Apr 09 2011

Walk 26: Three Little Trigs

Flasby Fell beyond Crookrise Wood

route: Halton Height, Thorpe Fell & Crookrise Crag Top from Embsay
Date: 9th april 2011
distance: 13 miles
ascent: 2,310 feet
time: 6 hrs 40 mins
walkers: Andy, Dave, Graham, Jane, Katie, Leanne, Sandra, Simon & Stuart

Today was the day we would finally get to meet Stuart a.k.a. Lonewalker, a man who had helped immensely throughout the last year with one thing and another, not to mention this website. He was to meet us in the car park just off the main street in Embsay before we would take in a walk containing three trig points as well as a couple of other sights. Stuart was already putting his boots on as we drove in and he had already introduced himself to G, which surprised him a little. With all the time and effort Stuart has put in to making this website work, he said he felt like he had already met us and it was us who would be meeting him for the first time. My first impression was kind of as I expected, he was a decent bloke who enjoyed his walking and would fit in well with everyone. I didn’t doubt we would be ok with him but being the Lonewalker, would he be ok rambling with a bunch of amateurs?

We took the team shot before deciding that today’s special navigator(s) would be…

L’Autobus were in charge of the directions and they immediately showed their map reading skills by telling us that we wanted to go right out of the car park, we turned left and set off on our journey!

We followed the road through Embsay before leaving the village behind as we stuck to the road, climbing slightly as we went. After a nearly two miles we were ready to say good bye to tarmac and welcome the softer surface of grass as we would begin to head for the first trig. We could see the climb was a short sharp one and up near the top was a stone that resembled a head. I thought it had the features of a gorilla but none the less you could certainly make out facial features as we set off to get to the top of High Crag.

Once at the top of this gradient we re-grouped before we followed Stuart and made the final push to Halton Height trig point.

Within minutes we were at the trig and Halton Height became the latest trig to be ticked off our list. The day was shaping up to be a good one, cloudless and the sun was gaining in intensity with every passing minute. We spent the standard fifteen minutes at the trig to take a drink and chat away. To my right Wu Tang had an audience as she tried to work out where to go next, turning the map one way then the other, but I think in all honesty we had given up on the idea of L’Autobus leading us when they wanted to go the wrong way out of the car park.

I applied some sun cream to my arms and the back of my neck covering my face too, I aren’t a big sun worshipper and I burn fairly easy and struggle in the heat. With my sun block in place and everyone ready for the off we took the customary team shots before setting off on leg two of our journey. This initially consisted of walking across the heather covered moorland which contained plenty of grouse that we could hear clucking and chattering away on either side of us as we made our way back towards the road. Once at the road we had a decent view of Lower Barden Reservoir and we would spend the next fifteen following the road, then a track down towards the water.

Once we had reached the far end of the reservoir we crossed a little bridge, but not until we had worked out the guy slumped over at the far end was asleep and not dead. As we walked by he had two large cameras with super big lenses on and he must have been taking pictures of the birds and various other wildlife, although he would probably take better pictures if he stayed awake! On the other side of the little bridge we found numerous frogs that seemed to be enjoying the sunshine and two that we couldn’t quite work out. Do adult frogs carry their young on their backs or were all hunched over watching a young couple in love? We left the frogs to it (whatever they were doing) and followed the clear track that climbed gradually up away from the reservoir and towards trig number two.

This track will no doubt give access during the grouse season as to the side of us were a row of stone grouse butts sequentially numbered.

We continued along this track for another one and a half miles until we came to a fork in the track. A quick check of the map told us we wanted to stay left and so we headed along the left hand trail and followed this for another mile and a half before we would be ready to find the trig. The route up from the reservoir was fairly gradual all the way and we rarely stopped other than to have a quick drink or for Ramblo to zip off her new walking trousers / shorts. As we were coming towards the end of this three mile section we walked past a couple of building that sat high on Thorpe Fell and just beyond these we would leave the track and cover the final 500 yards through the heather.

We reached the top of Thorpe Fell and the trig that sits on top of it in glorious sunshine and it was still only half eleven in the morning. From here we could see down into Grassington and Stuart pointed out Great Whernside which was our first walk back in February last year. We sat around chatting as we had a bite to eat and rested up readying ourselves for the second half of the walk. The spirit was good as it always is and it is an absolute pleasure to be out and about with such wonderful people on such a wonderful day. Our lunchtime was nearly but not before Jane and Katie tucked into some dry crackers which is just wrong in so many ways, but each to their own I guess. We took our team photo’s and headed off across the recently burnt heather towards the large Obelisk we could see in the distance.

