Nidderdale & Washburn Walks
Date: 21st July 2011
Distance: 5.1 miles
Ascent: 592 feet
Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE180529
A short evening expedition to Askwith Moor and the modest Snowden Crags either side of the Otley - Blubberhouses road.
Route Summary: Timble - Sourby - Ellacarr Pike - Askwith Moor - Askwith Moor Road - Snowden Crags - Dick's Beck - Timble
1. The minor road leading out of Timble
2. Askwith Moor
3. Lippersley Pike from Ellacarr Pike
4. Looking across Denton Moor towards Ilkley Moor
5. Askwith Moor
6. The trig point on Askwith Moor
7. The Blubberhouses - Otley road as it crosses Askwith Moor
8. Looking down to lower Washburndale
9. Late evening sunlight on Norwood Edge
10. Enjoying the view from Snowden Crags
11. Looking back up to a couple of the outcrops of Snowden Crags
12. The path back into Timble was very overgrown
Walk Detail: It had been nearly three weeks since my last walk and I was starting to get a bit twitchy. Coupled with the fact that I'd had a fairly disheartening week at work I really felt the need to get out and blow away the cobwebs.
I expected this to be a fairly straightforward walk without any difficulties and certainly this was the case as I walked along the quiet country lane from my starting point in Timble to Sourby Farm and from there on to the open access land of Askwith Moor. However, when I tried to trace the right of way marked on the map heading SSW across the moor it very quickly became apparent that the path existed more in theory than in practice. After battling through thick heather and tussocky grass I gave up on that route and so made for the boundary stones on Ellacarr Pike.
As often seems to be the case a thin trod had developed alongside the fence and so I followed this south for just over half a mile before crossing another rough section of the moor to a line of grouse butts which I was then able to follow on an improving path past an ugly corrogated iron cabin to the trig point on Shooting House Hill, the highest point on Askwith Moor, where I sat down for a belated evening meal.
Although the sun had gone in almost as soon as I'd set off and the sky had clouded over visibility was still good and I was surprised at how extensive the view was. To the south I could see the Emley Moor TV mast, to the west I could see Pendle Hill while away to the north east I could see the distant line of the Hambleton Hills in the North York Moors.
Continuing on I dropped down to the Blubberhouses - Otley Road which I followed for only about 100 yards before hopping over a wall in to the access area above Snowden Crags. The latter proved to be a scattering of fairly modest and well spread outcrops overlooking this section of Washburndale with views down to Swinsty Reservoir and across to Norwood Edge.
Getting from the top of the crags to the minor road running past Crag House proved to be much more difficult than anticipated due to the fact that I had to descend through a pathless area of thick, often head high, bracken. Indeed this was my worst tangle with bracken since Grimes Gill near Colsterdale almost six years ago.
Unfortunately the worst wasn't over yet. A landslide and a fallen tree meant that I was unable to cross Timble Gill Beck at the point that I wanted to so I had to double back to follow the stream bed Dick's Beck downstream to then ford Timble Gill Beck. From there I took a very gloomy and enclosed path which was choked with nettles, brambles, bracken, holly and infested with clouds of insects. By the time I eventually got back to Timble I felt quite relieved and rather pleased that I hadn't been wearing shorts!
This was not quite the pleasant evening amble that I had anticipated but despite this I still enjoyed myself, it was good just to be out again. Having said that the walk would probably be a more attractive proposition at a different time of the year when the bracken and undergrowth isn't quite so rampant.