A CIRCULAR WALK from GARGRAVE
via ELSLACK & THORNTON-IN-CRAVEN

 


Summary

Date - 2nd October 2016 Distance - 14 miles
Ascent -
1320ft
Map - OL2 & OL21 Start point - West Street car park, Gargrave (SD 9315 5422)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Allen, Southey and Tetley were huddled round the laptop, with Allen tapping away at the keys.

"It has been like old times on the last two walks", said Tetley. "First we had the company of Uncle Bob, on that lovely walk from Burtersett to Bainbridge, and then with Uncle Eric for that circular from Crosby Garrett.

Southey replied, "yes it has been great, and good for me to get to know Uncle Bob."

"The pictures are good", said Allen, bringing them up for each walk.

"Sure thing pal, and enough for a story", agreed Tetley. "Now all we have to hope for is that Dad will find time to type them for us amongst all the other commitments he has on his plate this coming month."

"I'm sure he will be very glad to get October over with", said Southey. "But at least he has had a nice and relaxing break at Armathwaite Hall with Uncle Brian."

Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric meanwhile had arrived with the tea and cakes. Shaun said, "they have just arrived home and yes they both has a lovely and relaxing time."

Grizzly then said, "Dad indeed has lots of commitments in October and the first is to take us walking on Sunday. It is up to us however to come up with a plan."

"First though, tea", cheered Allen with glee.

He and Southey went to get the plates and mugs, Tetley then lending a paw to help Shaun pour the tea. "Thanks pal", said Shaun.

Little Eric announced, "we have made Yorkshire Curd Tart again, as you all said how much you liked it."

"Great" cheered Southey. "I love it."

So all content we turned out thoughts to walking. Taking a bite of the tart, Tetley said, "how about we go to Yorkshire again."

"Somewhere not too far from Elaine's will please Dad", went on Allen, smiling.

"We have done a few walks from places on the A65, but none as yet from Gargrave", mused Grizzly.

"I like the idea of that as it will be more new ground explored", agreed Little Eric.

Grabbing the iPad, Allen quickly open the Ordnance Survey app, locating the map to Gargrave.

We took a little while to view the options, then Grizzly suggested, "for the return route we could use the Pennine Way, perhaps from Thornton-in-Craven?"

"Agreed", replied Shaun, "so now to plan the outward part."

"Look", said Southey, "there are paths south-east by the railway and under and on to come out on the A59. We could then cross and take Heslaker Lane."

"OK so far, pal", agreed Little Eric.

"So then fairly soon we need to be turning west", said Allen. "The path via Pasture House to Yellison, will fit, and then to Elslack."

"Good", agreed Tetley, "then if we take the path going south-west, we will intersect with the Pennine Way, so completing the circle."

"I wonder how far that is?", mused Little Eric. "We ought to give Dad some idea."

"I'll run the map measure round the route", replied Grizzly.

He did it twice and said, "I make it about 11-12 miles."

"Should be OK", said Allen, who then drained his mug and with iPad in paw went to see what Dad thought.

"I'll refill his mug", laughed Shaun. "He is a real tea belly."

"Can you do mine too, please?", asked Southey.

"You're as bad too", laughed Tetley.

Allen was soon back and said, "Dad has agreed and being new ground will make for an interesting day."

"Great!" cheered Southey raising his freshly charged mug.

 

The Walk

Being a longish walk, Dad said he wanted to be walking soon after 09:00.

With this in mind we actually packed the picnic the night before and put it in the fridge. Like us Dad was up early and ready for the off just before 08:00.

The route was ever so familiar, even for us but more so for Dad, as it is the way he and Uncle Brian go to Feizor and Elaine's Tearooms every Monday.

"There's the lane to Feizor", called out Little Eric, as Dad swung right to continue on the A65. This took us through Long Preston. "We have had a few walks from here", said Grizzly, "including that recently, when we rescued our little pal Hunter who had been abandoned in a tree."

"Aww yes", replied Southey. "He is safe and secure now and a very happy member of the Hug."

So on and on finally reaching Gargrave, Shaun saying, "We turn left at the crossroads, and the car park is just a little way on the left." There were spaces and it was free too.

The day was calm, fine, sunny and mild for the time of year, seeming to be more summer than autumn. Dad was in long trousers, but commented, "I would probably have been OK in shorts."

While Dad got ready, we settled in the rucksack so as not to cause any delay. Then not much after 09:00, Dad shouldered the rucksack and strode back to way we had come to the A65. "We cross and take the road opposite that leads to the station", said Shaun,

This immediately crossed the gently flowing River Aire.

"We go left just before the church", instructed Shaun.

This was Church Lane, taking us past the farm, to continue on the tarmac lane that leads to Kirk Sink.

Dad strolled along, and fairly soon Shaun said, "it is over this stile on the right."

"OK lad, but first let's walk on a bit and see if we can make out anything to indicate the existence long ago of a Roman Villa.

