfinished business, to get to the Trig on Thorpe Fell Top, and after climbing Sharp Haw recently and seeing Crookrise Crag Top on the other side of the valley, with it's white trig Point just about visible from the summit -  to scale that too.
                                                    Section 1. Skipton to Embsay Crag

 Well May has been a tricky old month again, but on this day it was lashing down! On approaching Skipton even the top of Skipton Moor was in cloud. So at this point finding the Trig on top of Thorpe Fell Top was looking, well, bleak to be fair.
 Anyway I began the march up through the drenched streets of Skipton, with most tourists sheltering under shop frontages and wearing those see through plastic mac things that makes you look like a tourist even more. The rain was rushing down the gutters of the town, and the sky looked as if it had a lot more to come yet!
 The route I took was to follow the A6131 road past Skipton Castle, and take the first left up Skipton Road, and follow that all the way to Embsay...
 The weather begins to clear, looking at Skipton Moor...
 Arriving into Embsay...
 Go past the entrance to Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway, and take your second left. You should see this sign...
Follow the road past the Elm Tree Pub, I know sacrilege!...
When you come to a junction, with an ivy covered house on the corner a bit further on - turn left up Kirk Lane...
Follow the road upwards, you will pass by a church on your left hand side and you get a view of Embsay Crag. Also watch out here too, the pavement comes to an end and the drivers will probably take pride in knocking you down in these parts...
The road now bends around to the right. Watch out for the left turn coming up, just after the sign for  Bondcroft Farm...
It's a short steep lane with a car parking area at the top, with a sign telling you all about the Moor and it's regulations. I suppose for those of you who own one of those rather expensive automobile contraption thingies you could drive to here and start the trek at this point - shaving 4 miles in total off the whole walk!...
Now follow the lane up past the farm and out onto the Moor...
Once onto the Moor, turn left towards Embsay Crag...
Follow the boggy pathway over the summit. From the top are some good views back towards Skipton, Embsay Reservoir, and as far as Pendle Hill to the West, and Rombalds Moor to the East...

                                Section 2. Embsay Crag to Thorpe Fell Top, and back to Skipton...

The path now descends off Embsay Crag sharply, you can see it snaking it's way across the moor past the reservoir. Follow the path over a small wooden bridge and continue up the path towards a stile at the side of a service road for the reservoir...
 Don't cross over the stile, as the road is private. Instead behind the above sign is a fairly hidden path which winds it's way up the hill side...
 Looking back towards Embsay Crag and Skipton Moor...
Continue the path up over the rocky hillside...
These sheep were glad it was me out in the rain rather than them...
The pathway continues steeply up the side of Crookrise Crag now with the fence on your left, there are numerous ladder stiles available to climb over the dry stone wall which runs over the edge of the hill, cross over one of these -  I chose the first one...
On crossing over the ladder stile you will notice another pathway that runs along the edge of the crag - on the otherside of the wall, up towards the Trig Point on the summit of Crookrise Crag Top at 415m...
 Some grand views from this point towards Sharp Haw and Rough Haw, the Skyrakes and up towards Malhamdale...
Next to the Trig Point is another ladder stile, climb over this. The path descends steeply from here, and you get your first sighting of the Cross on Rylstone Fell...
Keep following the pathway down until you reach Waterfall Gill...
From Waterfall Gill the path inevitably becomes steep again, you get some good views back towards Crookrise Crag from the top...
At the top of this path you come to a gate, follow the large bridleway through the gate and continue along it. It will start to descend a little...
Looking back at Crookrise Crag Top...
 Just after this slight descent the path splits off to the right...
The pathway cuts over the rocky ground next to the above dry stone wall, up towards Rylstone Cross...
 A distant war memorial on Cracoe Fell...
 Rylstone Cross...
 Cracking views if you can take the wind!
Now head over to the ladder stile that you will see from the Cross, and head up the long trackway which lies next to the wall...
 After about two miles you will come to the war memorial...
It's pretty high on the rock which holds the war memorial in position, and has been suggested that it's higher than the trig Point on Thorpe Fell Top.
 Now earlier I was talking about unfinished business in regards to the Trig Point on Thorpe Fell Top, as the war memorial was as far as I went last time, partially because it was October and light was failing me, and this isn't the sort of place you'd want to be at night - at least without a tent.
 Here scouting the bleak Thorpe Fell Top, you can't see it here, but the Trig Point is just about visible sticking up...
Looking towards a distant Simon's seat...
The track continues next to the wall, basically you need to follow it until you feel your in line with the Trig Point, then it's a question of navigating your way across the peat bogs and heather to it. Note the Trig Point is not visible from the trackway when in line with it, but there are plenty of other stones sticking up to try and confuse you. I would also not attempt this in fog or low cloud as the area is an old worked peat pit, and there's some deep water filled little holes that you can slip into pretty easily...
 The track moves away from the wall after a mile or so...
 Not the Trig...
 Looking back towards the war memorial...
Who knows what this is for? But as you can see, it's no Trig Point...
But if you get yourself to the above stone, then you should find a subtle path in amongst the deep heather and bog. Navigating this can be a bit tricky, but you should see the Trig come into view eventually. And the most battered Trig Point I've seen yet it is too...
At this point I started to get worried about the huge rain storm that seemed to be heading in my direction. Buckden Pike and Great Whernside had been visible a few minutes before the photo's above were taken, however they had both now disappeared, along with Meugher and the storm was heading in fast!
 But I was lucky, it passed by along the edge of the Moor towards Burnsall and Appletreewick and out towards  Ilkley. After the storm passed I got some shots of Buckden pike and Great Whernside, along with Simon's Seat and up towards Cravendale...
                                 
 From here head back towards the war memorial, past the Cross and back down to the gate...
This time rather than heading back up over Crookrise Crag Top, follow the wider track across the open moor. After about a mile you will come to a moorland road...
 Turn left here...
A now distant war memorial...
 Follow the long 'road' up until you see this sign for Eastby on your left, turn right here, and head along the smaller path that will lead you back down to Embsay Crag...
Embsay Crag...
 Heading back into Embsay...
Eastby Crag...
And back into Skipton...
                                                               18.7 miles, 7 hours.
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