Date - 20th May 2007 Distance - 12 miles
Map - OL2 Start point - Embsay car park (SE 009538)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Embsay Crag 1218 371 SE 0047 5506
Crookrise Crag Top 1362 415 SD 9874 5588
Rylstone Fell 1346 410 SD 9825 5760
Cracoe Fell 1648 502 SD 9931 5884
Thorpe Fell Top 1661 506 SE 0084 5969


The Walk

A Sunday in late spring and with a good weather forecast, Dad and Uncle Bob had arranged to meet at the village of Embsay. None of us had walked in this area before so we were looking forward to the day’s exploration. As we drove through Embsay Dad pointed out to us the station of the Embsay to Bolton Abbey Railway. We were particularly interested in this as one of friends, Chuffer, was adopted by Dad here. He is also now a member of the railway too. Our first objective was Embsay Crag that was clearly visible across the fields from the grassy rise behind the car park…

The route took us past the farm at Boncroft where there was view across the valley over lush landscape…

Before circling left to rise to the top of Embsay Crag where we jumped out to have our photograph taken…

This hill is on its own so Dad and Uncle Bob had to drop down Witshaw Bank past Embsay Reservoir before then ascending to Crookrise Crag Top on a delightful path through thick heather.

The crag is popular with rock climbers and one can be seen here belaying a companion who was on the ascent.

The trig point marking the top and is painted in a dazzling white and we could not resist climbing up on top…

The path wound on passing some huge rocky outcrops and then descended below Hellifield Crag. After crossing Waterfall Gill and climbing up High Bank beyond, the cross marking the top of Rylstone Fell now came into view. Continuing along the ridge and after climbing a stile over a wall it was finally reached after a short stroll. The Cross is formed from a number of concrete sections. It was erected in 1995 to replace a former wooden one. It is much larger than it looked from a distance and we were quite overawed. You can get some idea from this photograph that Uncle Bob took of Dad. We wondered why it had been erected and so we did some research when we got home. Apparently it was erected to commemorate the 1815 Treaty of Paris that finally ended the Napoleonic Wars.

Photo courtesy Bob Woolley (Uncle Bob)

After having our photograph taken too, of course we then returned to and climbed the wall turning left then to ascend to the summit of Cracoe Fell with its huge obelisk. This is a war memorial to the people of the district that had been killed in the two World Wars.

Here we are at the obelisk and you can see that wreaths had been left in memory of the fallen.

We were now about as far from the start as we could be and after Dad and Uncle Bob had eaten their lunch we set off again. The wall was once again our guide until the point where it finally dropped sharply away to the left. Our clear path was straight forward and then curving round the lonely bulk of Thorpe Fell Top. Dad had worked out the grid reference where it was the shortest route to the trig point on this fell. There are no paths so it was necessary to plod through the thick heather grassy tussocks and bog to reach it. As you can see in comparison to the trig point on Crook Rise this one has a decidedly neglected look. There is not much to recommend the top and we think that probably few people bother to visit it. Had it not been on our list we too would likely not have strayed off the path…

The track we had left had once again to be regained so it was necessary to reverse the ascent over the rough ground. Both Dad and Uncle Bob were heartily glad when this had been achieved. The clear track then led us ever down passing by the scant remains of an old smelting works…

After passing a small tarn the descent then brought us to Upper Barden Reservoir where we crossed the dam wall. The house was formerly that of the reservoir keeper…

From here we climbed up over the hill then descended on a path to reach finally the gate that we had come through at the start to ascend Embsay Crag. It was then the reverse of our outward route to reach the car park, passing near this old barn…

What a cracking day we had had, and another five summits were ticked off the list. The day was truly rounded off in fine fashion when Uncle Brian phoned Dad to tell him that Morecambe FC had won the play off final at Wembley and so for the first time in their history they were in the Football League!!