Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Haw Pike, North Nab and Simon's Seat 16.10.11

                      15.4 Miles, 5-6 Hours

After visiting Bolton Priory the previous day, the walk had wetted my appetite for a trek to the local high points. Simon's Seat is the notable fell which is in the area, but on a study of an OS map noted two other Trig Points to bag, other than the one which is situated on the summit of Simon's Seat. I had noticed one of the hills whilst waiting for my train back to Embsay from Bolton Abbey, a small hill 'towering' above the station, according to the map called Haw Pike - with a trig, and then another trig on top of North Nab which is a bit of moorland that is looking down on Bolton Priory itself some four miles away to the north east.

 So it was a trip to Skipton courtesy of Northern Trains, then a taxi (with the same driver from yesterday) to Embsay Station.  The train I was getting at the preserved line, was the first one of the day, it had been raining very heavily and cloud was obscuring even the view of Embsay Crag and the surrounding moorland.
 Steam trains tend to emit more steam and smoke than ever when there first fired up for the day, even the carriage I was sat in was steaming from beneath as they ran steam through it's ancient heating system. As the guard said to me with a big grin on his face ''this is a proper steam train'', honestly you could hardly see a thing!...

Section 1. Bolton Abbey Railway Station to Bolton Priory


After a 15 minute ride along the line I arrived into a soggy looking Bolton Abbey Station at about 10:45. It was then a matter of walking out of the station, and onto the lane leading up to it and then making a quick right after about 100 yards, then follow the footpath towards the main road...
Eventually you will come to a gate on your right, go through this and follow the field for about 50 yards...
 A cloud covered Beamsley Beacon...
 Cut across the field after about 50 yards, towards this footbridge. You will come out onto another field, follow this directly uphill to the edge of it...
When you get to the top edge of the field, turn left up through this gate, and follow a wide track for a good 300 yards...
 Pass the first old railway bridge, and continue along the track...
Eventually you'll come to another gate, go through this and turn right across the second old railway bridge...
When you get to the other side of the railway bridge go through a farm gate, and follow a fairly steep path directly upwards...
 Haw Pike eventually comes into view. Keep following the grassy track towards it. You will reach yet another gate after about another 50 yards, go through this, continue directly across the field, until you reach a stile. Cross over it and continue directly up the slopes of the Pike...
 Haw Pike summit Trig 252m, with a distant Simon's Seat beyond...
Looking down onto Bolton Abbey Station...
 From here retrace your steps to the foot of the Pike, then follow a track back towards a clearly visible Haw Pike Farm. You will need to go through the farm yard, this leads onto a very slippy tarmac lane that cuts steeply downhill towards Bolton Abbey Village... 
When you make it to the bottom of the lane you will come to a main road. Cut straight across the road, through the opposite field, and then turn left at the next road (be careful here as there is no pavement). You will see Bolton Bridge that crosses the River Wharfe on your right hand side, cut right and head up the lane leading to the bridge...
Continue towards the bridge, but cut left at a footpath sign before the bridge crosses the river...
 From here follow the river side path towards Bolton Priory...

Section 2. Bolton Priory to Simon's Seat


You have the option from here to cross the river by either the famous stepping stones, or via the foot bridge. I wimped out for the second day here and decided to cross via the footbridge. I will always associate the stepping stones with Steve Coogan 'stuck in his own metaphore' (See 'The Trip)!...
 Take the right hand path here, up the steps...
 Continue up the well maintained path ignoring another footpath on your right. This path takes you up high above the river...
 Looking towards Carncliff Top...
 The path comes out onto a lane, follow this downhill. When you come to a ford where 'Pickles beck' crosses the road cut right, and take the footbridge. Then cut across the road and follow the path back towards the river, and then continue along the riverside...
This takes you to a bridge that crosses the river towards Cavendish Pavilion. Turn right at the bridge...
 You will come to a cross roads with a sign for Barden Moor. Go straight ahead here, up the road towards Bolton Park Farm...
 Continue past the farm, heading up the track...
 Looking towards North Nab...
 This doesn't look much, but this track is a tough old climb. When you make it to this gate (about a mile from the farm) , go through it, but then cur immediately left and follow the fence up onto the desolate moorland plateau that is North Nab. You may need to do a bit of compass navigation here, you need to head north east from where the fence heads across the moor in order to reach the trig point...
North Nab summit trig 319m
After refueling, it was now a matter of cutting directly across the moor towards the fantastically named 'Valley of Desolation' What a great title for an Opeth album?!
 Probably not strictly legal, but you will need to cut over a dry stone wall at some point, then you will need to go through a cleared forestry plantation area which is a bit tricky underfoot. Make your way down as best as you can towards a stream that flow along the edge of the trees. You will need to cross over the stream, and then cut directly through the trees towards the main track that passes through Laund Pasture Plantation...
 I ended up with a wet foot at this point...
 And out onto the path...
When you get to the edge of the plantation you will come to a gate, continue straight ahead up the track ignoring the track leading off to your left!...
 The track from here takes you all the way up to the summit of Simon's Seat...
 Continue on straight ahead here...
 Looking towards the summit of Carncliff Top...
 The path gets very rocky from here...
Truckle Crags...
 Approaching the rocky outcrop of Simon's Seat...
A bit of scrambling required to reach the summit...
 Simon's Seat summit trig 485m...
 looking down onto Menwith Hill...

Section 3. Simon's Seat to Cavendish Pavilion

 From the trig its a matter of retracing your steps. But this time rather than taking the path back towards Truckle Crags, take the right hand track cutting across the moor towards 'The Devil's Apronful'. The track starts to lead down eventually through another plantation into the village of Howgill...
 A distant Great Whernside...
 A good view towards upper Wharfedale...
 Heading into the plantation...
 Keep right here...
 Cut straight across this lane here, towards the stone hut...
 Keep left here...
 You are now starting the riverside path again here...
 Looking back towards Simon's Seat...
 Barden Bridge...
 The Strid...

Section 4. Cavendish Pavilion to Bolton Abbey Station


 It is a real slog from the summit of Simon's Seat back to Cavendish Pavilion, I was in a real hurry for my train at this point, and was still over a mile from the station. So hence the lack of pictures!!
 When you get to the bridge here, cross it towards the pavilion, then go left through the car parks, and head back towards Bolton Priory. From there its about a mile and a half back to the Station...
Overall, a real tough old slog. If you take this on give yourself plenty of time, as the last train is at 5, unless you wish to do this via a car of course. I ended up walking from Embsay back into Skipton too, which added a few more punishing miles onto the hike!
 Haw Pike and North Nab need not be included into the walk, that was just a bit of fantical trig point bagging, but doing them made it into an interesting one. Now, where next?
Thanks for reading :0)
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