It was at this point I saw something no real rambler can condone. A sight so shocking that I have toyed with the idea of issuing the first ban awarded in Rambling Badgers history. Granted it wouldn’t be a lifetime ban, more like a one or two walk ban similar to something received for a red card in football. I can guess by now that you are dying to know what horrendous act took place as we continued towards the Obelisk. I am sure you will be as horrified as I was when you look at the picture below.

That’s right, shocking I am sure you will agree! Receiving a piggy back has no place on the hills or fells and should be frowned upon by any rambler. Maybe my disgust comes from the fact I didn’t think of it and there isn’t anyone big enough to give me a piggy back anyway, and in all seriousness I don’t disapprove of the art of piggy backing by anyone, rambler or not. Less than fifteen minutes later we were arriving at the War Memorial where we took time to have a look both at the impressive monument and also down into the valley below of which we had wonderful views. The initials on the stones inset into the memorial were the initials of those names on the plaque. Being somewhere like this can be a very humbling experience and I can have no concept of what these brave people went through for us.

The time came for us to move on once again so we climbed back over the ladder stile to the other side of the wall and began to follow it to our next destination, a large cross standing tall above Rylstone. (It can be seen on the picture below on the little crag towards the right hand side)

We arrived at the cross and again took time to have a good look at the surrounding views. Our lofty perch was a fantastic view point to gaze around at all the beauty that this part of Yorkshire has to offer and on a day like this I can’t think of many better views we have experienced over the last 15 months. I could have sat there for hours and watched the world go by. No doubt I would have been joined by the odd walker now and again but the place was so peaceful and relaxing. We had a drink and took pictures before Wu Tang once again checked the map although this was more for her own reference as by now we were just following Stuart who had done this walk in reverse a few years back.

I had one final big drink and we set off for Crookrise Crag Top which would be our third and final trig point of the day. Before long we reached a little valley that we would have to descend before climbing up the other side. We dropped down into the valley no problem but I hadn’t taken enough water on earlier in the day and after consuming loads to try and compensate I wasn’t feeling the best. My legs felt a little weak and my stomach was turning. The others were gradually pulling away from me and there was little I could do about it.

I started the climb away from the beck that ran through the bottom of the valley with Wu Tang for company. Up ahead I could see the others had stopped and were waiting for me but apart from stopping once I re-joined the group without too much trouble. As is often the case the look of a climb is worse than the actual climb itself. As we were in no rush we waited around for five minutes and chatted away before moving on once again.

Within minutes of setting off again I was slipping off the back of the bunch. This isn’t an issue as we pause from time to time to regroup, it was more frustrating as I don’t seem to learn my lesson. I had done the same thing in hot weather last year but still I found myself in that position again. It isn’t much fun knowing you can do what is asked of you physically, if only you hadn’t become de hydrated. That said it gave me more time to take in the surroundings as I continued slowly, being encouraged along the way by Wu Tang. Near the top G and Jane also hung around for a bit to offer words of encouragement and I was soon at the third trig. Again the views were fantastic (see main shot) and we all found our own spot to spend ten minutes of rest time. After a short rest we took the team pics (these can be found under the tick list section by clicking on the date) and headed for the pub. It was all downhill from here and with it not being taxing I could easily keep up. Some may say that the thought of a nice cold drink was spurring me on but in truth it came down to strength and the fact that you don’t really need much to plod on downhill. We could soon see Embsay Reservoir and we knew we weren’t too far from completing a fabulous walk.

The water looked nice and cool as we strolled by discussing the arts of fly fishing whilst observing the guy stood thigh deep trying to catch something. All that was left for us to do now was cover the final mile along the outskirts of Embsay.

Along the way we spotted a horse that seemed stood in a funny position and it soon became apparent why. He began to urinate and let’s just say there was no doubting that he was a he! The final few hundred yards were covered without incident and we were soon back at the car. Fortunately the car park was right next to the pub so we nipped next door for a couple of drinks. Today had been a day of first’s. The first time we met Lonewalker, the first time we had done 3 trig points in one walk and the first (and last) time we had asked L’Autobus to navigate. It had been another fabulous day walking and one that I would rate highly on my list of top walks. I would certainly recommend this area to anyone wishing to go for a stroll although there is no doubting the weather helped, as It wasn’t hard to imagine it being a bleak place if the weather was against you. Today we had the weather with us and our aim of getting a thirteen mile walk into our legs before we do the Herriot Way was achieved. I don’t know how the others felt but it reassured me that 13 miles holds no fears, as long as I stay hydrated, before I reach the pub…

Sir Edmund


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