Strenuous Leader : Malcolm Distance : 9.00 miles
We head north west out of Skipton on the road to Stirton and then head up Bog Lane past Tarn House Farm. We leave the road and pick up the Dales High Way to ascend Sharp Haw – if the weather is kind to us we should get some good views towards the Trough of Bowland. From Sharp Haw we drop down into the woods near White Rock and head back towards Bog Lane, dropping back down into Skipton in time for a cup of tea or perhaps something stronger.
Climb 850 ft
Leisurely Leader : Peter Distance : 7.40 miles
Happy New Year to one and all. We start this walk getting out of Skipton by walking around one side of the castle, the Bailey, then along Skipton Rd going under the A65, and then the railway line. We go into a field through a gate up the footpath with no way mark onto Brackenley lane. (That is the tough uphill behind us.) We walk across the top a few miles and find a place to stop for a picnic. I would like to tell you about the lovely views but there was this fog all the way along. We then join a footpath across a field to Bog Lane heading down to Stirton and Thorlby where we pick up the Leeds Liverpool canal tow path for our last 2 miles into the centre of Skipton.
Easy Leader : Ruth and Cynthia
We start our walk with quite a bit of road and lane walking as we make our way up to the caravan site near Tarn House Moor. 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 around, then return to Skipton on fields and then over a golf course. We leave the Dales High Way to come down through Skipton Woods and finally walk alongside the river back into 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.