Clapham – 26th September 2021

Strenuous Leader : Carole                                                                          Distance : 11.00 miles

Leaving Clapham along Thwaite Lane, we then start our ascent along Long Lane, passing limestone outcrops, to Sulber. From here we ascend across the fells to the summit of Ingleborough (724m, 2375ft) for hopefully great views.

We now start our descent. Firstly, to Little Ingleborough then on via Gaping Gill, Trow Gill and Ingleborough Cave where there are toilets and a gift shop selling drinks, ice creams etc. Finally, along Clapdale Drive and Clapham Beck, passing through the Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail (donation box on exit) and back to Clapham for well earned refreshments.

Leisurely Leader: Pam                                                                          Distance : 7.00 miles

From the car park, we turn right and pass front of St James Church then head uphill towards Ingleborough Caves. The terrain consists of tarmac paths uneven, ground and grassy slopes. During walk some fantastic views of limestone outcrops. There are some stiles but most have a gate to open next to them.

Easy Leader : Jackie                                                                                        Distance 5.00 miles

We leave the coach park to head behind the church to pick up a stony track called Thwaite Lane.  This leads initially significantly uphill through tunnels under Ingleborough Hall, but soon opens out to become a walled track leading to Austwick, with views to the left to Robin Proctors Scar and the high limestone pavements beyond.  We turn into the attractive village of Austwick.  Once through the village we pick up a footpath which meanders through fields with wide views to the south, and back into Clapham. 

Stony tracks and field paths.  Several stiles on the return through the fields, one or two awkward wall-step ones.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The idyllic village of Clapham straddles either side of Clapham Beck, one half linked to the other by three bridges including an ancient footbridge of arching limestone.  The church is at the top end of the village and the pub at the bottom and in between is the large car park and information centre of the National Park.  The large house on the west side of Clapham is Ingleborough Hall, home of the Farrar family for many years.  Originally the building was a farmhouse, converted first into a shooting lodge and then into the Hall between 1820 and 1830.  It is now an outdoor activity centre.  The most celebrated member of the family was Sir Reginald John Farrar, the famous plant hunter, and the man who more than anyone else made rock gardens so immensely popular.  His alpine garden at the Hall was world famous with plants brought from China, Tibet and Japan as well as the Alps. He died in Burma in 1920 aged 40.  After the Farrars built their estate they did not want a common right of way through their grounds so they built tunnels through which the path plunges giving access from the village to Thwaite Lane.  You could do that sort of thing in those days if you were Lord of the Manor. 

There is access to the grounds of Ingleborough Hall (small charge) along a wide carriageway called Clapdale Drive, that runs by the side of an artificial lake created by the Farrars in the 1830’s.  All round the lake, and for some distance beyond, are the trees planted by the Farrars – beech, larch, yew and silver fir, and in season bluebells and wild garlic carpet the ground between the trees.

Ingleborough was once thought to be the highest mountain in England.  This is not really surprising because it does dominate its immediate surroundings, and can be seen from miles away, especially in the west.  It is isolated by deep and wide valleys from its fellow mountains and it has a distinctive shape.  Of course, far from being the highest mountain in England, it is not even the highest in the Dales as the adjacent Whernside is 13 metres higher.

The large boulders covering the hillside above Nappa Scars on the western side of Crummack Dale are the famous Norber Erratics.  Angular in shape and composed of dark grey Silurian gritstone, they are obviously alien to the hillside as the predominant rock here is white limestone.  They originated at a lower level, about half a mile away in Crummack Dale where the Silurian rock bed reaches the surface, and were transported to their present location by a glacier during the last ice age.  The limestone bed on which they were deposited has been considerably dissolved away by rain, which is slightly acid, so that some of the boulders now stand on short pedestals of rock.  Boulders such as these, which have been moved by glaciers and then left behind are called erratics. 

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