Embsay Moor Walk – 25 Novemeber 2023

The week approaching Saturday the 25th of Novemeber saw a developing window of good weather which gave the perfect opportunity for a local walk in the Dales. Charley, Adam, Virginie and Dave M with Anna met for a 9:30am start at Embsay Reservoir. It was a cold, bright morning with barely a breath of wind.

Mel C and Rebecca N had planned to meet us at the start point but were delayed and to prevent everyone having to wait in the cold decided to do a shorter walk from Grassington and maybe meet up later in the day.

We headed up onto the moor, passing abeam the Deer Gallows crags and took a clockwise route around Rylstone Fell. Crookrise Crags were visible from our track and The bouldering crag at Crookstones, marked as Hellifield Crag on OS maps was passed as we reached the western edge of the moor and headed north to the Cross at Rylstone Crag. The cold temperature had frozen the ground so all paths were easily negotiable and we made good time throughout the day.

We took our only lunch stop at Cracoe War Memorial. Stunning views all around but quite exposed to the cold breeze so it was a short break. Our route continued north giving clear views towards Grassington, although we couldn't see Mel and Rebecca. Looking northwest over the tops of Rolling Gate Crags was Ingleborough summit, clearly visible in the distance beyond Fountains Fell.

We headed eastwards now on a good track around the northern side of Burnsall and Thorpe Fell. After passing the bouldering crags at Numberstones End and the old mining area we turned south beside the small reservoir at Gill Beck. The track continued south, crossing the dam at Upper Barden Reservoir to very briefly rejoin the bridleway before heading south again on a path over Stone Ridge Plain.

The path dropped off the edge of the moor just to the east of Embsay Crag. There was a good path from just before the drysone wall at the boundary of the moor routeing directly over the summit of the crag and down the western side to where we had started our ascent onto the moor at the beginning of the day.

From the top of Embsay crag we had fine views along the valley where the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway was operating. At this point we heard from Mel that she and Rebecca were behind schedule again and unfortunately would be unlikely to meet us at the Elm Tree Inn at Embsay. They were still on the fells above Conistone near Grassington Moor.

We did get a picture from our detached team to prove that they were actually out walking and not pulling our leg while sitting in a pub in York. Their walk was based on a 9 mile route which headed up Bycliffe Road towards Mossdale Scar and back to Grassington, thankfully before sunset.

Our walk finished at just after 3pm. The total distance covered was 12.5 miles and an ascent of 600m. The total time taken was 5 hours. The paths were easy to navigate, the scenery fantastic and it was a great opportunity to take a look at several crags which offer a multitude of trad and bouldering routes. A fine venue for a club day out in summer.

A short drive down from the reservoir car park to Embsay delivered us perfectly to the Elm Tree Inn. A decent pub with decent beer, a cat and Charley's best ever yet selection of Yorkshire Tapas. A splendid way to end our day out.

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