Nidderdale & Washburn Walks
Dovestones & Brandrith Crags
Date: 8th Nov 2014
Distance: 5.1 miles
Ascent: 683 feet
Time: 2 hours 20 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE143565
A visit to Dovestones and Brandrith Crags two fine but unfrequented gritstone features on Kex Gill Moor and Hall Moor above the Washburn valley.
Route Summary: North Moor Road - Kex Gill Moor - Kex Gill Tarn - Kex Gill Road - Dovestones - Kex Gill Road - Brandrith Crags - Nethernook Bridge - Westend Lane - Burnt Hill - North Moor Road
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: The forecast was a for a bright start first thing and then heavy rain moving in for the rest of the day. With only a short amount of 'walking time' I therefore decided on this route, a variation on previous walks on Kex Gill Moor and Hall Moor.
Using the power of Google Street View I managed to find room to park a car on North Moor Road which meant that unlike previous visits to this area I didn't have to start at the parking area at the top of Fewston Reservoir. An unexpected advantage of the spot I'd selected to park the car, combined with setting off fairly early, was that I arrived just in time to see the sun rise gloriously over Hall Moor directly above Brandrith Crags.
From North Moor Road I set off across Kex Gill Moor, the path on the map proving to be rather elusive. Rather than take the shortest route to the Dovestones I first made my way across the pathless moor to visit the small tarn marked near Foulcauseway Slack. The tarn doesn't appear to have a name but I wonder if it is Kex Gill Tarn. This is marked on the map a quarter of a mile south but as there is no tarn there I think the name may be in the wrong place on the map. It was a pleasant spot - possibly less so for grouse considering the line of grouse butts along one side of the tarn.
After another pathless section I reached the old disused stretch of Kex Gill Road which has been made redundant by the nearby A59. Reaching a minor road I swung right to reach the A59 and then briefly left along the verge to the head of the valley of Hall Beck. On one side the A59 makes a winding descent to Blubberhouses whilst on the other side there are a couple of fine gritstone outcrops. The most prominent of these isn't clearly named on the map but may be known either as Dovestones or Raven's Peak.
Rather than taking the usual path contouring through the bracken I dropped down to the reedy Hall Beck so that I could view Dovestones from below. After a bit of a tussle with the dead bracken I scrambled up alongside the rocks to enjoy the views from what is a major landmark on this stretch of the Harrogate to Skipton road.
From Dovestones I walked back on to a still used section of Kex Gill Road then had a brief look at the pools of Blubberhouse Quarry before tackling another pathless stretch, this time across Hall Moor to reach Brandrith Crags. Brandrith Crags is actually two separate but equally dramatic upthrusts of gritstone separated by a couple of hundred metres with a smaller pile of rocks in between. I'd first visited Brandrith Crags in the summer of 2013 and had wanted to go back to try and get some better pictures. Unfortunately the skies had already clouded over by this point and it was quite dull.
From Brandrith Crags there was a clear path heading east from where I took a right of way dropping down through some colorful woodland to reach Nethernook Bridge. A short walk up Westend Lane then brought me to Burnt Hill from where a decent path led me back to the car whilst enjoying good views across Redshaw Gill towards Brandrith Crags.