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Middle Wharfedale / 2 days / 28 miles (45km)

OS Route Map → Map GPX Route file →

Date: 24 Sep 2002
Start / Finish: Embsay.
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 10 Yorks Dales South.

Day 1Troller's Gill & Thorpe Fell16.4 miles / 2280 feet (26.4km / 694m)
Day 2Rylstone Edge & Sharp Haw11.7 miles / 700 feet (18.8km / 213m)

An attractive circuit of the moors north of Skipton which takes in a dry limestone gorge and two Marilyns - Thorpe Fell 506m and Sharp Haw 357m.

Check for closures of the moor in the shooting season.

Day 1 - Troller's Gill & Thorpe Fell

Taking the Eastby road a footpath heads NE to cut off the corner and rejoin the road. A footpath climbs N to Eastby Gate and the boundary of the access land where we found a list of the dates when the moor was closed. We had not checked for this before setting out but fortunately the closures did not affect us. A path leads NW to Upper Barden reservoir where we crossed the dam and followed the track SE to the lower reservoir and the B6160. Passing Barden Tower and crossing the Wharfe at Barden Bridge we took the Dales Way (DW) riverside path NE and left it for Howgill, where a footpath branches L off Howgill Lane to descend N to the footbridge at Skyreholme. Along the lane NE at 069607 a footpath goes N to a another lane where we turned L then R on the path that flanks Skyreholme Beck and rises to the old dam. At the far end of this attractive valley we veered R close to the beck to reach Troller's Gill, a narrow dry (normally!) limestone gorge.

Sky shot Lower Barden reservoir & Simons Seat
Sky shot Lower Barden reservoir & Simons Seat (24 Sep 2002__09:37:01)
Upper Barden reservoir
Upper Barden reservoir (24 Sep 2002__10:00:06)
Trollers Gill
Trollers Gill (24 Sep 2002__13:18:18)

At the top of the gorge a ladder stile gives access to a path NW that crosses the high ground to a lane. Turning L we walked SW to the signed track R at 063620 that descends SW with good views and forks R around the flanks of Kail Hill and crosses a lane to rejoin the DW at Woodhouse. Proceeding NW to Burnsall there are public toilets, but despite notices requesting that visitors keep the village tidy we couldn't find a single litter bin. Leaving the DW we followed the footpath NW to Thorpe over many stiles and took the track S to the access point of Thorpe Fell at 012609. Climbing one of the paths to the contouring shooting track we then struck out directly over the heathery moor to the trig point.

Upper Skyreholme valley
Upper Skyreholme valley (24 Sep 2002__13:03:11)

Day 2 - Rylstone Edge & Sharp Haw

Descending NW back to the track an easy walk SW along Rylstone Edge brought us to the War Memorial obelisk and then the Cross. The edge curves round SE to the start of the bridleway NW to Rylstone.

Sunrise over Simons Seat from Thorpe Fell
Sunrise over Simons Seat from Thorpe Fell (25 Sep 2002__06:56:16)
The war memorial on Watt Crag
The war memorial on Watt Crag (25 Sep 2002__08:26:18)
View from Rylstone Edge
View from Rylstone Edge (25 Sep 2002__09:12:17)
View from Rylstone Edge
View from Rylstone Edge (25 Sep 2002__09:19:12)
Rylstone Cross
Rylstone Cross (25 Sep 2002__09:22:29)

On the W side of the railway another bridleway leads W to Hetton where a footpath took us SW on the R of Hetton Beck to Flasby. The bridleway ESE begins easily as far as 953564, then the line on the map involved forcing our way through chest-high bracken to the slopes of Rough Haw. After this it was an easy short climb to the trig point on Sharp Haw, where the views are remarkbly extensive for such a small climb. A stile leads to a path SE that emerges at the lane corner at 975539. Turning R , after a couple of bends we took the path E to the B6265 and crossed it to Brackenley Lane which leads back to Embsay.

View from Sharp Haw
View from Sharp Haw (25 Sep 2002__14:31:49)