Norber, Thwaite and Gaping Gill.

Start. Clapham.

Route. Clapham - Thwaite Lane - New Close Plantation - Norber - Thwaite - Long Scar - Nick Pot - Shooting Hut - Fell Beck Head - Brunt Riggs - Bottom Rigg - Gaping Gill - Trow Gill - Ingleborough Cave - Clapdale Farm - Clapham.

Notes. Who knows what the weather gods might throw at me today, after almost a week of heavy rain with yet more forecast anything was possible. I presumed it would be wet under-foot, with this in mind I planned a wander over some of Yorkshire's lesser heights, limestone being porous, water drains fairly well, also my route from Clapham contained plenty of bolt holes in case the weather turned bad, one sting in the tale, a crossing of Brunt Riggs and Bottom Rigg, a vast tract of peat bog criss- crossed with drainage ditches, if it looked impassable I'd be forced to summit Ingleborough, not a bad thing.

My day started on Church Avenue next to Clapham Beck, I wandered up the village, on reaching the Church of St James the road swung left. I continued forward on a stoney bridleway, (Thwaite Lane) after passing through two rather dark tunnels the lane climbed to clear the tree line. I continued on ignoring the lane to my left, half a mile between dry stone walls followed to reach a ladder stile allowing access to New Close Plantation. I crossed the field before swinging right to pass under the spectacular limestone cliffs of Robin Proctor's Scar, a few hundred yards further along the path a finger-post invited me to Norber, I obliged by ascending a gully allowing access to the Norber boulder fields. Hundreds of glacial erratic's litter the fields above Nappa Scar, 12,000 years of erosion have left them sitting on tiny limestone plinths, if this is as far as your walk takes you it won't be a wasted day.

My day continued to a ladder stile at the top of the field, I crossed to access Thwaite an area of extensive broken limestone scars like islands rising from a sea of tussoc grass, I continued north guided by the many cairns that rise from the bare rock, eventually I reached an ancient cairn on Long Scar. Still heading north over the surface of a lovely green path I continued, after a ¼ of a mile a track forked off to the left. I followed this track cut deep into the limestone scars, considerable effort had gone into its construction, built to allow access for shooting parties, it leads past a row of grouse butts before reaching a gate, through the gate a couple of hundred yards up the path the remains of a shooting cabin stands. I passed the cabin striding out on the main path to Ingleborough, on reaching the next wall crossed by twin ladder stiles (such is the popularity of this path) it was make your mind up time, follow the wall over Brunt Riggs or ascend to the vast summit plateau of Ingleborough. The route across Brunt Riggs looked fairly dry, fingers crossed I left the main path, in the company of the dry stone wall I made my descent, a faint path carried me down the hill, when the wall changed direction I set a compass bearing directly to Gaping Gill. Following a drainage ditch my crossing was fairly dry, I soon reached the unmistakable crater of the largest cavern in the Dales, until recently the largest in England, I peered into it's depths, watched the waters of Fell Beck disappear 344ft into what is known as the Main Chamber. A detailed 3D model of the chamber has been created using an industrial laser range finder which showed that its volume is comparable to the size of York Minster.

From Gaping Gill the main path to Clapham guided me down hill through a landscape riddled with sink holes and pot holes. I crossed a stile to descend an obvious dry valley before being forced to squeeze through the confines of Trow Gill to access Ingleborough Cave, a sign read “the best show cave in England”, in my opinion the truth. Now in the company of Clapham Beck I strolled on, just before the beck and path disappear into Ingleborough Estate grounds a path rose to the right, 99.9% of people come and go through Ingleborough Estate, me included it's a delightful route, one I'd recommend, today well, I ascended to Clapdale Farm hunting for the final views of the day. A short walk along the farm lane with limited views over Clapdale and west to the hills of Bowland followed before the lane guided me back to Clapham.

view route map.


Broken Bridge spans Clapham Beck at the start of today's little ramble, why Broken? because an earlier one was washed away at the height of a storm.

Amidst the Norber Erratic's looking southeast....

....and west to the hills of Bowland.

With my back to the limestone cliffs of Thwaite views to Smearsett and Pot Scars.

Seen across Crummack Dale the vast limestone plateau of Moughton, the path to the left, a wonderful route onto the hill.

Bowland across the valley of the River Wenning.

Striding across Thwaite with views over the valleys of the Wenning and Lune.

Rising high above Ribblesdale, Pen-y-ghent.

Viewing the hills of Bowland across sun lit lowlands, seen from near the summit of Thwaite.

There are wonderful views to be had from the summit of Thwaite, Ribblesdale stretching to the south.

Dark today with it's head in cloud, mighty Ingleborough.

Seen beyond the limestone pavements of Sulber, Pen-y-ghent.

The summit ridge of Fountains Fell seen over Ribblesdale.

From a small cluster of erratic boulders passed en route, views back to Thwaite.

To the left Little Ingleborough, on the right the flat top of Ingleborough as seen over Brunt Rigg Moss my return route, GULP!

How's this for a wonderful path to ramble along, dominating the view, Simon Fell.

In the other direction, Moughton over the green fields of Crummack Dale backed by the Warrendale skyline above Settle.

A magic view with the hills of Bowland stretched out before me, sunlight in the valley, what more can a man ask for, well I'm looking over Brunt Riggs to Bottom Rigg, my route follows the wall before crossing the mosses to Gaping Gill just visible in front of the small pine plantation, I'd like a crossing with dry feet.

Descending Brunt Riggs, looking to Little Ingleborough with a storm sweeping across the hills of Bowland top centre.

The dark depths of Gaping Gill.

Not so dark and not so deep but just a spectacular, Trow Gill cut by glacial melt water around the same time the Norber Erratic's were deposited.

Last seen spilling into the vast cavern of Gaping Gill further up the page, Fell Beck now emerges as Clapham Beck a few yards from the public entrance to Ingleborough Show Cave.

Stealing the final view of the day, Robin Proctor's Scar rises above Ingleborough Hall Estate.

Clapham Falls, constructed in 1837 by Oliver and James Farrer as part of the remodeling of the land around Ingleborough Hall.

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