AUSTWICK, FEIZOR & WHARFE from CLAPHAM

 


Summary

Date - 15th February 2012 Distance - 8.25 miles
Ascent -
860ft
Map - OL2 Start point - National Park car park, Clapham (SD 745692)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Shaun, Tetley, Grizzly & Little Eric's peace was shattered by Allen bounding in shouting, "great great great", as he proceeded to do somersaults round the room.

"Whatever is going on?", cried Grizzly.

"You've obviously got something of importance to tell us, so just calm down and get your breath back first", said Tetley.

"OK", replied Allen, "and while I do this, pour me a mug of tea, as I'm...

"Gasping", interrupted Shaun, letting out a laugh too.

Calmed down, Allen then went on. "I come bearing good news. Dad had told me that we are to walk tomorrow. After being ill with kidney stones, he now feels fully recovered, and able to be out without fearing he will get another attack."

"Super!", exclaimed Little Eric. "The three months since we last walked has seemed interminable."

"Where are we going?", asked Tetley.

"To Yorkshire, so that will suit you", replied Allen. We will start in Clapham and then walk to Austwick, and on to Feizor, where no doubt Dad will call in at Elaine's for a snack."

"That's a cast iron certainty", laughed Grizzly.

"Then it will be over to Wharfe, before returning along Thwaite Lane, to Clapham", concluded Allen.

"We have done some of this before, and there will not be too much climbing, but that is good as it will break Dad back in gently", added Tetley.

 

The Walk

It is only about half an hours drive to Clapham, so we did not have to get up very early, in contrast to some of the walks last year in the northern Lake District. The day was bright, although it clouded over somewhat in the afternoon, and there was a cool northerly breeze at times. We parked in the main National Park, car park.

As we have said before, Shaun is our expert map reader and guide. "Our route is through that gate, over there, by the signpost", he called out looking up from the map.

This you can see quite clearly, points the route of the public footpath to Austwick, a distance of 1.5 miles.

Beyond the gate we turned left along the concrete track through the farmyard. Cows were eating straw, and as Dad approached to take their picture, they looked up warily, perhaps thinking we were going to steal the food.

Keeping ahead where the track turned right, we entered pasture, through a kissing gate.

Tetley piped up, "we did this section last year with Uncle Eric, but in the opposite direction. There will be quite a few stiles to cross too."

"Lots more later too, on the section from Austwick to Feizor", added Dad.

"Lets count them like we have done on walks in the past." went on Grizzly.

"That's a great idea", said Allen. "You count them and I will note it down, so we can see how many in total we will cross today."

The path first climbs, along a sort of shelf by a wire fence to a wall where we encountered the first of the gated stone step stiles, and example of which is illustrated below.

Very much open land with only a few trees, but we thought this one, bare of its leaves made quite a striking shot against the sky.

More stiles followed, before descending into Austwick, a final stile giving access to the road.

"That's seven stiles in all", said Grizzly.

"Noted", replied Allen.

A footpath sign stood by the stile, with the direction obviously to Clapham. "Will you look at that", called out Shaun. "It shows the distance as 2 miles, but the one at Clapham read 1.5 miles"

"That's odd", remarked Little Eric

Glancing at his GPS, Dad said, "the one at Clapham is correct, as the GPS shows just under 1.5 miles."

Turning left, we strolled through Austwick, passing the stone built shelter, in which we had sat for our picnic, with Uncle Eric, last year. Then taking the road towards Settle, we came to Austwick Bridge, carrying the road over the Austwick Beck.

"Look at those lovely snowdrops", called out Little Eric. " A sign that at last spring is on its way."

Then standing on the bridge, we surveyed the scene upstream. A fine view it was too, looking towards Long Scar with Moughton in the distance behind. We had climbed this for the second time last year with Uncle Bob.

The next objective was Feizor, a distance of 1.75 miles according to the sign just beyond the bridge, pointing the way along the track Wood Lane. At the point where this turned away sharply left, we climbed the facing stone step stile, to walk on uphill, Dad keeping to the lower left side of the rise.

Shaun said, "at the top we will come to another track, which we just cross, using the stiles."

He was quite right, and beyond we climbed on up the hill towards the ladderstile, seen on the skyline.

"That's a lovely view of Austwick with Nappa Scars and Norber rising behind", called out Allen.

Stopping and turning round Dad said, "you're right."

Very soon now the ladderstile was reached and climbed.

"That's four stiles so far on this section", said Grizzly.

"Noted", replied Allen.

The pastures and cross walls stretched ahead before us, at the end of which we could just make out some of the houses in Feizor. The hill to the left behind is Pot Scar.

So down the hill we went. Now the observant among you may see that in the next wall there is a gate, to the left of the ladderstile. The gate would have saved Dad's legs, but as with a few we encountered today, it was chained and padlocked shut. Anyway climbing all those stiles would help Dad to regain the strength he had lost in his legs, we thought.

