A Round of Crummack Dale.

Start. Austwick (Townhead Lane).

Route. Austwick - Thwaite Lane - Dear Bought Plantation - Norber - Thwaite - Long Scar - Sulber Gate - Thieves Moss - Moughton Scars - Moughton - Studrigg Scar - White Stone Lane - Wash Dub Field - Norber Sike - Austwick.

Notes. I seem to have neglected the Yorkshire Dales lately, it was time to put that right, no, it was time to put that right in style. Welcome to Crummack Dale, in my humble opinion the most picturesque valley in the whole of the Yorkshire Dales. A hanging valley home to babbling brooks, that's a beck if you're from the North of England, lush green pastures surrounded by high limestone scars, the odd medieval settlement what more do you need. Today I was interested in the high limestone scars, by far some of the best limestone scenery in the whole of the British Isles, you doubt me come along see for yourself.

The delightful Dales village of Austwick marked my starting point, after parking at the foot of Townhead Lane I headed up the hill tarmac under foot, a short climb deposited me at a crossroads. I turned left following the track (green lane) signed Clapham, but almost immediately left it via a ladder stile allowing access to the green fields of Dear Bought Plantation. With stunning limestone scenery beckoning me, a green trod under foot this was pleasant walking, I soon found myself ascending through the Norber Boulder Field. Erratic boulders deposited at the end of the last ice age, 12.000 years of erosion have left them balanced on tiny plinths, some you can rock, just pick the right ones.

I escaped Norber via a ladder stile, ascending into a bitter wind, the many weathered limestone scars and pavements of Thwaite welcomed me. I walked North keeping under the scars out of the wind the best I could, a down jacket with three layers underneath struggled to keep the cold at bay, my pace quickened. Long Scar marked the start of a wide green path, this in turn guided me to Sulber Gate, next to which a path passes through a wicket gate before descending onto Thieves Moss, the start of a stunning traverse of the limestone scars closing the head of Crummack Dale.

There's something special about the limestone scenery at the head of the valley, I felt privileged to walk there, it may have been cold but it was staggeringly beautiful. After traversing Capple Bank I descended to a path leaving the valley, I ignored this swinging south, I was about to start what seemed like a long trek across Moughton. With a narrow green trod under foot I headed south, this path meandered through scrub, high sheep pastures, around limestone scars and small hillocks, eventually depositing me at a ladder stile beside the dry waterfall at Studrigg Scar. I crossed said stile, after an initial sudden steep drop the path eased, swung round passing White Stone before running parallel to a green lane. I contemplated climbing the wall but soon reached a field gate allowing access to the lane, after passing through said gate dry stone walls ushered me to the Clapper Bridge at Wash Dubb Field.

At Wash Dubb Field I crossed a stile to access sheep pastures, it was to be field walking all the way back to Austwick from here. Stiles allowed easy crossing of field boundaries, the path kissed Crummack Lane under Norber Brow before descending to Norber Sike. A short climb followed before crossing Thwaite Lane to start the final descent into Austwick. It didn't seem right but to enter the village it meant wandering through private gardens, the way was clearly marked but it still felt wrong. Right or wong wandering over manicured lawns between tidy flower beds made for a perfect end to a perfect outing.

view route map.


Seen from Dear Bought Plantation the limestone cliffs of Robin Proctor's Scar.

Bathed in morning sunlight, Moughton.

Heading through Dear Bought Plantation looking to Nappa Scar.

The rock scenery of Norber backed by a shadowed Moughton.

Seen over the Norber boulder fields, Smearsett and Pot Scars, not looking very scar like from this direction.

Dominating the horizon the massive bulk of Langcliffe Moor.

Dappled light on Long Scar the southern edge of Moughton.

Moughton painted with racing moody shadows, with the grey bulk of Pen-y-ghent peering over the summit.

The sun lit lowlands and the tiny village of Wharfe seen over Norber.

Viewed from Thwaite, kissed by cloud mighty Ingleborough.

Heading through the wild emptiness of Thwaite, drinking in views to Pen-y-ghent across Crummack Dale.

The head of Crummack Dale, a magical place when sunlight reflects off limestone.

Looking to the grey mass of Fountains Fell over Thieves Moss.

Huge eerie landscape at the head of Crummack Dale.

Traversing the massive field of stone closing the head of Crummack Dale, every step a potential ankle breaker, the view sunlight on Norber.

Simon Fell and Park fell seen across Crummack Dale.

The stunning view from near Studrigg Scar, across the skyline the hills of Bowland.

The wall builders art, or is it engineering?

The long dry waterfall at Studrigg Scar.

Clapper Bridge, usually found near fording points, this one's next to White Stone Lane at Wash Dubb Field, so named because farmers would dam the beck to wash their sheep, rid them of insects and parasites.

Looking down on Norber Sike, just out of sight over the hill Austwick.

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