Norber and Thwaite from Clapham.

Start. Clapham.

Route. Clapham - Thwaite Lane - New Close Plantation - Nappa Scar - Norber - Thwaite - Clapham Bottoms - Trow Gill - Ingleborough Cave - Clapham Drive - Clapham.

Notes. I guess I felt the need to walk off the excesses of yesterday (Christmas Day), feeling a little hung over and lethargic I hitched a plan. Whatever the weather I was heading into the limestone dales, as the weather was a little hung over too I'd keep low, hoping the wet stuff will hang around the mountains.

Clapham one of the nicest villages you could imagine, it's 18th century slate roofed houses line Clapham Beck, if it wasn't for the modern vehicles cluttering the streets and wheelie bins you could have stepped from the comfort of the car a hundred years ago, so picture perfect is it. I parked on the road side before heading north to join Thwaite Lane, the lane passed through two dark tunnels, an attempt by the owners of Ingleborough Hall to keep the riff-raff out of sight of the house, oh those Victorians. Once back in day light the dry stone walls of Thwaite Lane guide me to a finger-post promising access to Norber, a ladder stile conveyed me into a large field then a green trod ushered me towards, then under the limestone cliffs of Robin Proctor's Scar, over another stile then onward to Nappa Scar and, another finger-post.

The route for Norber cut up a narrow rake with limestone scree rising on two sides, I ascended the rake to access the boulder fields. This is an amazing place, the best show of erratic boulders in Britain, eerie especial in mist, alluvial in sunlight unfortunately all I had was rain. The fields around Thwaite and Norber are littered with erratic boulders, a grey form of sandstone “greywacke”, ripped from the ground by ice sheets and dumped here 12.000 years ago, over time the softer limestone has eroded leaving them sitting on narrow pedestals.

I wandered round the boulder field before exiting via a ladder stile. On the other side of the wall a short climb deposited me on Thwaite, an extensive limestone plateau, home to some fine examples of limestone pavements. A number of paths traverse the plateau, my favourite, along the edge of the scars overlooking Crummack Dale. Today with rain falling the limestone pavements were like ice, I weighed up my options then headed to a dry stone wall which runs just under the summit ridge, limited views but at least I won't end up on my backside.

With a dry stone wall for company, rain on my back and a green trod under foot I wandered North. Eventually reaching a wide bridleway linking Ribblesdale and Clapdale, I turned left, passed through a gate then left the main trod descending into Clapham Bottoms, a high valley containing limestone scars, a number of pot holes and sink holes, you have to wander around to find them, I had something far more interesting and accessible in mind, Trow Gill. With a green trod still under foot I ascended the opposite side of the valley, the path deposited me at the head of a narrow dry valley, this is one of the main routes onto Ingleborough, today it was to guide me back to Clapham.

As the walls closed in around me I found myself at the head of Trow Gill, an impressive limestone ravine guarding the head of Clapdale, once an underground cavern cut by glacial melt water, sometime over the past 12.000 years the roof has collapsed leaving us with what we see today. I carefully descended the chasm, teetering on wet slippery limestone, safely out of the gorge Clapdale Drive ushered me passed Ingleborough Show Cave, then between the plantings of Reginald Farrer, notable Victorian traveler and plant collector. The drive passed a grotto with views to Thwaite Scars, then The Lake a sprawling totally man made body of water before emerging in the quiet streets of Clapham.

view route map.


The Clapham tunnels were constructed by the Farrer family to provide a route underneath their Ingleborough Hall Estate connecting the village of Clapham with Thwaite Lane, in those days Thwaite Lane would have been the main route East/West.

In Thwaite Lane looking over the valley of the River Wenning, under cloud the hills of the Bowland Forest.

Robin Proctor's Scar seen from New Close Plantation.

Looking to Nappa Scar backed by Moughton.

Erratic boulder, the one most people photograph, there's hundreds some you can rock, some are there just to be marveled at.

The Norber Boulder Fields.

Traversing Thwaite a dry stone wall for company with views to the lower slopes of Simon Fell.

Trow Gill as seen across Clapdale.

Looking over Clapham Bottoms with Ingleborough under a thick blanket of grey cloud

Viewing Thwaite Scars from above Trow Gill.

Under cloud Little Ingleborough.

Trow Gill from above, there's a story to be told....

.... Something that's never happened to me before, while descending Trow Gill I placed my foot in a secure hollow, as I moved down it refused to release, my weight carried me forward it was only my trekking poles that saved me from certain broken bones. Sitting on the rock I'd just stepped over I tried unsuccessfully to extract it, this was embarrassing, jammed solid. I untied the lace removing my foot, the bloody thing still remained fast, there was no way I was leaving a £120 boot behind. I started man handling boulders, some I could hardly move, suddenly when I was moving a rock a good three foot away a ripple emitted from the foot sized pool my boot sat in, I grabbed it and out it came. So dear reader if you ascend Trow Gill in the next few weeks and it looks like someone's been digging, they have me.

The Grotto a fine example of a folly, in the late 18th century it became fasionable for landowners to construct ornamental buildings in there gardens and parks.

The Lake totally man made, dating back to 1833 when Oliver Farrer was improving the look of the estate. in 1847 engineers installed a system to take water from The Lake to power turbines in the saw mill, around 1896 the turbines were connected to a generator allowing Clapham to be the first village in the North West of England to have electric street lamps. The surplus energy was used to power one light bulb in each of the village houses..

Clapham Beck escapes the estate grounds in an attractive cascade.

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