"I have looked up about it on the Internet", said Grizzly. "It was excavated over several years in the 1960s, but really there is nothing to see, except for the line of a slight rise to indicate where one wall stood." Kirk Sink Roman Villa

With a bit of imagination we decided this was where the cow is standing up.

"Well, at least we can say we have been to the site", said Tetley.

Returning, we took the stile Shaun had pointed out and crossed the field diagonally to come by the railway. This led us to an enclosed area of woodland that came right up to the railway embankment. Our route was through this via stiles at either end, and inside on the path overgrown with nettles!

"Bearing in mind your comment before we set off, I bet you are glad not to be in shorts", laughed Tetley.

"I sure am", was Dad's firm reply.

Keeping ahead we came to a gate on the right, taking us to the railway side of the fence.

Knowing we had to cross the line, Little Eric said, "is that a path up the embankment?"

"No", replied Shaun. "We keep on by the fence for a while."

Soon we came to a kissing gate into open pasture and on to pass through two waymarked gates.

Soon Shaun pointed saying, "here is where we cross under the railway, via this cattle creep."

Getting to it however was a little difficult because of very muddy ground. A sign told us this was bridge no. SKWI-4. Note too the bolted metal rods that have been inserted at some point to strengthen the arch on either side.

Beyond it was clearly by the wall on the left to the corner here climbing left via the stone step stile to then continue by the wall on the right.

Climbing the next step stile, Shaun said, "it is more or less on by the wall on the right. Then we have to cross this further on."

This point was hard to see, but then Allen called out, "there is a gap in that wire post fence."

Dad headed for it and sure enough Allen was correct, as immediately through the gap was a wood step stile.

We could see the traffic on the busy A59 which we had to cross, so Dad now walked slightly left to find the wood step stile in the fence and then up the steps set into the verge.

"That's the first section done with no problems", said Southey with relief in his voice. "I know the rest of you are veterans so do not generally find any difficulty reading the route off the map, but I am not really fully confident yet."

"You are not doing badly at all pal", replied Allen, encouragingly.

Crossing with care, we took Heslaker Lane opposite, to soon cross the namesake bridge spanning Broughton Beck.

By the corner beyond, Little Eric called out, "look, the sheep are sheltering under the trees. Worth a picture Dad?"

"Darn", cried Allen. "That's the end of a sheep picture free story. Mind you I doubted I would get away with it."

The lane led on to pass Heslaker Farm, Funkirk Farm, and then the embankments of the long closed Colne to Skipton railway line.

Here the River Aire came alongside, Grizzly calling out, "look a pair of swans."

As the river turned away, Shaun instructed, "we continue for a little way, and then go right towards Pasture House."

The surfaced access road climbed to pass over the slopes of Greenber Hill, where Tetley called out, "the view back is over to Crook Rise."

"It was one of the number of summits we climbed on the round from Embsay, with Uncle Bob. It was May 2007 when we did the walk."

"Really!", exclaimed Allen. "It does not seem that it was so long ago. How time flies by. We had some terrific days with Uncle Bob, climbing all the Yorkshire Dales Fells."

"Aye they were good times", agreed Grizzly. "And it looks like we are to have more good times with him in the future again."

We walked on, and knowing that Dad likes pictures of trees, Little Eric commented, "maybe that group of trees will make a shot for the story."

The road can be seen to bend just ahead bringing us very shortly to Pasture House.

"The way is between the buildings", advised Shaun.

At the end it was through a gate and then on to the next in a wall. Dad strode the tiny stream, and continued to the end of the field.

"We cross that footbridge and go through the gate to the right", instructed Shaun.

"Hmm", said Dad, looking at the gate and seeing that the bottom was buried in grassy ground and totally immovable.

"This has not been opened in a long time, by the looks of it", said Southey.

"Quite lad", agreed Dad. "I do not think these paths are walked very often."

With worry in his voice, Little Eric said, "what is going to make climbing over more difficult is that it is leaning towards us at quite an angle."

"Aye lad, gravity wants to send me back to where we are rather than assisting getting us over."

Dad tried with no success at first, but then using the post of the fence for support he was successful, but not before putting some undue strain on his already poorly back.

Then we went left to walk on and follow the gated way. After the last gate the path climbed the hill towards Yelliston House, joining a concrete road.

"We go left", called out Shaun. Then as we crossed the cattle grid, he said, "we strike right over the grass up to the corner of Yellison Wood"

Nearing this Dad paused so we could take in the wide open view. "That very distant mountain, towards the left, is Ingleborough", said Grizzly.

"Puts me in mind of Elaine's Tearooms, where we are going afterwards", mused Dad.

A gate faced us and through this brought us on to a surfaced track, where it was obviously right. From the map Dad could see that the actual footpath was hard by the wall but the track offered easier walking.

After the wood we had go right to other side of wall. We took the first gate, but this turned out to be wrong as there was no stile in the wall at the top.

