CLAPDALE, THWAITE SCAR, NORBER & AUSTWICK

 


Summary

Date - 21st March 2015 Distance - 6.75 miles
Ascent -
1250ft
Map - OL2 Start point - National Park car park Clapham (SD 7460 6921)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Thwaite Scar on Norber 1339 408 SD 7628 7089

 

Preface

All was well with the world with tea in paw and cakes on our plates thanks to Grizzly and Little Eric.

"The cherry and ginger scones are delicious, Grizzly", said Southey closing his eyes in ecstasy.

"The chocolate caramel shortbread is scrumptious too, Little Eric", added Allen.

"Thanks pal, I really enjoy baking", he replied. "Dad is not at the Lifeboat Shop this weekend so maybe we will get out walking."

"What are the weather prospects?", asked Tetley.

Allen was quick to grab the iPad and navigate to the Met Office app. "Looks good, Saturday probably being the best, which I think Dad will prefer as it will give him a rest day before he and Uncle Brian go to Elaine's at Feizor on Monday."

"So then, where to go", mused Grizzly.

"Well if I am not being too selfish, I was wondering if we might climb Norber, so that I can complete the last of the summits in Wainwright's book Walks in Limestone Country."

"Great idea", agreed Shaun, "I'll get the map."

Soon spread out we scanned the area in question. "How about starting from Clapham?, suggested Tetley.

"Fine", agreed Shaun. "We can take the route towards Thwaite Lane, but then go left on Long Lane above Clapdale."

Wanting to show that he was getting used to reading the map, Southey went on, "we follow it as far as the second wall then just a little further double back over Thwaite Scar to the summit."

"Well done pal, you are getting the hang of it", complimented Shaun. "Then it is south and over the ladderstile to descend to Thwaite Lane.

"And so to Austwick, and back over the fields on the familiar path to Clapham", completed Grizzly.

"Do you mind if I go and ask Dad for a change, Allen?", asked Southey.

"Not at all pal", he replied. "We will see that your mug is refilled for when we get back."

In minutes he returned, and the smile on his face told us Dad had agreed. "Dad says it is a good idea and is glad that this will finish off the challenge for Little Eric. Also the approach from the north will be a different route and finally it means that we get to go to Elaine's afterwards."

"Great!", cheered Little Eric gleefully.

 

The Walk

It was about 09:30 by the time Dad was ready and calling goodbyes to Uncle Brian and the Hug, we dashed out to the car. The drive was ever so familiar to Dad being the route taken almost every Monday when he and Uncle Brian go to Elaine's Tearooms at Feizor.

Our start point was the village of Clapham, where Dad parked in the large National Park car park. The day was dry with plenty of sun and other than the cold wind it would really have felt like spring. There were other walkers getting ready too, and as we set off right from the car park entrance, we noted that without exception they all took the path to Ingleborough Cave and so presumably heading for Ingleborough. We however were to plough a lonely furrow high on the opposite side of Clapdale.

In the village we went as far as the church that is dedicated to St James.

Clapham church was founded in Norman times, and originally dedicated to St Michael, being mentioned in records dating back to 1160. The village and church were burned during a Scottish raid following the Battle of Bannockburn in the early 14th century. The church tower was probably erected following this incident, but the rest of the church dates from the 19th century.

"OK", called out Shaun, "our way is right up through the tunnels."

Beyond, the rough stony track climbed to a brow, with Thwaite Lane stretching ahead. "We have walked that a few times", remarked Tetley.

"Not today though pal", said Shaun. "We turn left here on Long Lane. As the signpost indicates the route goes eventually to Selside, but we are only going just over a mile and a half."

The lane is a surfaced track that undulated up and down while generally climbing overall, with Thwaite Scars to the right the highest point of which was our summit objective. This track is high above Clapdale and Allen said, "I can see some of the walkers who were setting off from the car park."

There was a good view too of the entrance to Ingleborough Cave.

For Little Eric and Southey's sake, who had not seen it before, Tetley said, "Ingleborough Cave is a much visited tourist attraction and is the premier show cave in the Yorkshire Dales. It was first made accessible to visitors in 1837. The imposing entrance leads to large passages with an awe inspiring range of stunning cave formations, and artefacts dating back millions of years."

