Nidderdale & Washburn Walks
Thrope Edge & Sypeland Crags
Date: 16th February 2013
Distance: 8.5 miles
Ascent: 1230 feet
Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE136771
A walk above upper Nidderdale visiting the fine viewpoint of Thrope Edge and the gritstone outcrops of Sypeland Crags.
Route Summary: Pot Moor High Road - Pott Moor - Lofthouse Moor - Thrope Edge - Ouster Bank - Sypeland Crags - Lulbeck Head - Combs Crags - Low Ash Head - West Summer Side - Pot Moor High Road
1. The snow covered path across Pott Moor
2. The view of upper Nidderdale from Thrope Edge
3. The shooting house on Thrope Edge
4. Enjoying the view to Rain Stang from Thrope Edge
5. Looking back along the track that leads away from Thrope Edge
6. The trig point on Ouster Bank
7. Jenny Twigg and her daughter Tib
8. On Sypeland Crags
9. Some of the outcrops of Sypeland Crags
10. The giant rock known as Tib's Tent
11. Lulbeck Crags
12. The shooting house below Combs Crags
13. Roundhill Reservoir
Walk Detail: Over the years I've covererd quite a few of the moorland paths in upper Nidderdale but I'd yet to walk along Thrope Edge and visit the prominent shooting house up there. This route linked Thrope Edge with a return visit to the gritstone outcrops of Sypeland Crags.
I started the walk quite high up at a small parking area on Pot Moor High Road. I was expecting to get a good stride in at the beginning of the walk on the good path heading away from the road. Instead I was surprised to find that the path was still largely covered in snow.
Still it didn't take me too long to cross Pott Moor and there was a wonderful moment when I arrived at the point where Dale Edge merges into Lofthouse Moor. The view that suddenly appears of upper Nidderdale is really quite marvellous, especially of Scar House Reservoir surrounded by the high fells of Great Whernside, Nidd Head and Little Whernside.
There followed a smashing stride along Thrope Edge to the shooting house. I can't say that I am a fan of grouse shooting but there is no denying that the shooting house on Thrope Edge is a magnificent specimen of its type with its tower, freshly painted doors and even double glazing! From the valley floor it actually looks like a church high up on the moor.
After enjoying my lunch at this lovely spot I turned off the edge to follow the track to the Lofthouse - Masham road. Thus far I had made use of wide paths but for the next few miles I was largely on pathless moor as I visited in succession the trig point on Ouster Bank, Jenny Twigg and her daughter Tib, Sypeland Crags and the huge rock of Tib's Tent.
Sypeland Crags is one the best gritstone outcrops in the area and would surely be better known if access was easier. Whilst there are plenty of moorland tracks nearby the crags themselves are defended by a copious amount of heather, knee deep in places. It is worth the effort to reach them though as some of the higher outcrops are quite dramatic.
After another bit of heather bashing to reach the track to the north east of Lulbeck Crags it was then an easy walk to another interesting shooting house, this one almost built into the rocks of Combs Crags on Low Ash Head Moor. After another pathless section to the ruins of Low Ash Head it was then a simple walk up past the farm at West Summer Side to the parking area on Pot Moor High Road.
This was a super walk and a welcome return to upper Nidderdale, helped by the fact that after a grey start the sun didn't take long to come out.