South Pennine Walks
Date: 28th Jul 2014
Distance: 5.8 miles
Ascent: 875 feet
Time: 2 hours 20 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SD924255
A beautiful evening ramble to the summit of Ilkley Moor and also visiting the Cow and Calf rocks and the Twelve Apostles stone circle.
Route Summary: Cow and Calf - Rocky Valley - Ilkley Crags - Lanshaw Lad- Ilkley Moor - Twelve Apostles - High Lanshaw Dam - Green Crag - Cow and Calf
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Ilkley Moor and the surrounding moors that make up Rombald's Moor have so many interesting features that it is almost impossible to cram them all in to one walk. One feature that I had somehow missed prior to this walk, despite being close on at least three occasions, was the stone circle known as the Twelve Apostles. In order to rectify this ommission I set off straight after work on another lovely summer evening.
Starting from the Cow and Calf car park I first spent some time exploring the Cow and Calf rocks and soaking in the views of Ilkley and lower Wharfedale. Eventually turning my back on the popular landmark I set off towards Ilkley Crags, another excellent gritstone feature but, being set back that bit further back, much quieter than the Cow and Calf rocks. One of the great things about Ilkley Moor is the myriad of possible route options and on this occasion I reached Ilkley Crags first by taking a path in a small dip marked on the map as 'Rocky Valley' which runs below the imposing crags above.
Having climbed up to the rim of crags I then set off across the moor using a thin path that ran pretty much in parallel to the Dales Way Link which it later joined below the boundary stone marked as the Lanshaw Lad. From the Lanshaw Lad I did a loop to visit the trig point at the summit of the moor and which on this occasion was covered in flies. Indeed there was not much of a breeze and on this section I felt like I was a moving feast for the local insect population.
Back at the Lanshaw Lad it was then a short walk to the Twelve Apostles. For a while the sun had gone behind the clouds but I managed to time my arrival perfectly as the late evening sunshine broke through again to shine on the stone circle. From the stone circle I continued on a good track to drop down to High Lanshaw Dam, from there I went on an unsuccessful search for the Lanshaw Lass before heading north to reach the modest Green Crag.
By this time the sun was beginning to set and from Green Crag I enjoyed the most glorious descent with the setting sun ahead of me casting the last golden rays of sunshine over the purpling heather. Without doubt this twenty minutes or so was one of the highlights of the year so far for me and was a wonderful way to finish what had been another hugely enjoyable ramble over Ilkley Moor.