"Wow!", breathed Southey, "it would be nice to visit sometime."

Dad now strode on Long Lane stretching out before us to our first objective the gate in the distant cross wall.

Beyond this gate the terrain became grassy. Southey looked up from the map and pointing with his paw said, "it is half right now to that gate in the wall."

"That's spot on pal", said Shaun, giving him a pat on the back.

After the gate it was on a short distance to a wall corner. "OK now we go right up that trackless ground on to Thwaite Scar", said Shaun.

"Great", cried Little Eric, "I am finally on my way to the summit."

There was not a great deal of ascent before the ground levelled and the wide scar opened out before us. Crossing some limestone pavement a path emerged Dad saying, "it seems a good idea to follow this for now at least."

After a while Little Eric suddenly called out, "look there is the summit cairn half right ahead."

"Well spotted lad", said Dad, as he left the path to make a beeline for it across more limestone pavement

There is more than one cairn, but utilising the grid reference from our previous visit the GPS indicated that the farthest one marked the highest point. This view is taking looking back in the direction of our approach, with Ingleborough as the backdrop.

"Yippee!" cried Little Eric, "that's the last of the 12 summits achieved."

"Well done pal", said Grizzly, giving him a hug, and then with the rest of us sitting on the cairn for the usual picture.

It was nice sitting here in the sunshine so we decided to have lunch, Allen slipping his rucksack off to pass round the sandwiches and cake. Dad had sandwiches and biscuits, then phoned Uncle Brian.

"Have you finished lads", he said ending the call.

"Nearly", replied Grizzly.

"OK while you do so I will try and get a decent shot of Pen-y-ghent." Here is the result, with the dark cloud bank behind. Pen-y-ghent is the highest point to the right while the fell at the left is called Plover Fell.

"Right we're ready", called out Tetley, as we scrambled back into the rucksack.

Our way was south on a path that led to a wider path where it was right to descend off the scar. Reaching a t-junction, Shaun said, "it is left here to descend finally off the scar and find the ladderstile over the wall."

Crummack Dale was in front backed by Moughton (locally pronounced Moot'n).

"The ladderstile is over that wall in front", said Shaun.

As we got lower and looking left, Tetley called out, "there it is."

Over this we entered and walked through the large boulder field of the Norber Erratics. These are boulders left by the movement of a glacier, but did not originate here, but rather came from higher up Crummack Dale. Many are lying in groups but some are left standing on limestone plinths. Limestone is the softer rock and had been eroded away except for the plinths underneath that the boulder has protected from erosion. Here are two such examples.


A clear path led to a gate, where Shaun said, "we do not go through the gate, but should turn right along by the wall."

The path descended some rocky steps and then went finally to a wall corner. On the scar behind, as we made this descent, another of the erratics was perched on the edge.

The gate was padlocked so Dad climbed the substantial step stile, and beyond walked across the pasture to the ladderstile on to Thwaite Lane. There were sheep here, and one stood and posed for Dad.

"Darn" said Allen. "And we were doing so well to avoid sheep pictures."

Once on Thwaite Lane, it was just a short way left to the road and then right down this to Town Head and into Austwick.

"Ooh just look at that beautiful display of winter heathers", called out Grizzly.

"At the green we go right then after about a hundred yards climb the stile right on to the footpath signed to Clapham", instructed Shaun.

This familiar path led over the fields with stiles to get over the walls. There was a seat and we took the opportunity to pose for our picture again.

Over one wall our path was baarred by this group of sheep. Dad was quick to snap a shot. "Oh no...not again", cried Allen in despair.

Latterly kissing gates allowed access through fences and soon we exited into the car park in Clapham.

"Thanks Dad, for a lovely walk and for taking me to complete the Limestone Challenge", said Little Eric.

"You are welcome lad."

So now it was off to Elaine's where as usual we went in too. The cafe had gone quiet when we arrived so Dad was able to chat with Elaine. He also talked to Kelly about Game of Thrones, as she is a fan too. Then all of a sudden the cafe got full again and the staff were kept busy. Dad had a bacon and egg bap with chips, and then apple crumble and custard and tea of course. Well he deserved it after all the effort.

A nice time as usual and then saying out goodbyes Dad drove us home, after a grand day out!

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