Finally we approached Feizor, and as Dad climbed the last stile to reach the road, Grizzly said, "in all that's 12 stiles."

"I agree" replied Allen consulting his notes that he had made each time one had been climbed.

Dad and Uncle Brian have been over 100 times to Feizor, indeed they go every Monday, to enjoy the lovely food and friendly welcome at Elaine's Tea Rooms.

As Dad walked in the tearooms were quiet, but a quick glance at all the reserved notices indicated a very busy day ahead. Elaine, Marion, Jean and Hannah, were enjoying a quiet drink before the storm. They were surprised to see him as he had not indicated to them when here on Monday, he would be calling in and with us too. He sat chatting to them all, while enjoying a bacon bun, followed by a piece of rice crispy cake, washed down with a pot of tea. Ngaio came in shortly afterwards and did a double take on seeing him sitting there.

"Will you take our picture here, for the story?" asked Shaun.

"For sure", Dad replied, so we jumped out and sat on the table.

Time to be getting going again, so settled in Dad's rucksack we all called a cheery goodbye, and turning left we walked on through the houses.

"That will make a nice shot of the pump with the backdrop of the houses and hill", said Dad taking the camera out of his bag again.

Where the road ends, a large gate bars the way on to the track beyond. Through this we climbed steadily up the track bending right beside Feizor Wood, which in the spring is massed with bluebells - a wonderful sight.

Cresting the top of the hill, Little Eric exclaimed, "wow, what a superb view of Pen-y-ghent."

By the sheep pens, is a junction of paths. "We ignore the track right that goes behind Smearsett & Pot Scars, but keep on ahead towards Lower Park House, then shortly climb the stile over the wall on the left", said Shaun, who was looking closely at the map.

"Thanks Lad", replied Dad.

This fine view of the hamlet of Wharfe, bathed in sunshine, while Ingleborough darkly lowers above, was taken from by the stile.

Over the wall the way led steeply down by Wharfe Wood, the cross walls surmounted by more stiles. Wharfe Gill Syke, that soon joins Austwick Beck, had to be crossed, and this simple stone bridge allowed this.

"That's seven stiles so far on this section and looking at the map there will be one more to cross to reach the road, making eight in all", said Grizzly.

"Noted", replied Allen.

At the road it was left to come to the unsurfaced private road leading into the hamlet of Wharfe. The houses are dotted about and the tracks can be rather confusing to follow, especially as the walk instructions are nearly 30 years old, and a lot can change in that time. On one section, snowdrops lined the verge.

"We seem to be too high ", remarked Shaun.

"I agree", replied Dad. "We are on the path that leads into Crummack Dale, but I know a little further on, when coming from that direction the path forks."

Sure enough we came to the fork, and we cut back left and kept on along the path down to the road, where we turned right. We had seen lots of sheep, but none had posed properly for Dad, so we were hopeful that there would be one walk without any such pictures. However our luck failed us, as a Swaledale, one of a number in a field we passed, obliged Dad. Oh well...

The road crossed Austwick Beck, by Mill Bridge. A house stands by the road here, and we speculated that in the long past this had been a mill perhaps for spinning. Soon we reached a track going right clearly signed for Clapham.

This is Thwaite Lane with the hurrying Norber Syke running beside.

After an initial level section, the track climbed steadily up. We passed a couple walking the opposite way, and during the brief conversation, it turned out that they knew of and had been to Elaine's, enjoying their visit. Just before the track crosses the road from Austwick to Crummack Dale, there was a convenient seat, where we sat for a little while. Apart from the distant beck, there was absolute total silence - bliss!! A thought was spared for the staff at Elaine's, where it must have been bedlam. Then on along the oft walked track towards Clapham, with good views of Norber and Robin Proctor's Scar, seen here below.

The track reaches its highest point by a copse of trees called appropriately Summit Clump, and then descends gently towards Clapham, passing through tunnels.

This shot we thought was somewhat indicative of the economic situation here and indeed everywhere else in the world, where there is little sign of things improving, or as the saying goes 'no light at the end of the tunnel'. It is to be hoped however that the situation will improve as depicted below.

It was just a short walk now into the village and so to the car. Now mid afternoon, it was of course time for Dad to have some tea and snack, and the only place to go was of course Elaine's at Feizor. It was still busy when he arrived, but Hannah kindly brought him a pot of tea and some apple crumble and custard. After a while Elaine spotted him saying, "Gerry's back". She actually thought he had walked back, until he explained he had driven over. The large parties soon departed and peace reigned once again, but still not as quiet as that seat on Thwaite Lane.

Just so great to be out again. Thanks Dad, and here's to many more on our 2012 campaign. Oh, and what bliss for Uncle Brian, having a lovely quiet day.

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