Skipton, Yorkshire Sunday 22nd January 2017

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader : Carole Rankin   Distance : 10.50 miles

A linear walk starting at East Marton (where there are no toilets). We walk 3mls on the Pennine Way to Gargrave (and toilets!!). Then north to Flasby via the Leeds/Liverpool Canal, road and paths. We cross Flasby Fell as we climb up Sharp Haw (357m, 1171ft) for cracking views, hopefully. We then make our way to Skipton via fell, lanes and golf course.
Expect mud!!!
If you intend to do the strenuous walk please be booted up ready for a quick stop at the drop off place. Thanks.

Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance 7.00 miles

Two points to first mention, it is advisable to wear your gaiters; and there are many high stiles in the stone walls to climb over. From Skipton Town Centre we join the Dales High Way starting with a steep climb up and over a particularly boggy field. Taking a breather on the way we can enjoy the splendid views of Skipton and surrounding area then carry on up to and across the busy A65. We take the path over the golf course and follow lanes to None Go Bye where we cross the railway track. From here we have about 2 miles of fields to stroll over and those dreaded stiles! Again lovely views across the valley as we head gradually down to Embsay, through the village and down to the main road and pavement back into Skipton.

Easy Leader : Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance : 4.00 miles

We start our walk with quite a bit of road and then lane walking as we make our way up to the caravan site near Tarn House Moor. This is because we are unable to use the footpath across the fields as planned because excavation work in preparation for housing development is taking place. After that it is mainly off-road. We pick up the Dales High Way, walk a short stretch across the Moor with very good views all round then return to Skipton on fields and over the golf course, dodging any high balls. We leave the Dales High Way to come down through Skipton Woods and finally walk alongside the river back to town and the many pubs and tea rooms. Expect some mud especially near the farm gates. There are not many stiles but some are meant for skinny folk!

Notes On The Area

Skipton was originally known as Schap which means sheep town and much of Skipton’s prosperity is derived from the woollen trade.

Although originally a Saxon settlement, in Norman times Skipton was chosen as the site of a powerful Norman castle guarding strategic routes into the Aire Gap from the east. The medieval castle survives, and despite extensive 17th century rebuilding, it is one of the finest examples of a castle of its period. The pattern of a typical Norman town can be seen, with the church by the castle at the head of the town and a High Street extending below both. There are old inns and shops, courtyards and alleyways, and a colourful street market (daily except Tuesday and Sunday). Many of the old medieval ‘backs’ which were converted into workshop areas or crammed with workers’ cottages around the old courtyards in the Industrial Revolution, are now attractive shopping arcades or precincts. As well as an excellent choice of pubs, cafes, restaurants, and shops, places to visit in Skipton include the medieval church with its tombs of the famous Clifford family of Craven and Westmorland, and the excellent Craven Museum occupying the top floor of the Victorian Town Hall. Here there are collections of natural and local history, geology, and material relating to the Dales lead-mining industry.

Many high street properties were rebuilt in the second half of the 17th century, and in the 1720’s weavers and wool-combers built houses at the bottom end of the town. Thirty years later the Keighley-Kendal turnpike increased Skipton’s importance as a wool trading centre with a livestock market, and by the end of the century the Leeds-Liverpool Canal ensured the concentration of the worsted cloth industry in the town. The Old Springs branch of the canal was built in the 1770’s through a deep ravine alongside Eller Beck at the back of Skipton Castle in order to carry limestone to the Bradford and Aire valley ironworks. The crushed stone was brought by rope-hauled tramway from a quarry at Haw Bank near Embsay, and gravity fed into waiting barges. The walk along the towpath behind the high castle walls, past a surviving water-wheel at High Mill, is beautiful and fascinating. It leads to Skipton Woods, an area of woodlands with lakes which are open to the public.

Skipton today is known as The Gateway to the Dales and is an ideal place to be based to explore places such as Malham and Bolton Abbey.