"I'm sorry Dad", said Shaun, looking closely at the map, "I see it is the second gate we want."

And so it was, this gate being waymarked.

So we kept on in the same direction to climb the stiles over the cross walls, passing these free range chickens, near Mitton House.

The last stile brought us to a cart track that we followed right to a gate and then across the field to another gate, and another large field to Smearber Farm.

Dad was to tell us later, "about 40 years ago, I used to come here with my mum and dad and Uncle Brian too for quite wonderful ham and egg teas. Happy memories."

Following the access to the road, Shaun said, "we turn right."

This led us downhill to village of Elslack, this being one of the buildings there.

Keeping ahead at the crossroads, shortly it was left on the path through the farm to then follow the track, and eventually take a waymarked gate right and cross diagonally to a wood step stile.

"We go diagonally right now to that gate, then walk by the trackbed of the long closed Colne to Skipton railway line", Shaun instructed.

Soon then it was through a gate to cross the trackbed at West Field. This is the view looking towards Skipton.

Now in a literally huge field, we walked in the same direction but having crossed to the far side. At its end we came to a gate and through this on to cross a footbridge and along the path to a road. "We turn right", instructed Shaun.

"We are on the Pennine Way now", said Allen, "which we will follow all the way back to Gargrave."

The road took us to the edge of the village of Thornton in Craven.

"Look", called out Tetley, "a seat."

"Time for lunch", went on Allen, rubbing his tummy in anticipation. "I'm hungry."

"No surprise there", laughed Little Eric.

So we settled down and tucked into our sandwiches and cakes, washed down with lovely mugs of tea. "That's better" said Southey with satisfaction in his voice.

"Photo time", called out Grizzly. "We have to appear in every story."

After about a hundred yards, the Pennine Way sign pointed right, the path climbing a grassy bank, to cross the A56. Then along Cam Lane, passing the houses and ever on to the buildings at Town Hill, nearby which Dad snapped this shot of a calf.

Here the lane turned left and in a few yards the Pennine Way goes right through a gate, to then cross diagonally left to another gate. Easy to navigate the path trampled by the passage of countless pairs of booted feet! Descended to a clapper bridge and metal gate, and then another, to then go slightly right uphill to a step stile in a fence.

Sheep were grazing, Southey encouraging Dad to take a picture. This was to wind Allen up who cried, "humph, not another sheep picture!"

Descent followed to a gate in the fence, and then finally uphill to trees and through a gate on to the towpath of the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Looking ahead Southey said, "how lovely. What perfect reflections."

The picture taken, Dad then strolled leisurely along the towpath.

"That's unusual", remarked Tetley, as we approached the double arched bridge. What little information we could find, indicates that originally there was just the lower arch. The second arch was added later to facilitate the easier passage of the A59 road over the canal.

We were now at East Marton, and just beyond a line of barges were moored.

"We leave the towpath at the next bridge and go ahead on the narrow road", advised Shaun.

Not far along this the Pennine Way goes right through a small wood gate, then across fields via two metal gates, with this lovely pastoral scene, to then skirt Langber Plantation.

A pinch gate led under the plantations trees and out across the field to a surfaced track.

"It's right to the corner", called out Shaun.

Here the signed pointed right through a gate, to bear left across the field to Trenet Bridge.

Immediately then it was left by fence and over two stiles and across the track to Newton Grange Farm, and on to a gate in a fence and then to a further gate. Climbed over the hill to cross two more stiles and on by the fence to a kissing gate and then to another stile. The way led past a crossroads of paths, the tower of Gargrave church being clearly seen. "Not too far now, Dad", remarked Allen.

Being the Pennine Way we had encountered lots of walkers on this part of the walk, in contrast to none on the first section to Thornton-in-Craven. Reaching a stile by a gate we joined the surfaced Morber Lane.

"The cows are inquisitive", pointed Southey.

The lane crossed the railway, this view looking towards Gargrave Station.

"We go right at this gate", called out Shaun, very soon after Dad had walked on again.

Across the field now to a gate, then diagonally left to next gate and go on ahead by the wall of a house to the road and turn left to pass St Andrew's church. The site has a long history, probably stretching back well over a millennium.   There is evidence that the church before the present one was built in 1521. The tower is all that remains of the previous building.  The present church, dates from 1852.

Crossing the A65 we were soon at the car.

"What a lovely walk", said Allen.

"Aye lad", agreed Dad, "if a bit longer than you estimated, as the GPS shows 14 miles."

"It's a good job we did not suggest the additional loop over Pinhaw Beacon, then", commented Tetley.

"That's for another day, perhaps", said Grizzly.

"Refreshment time?", queried Tetley.

"Sure thing lad. Elaine's here we come", cheered Dad.

The cafe had been mad busy, so no one had time to chat, so we and Dad sat quietly in the corner. Dad had tea of course and a delicious piece of chocolate caramel shortbread.

Then we drove home, a very happy band of brothers after a lovely day.

Thanks Dad as always.

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