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Yorkshire Dales Walks

Beamsley Beacon

Date: 3rd June 2015
Distance: 4.9 miles
Ascent: 818 feet
Time: 2 hours 30 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE091521

Walk Summary:
A pleasant evening walk visiting Howgill Crag, Round Hill and finishing with a sunset from Beamsley Beacon.

Route Summary: Lanshaw Bank - Beamsley Level - Grey Stone - Round Hill - Grey Stone - Beamsley Level - Old Pike - Beamsley Beacon - Lanshaw Bank

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

The view of Wharfedale from Lanshaw Bank
Beamsley Beacon was directly above the track at the start of the walk
The raised path slanting up the fell below Old Pike which reminded me of a bank and ditch
The hole in the wall I used to access Howgill Crag
Approaching Howgill Crag with Carncliff Top in the distance
The valley of Kex Beck from Howgill Crag
Howgill Crag
Beamsley Beacon from Howgill Crag
Looking across Beamsley Level towards Round Hill
The Grey Stone, a large rock used as a boundary stone
A shattered boundary stone to the east of the Grey Stone
The top of Round Hill looking back towards Beamsley Beacon
The rocks on Old Pike, the true summit of Beamsley Beacon, looking towards the beacon site and trig point
The evening sun glinting off Lower Barden Reservoir
Looking south towards Ilkley and Rombalds Moor
The trig point and large cairn marking the beacon site
Enjoying the sunset from Beamsley Beacon
The trig point on Beamsley Beacon as the sun sets
The sun finally sets behind Thorpe Fell

Walk Detail: I've lost count of the number of times I've driven along the A59 on the way home from a walk and noted the large gritstone crag on the side of Beamsley Beacon. The main aim of this walk then was to find a route on to this crag. As with the previous week's outing on Embsay and Crookrise Crag this walk was done in the evening after work and, with it being such a nice evening, I also had high hopes for a sunset at the end of the walk.

Starting from the parking area near the top of Lanshaw Bank I crossed the road and immediately followed a signpost for Beamsley Beacon. Within ten metres though I left the path heading directly for the summit and instead took the broad track contouring around the upper slopes of the hill. It was a lovely summer evening and these early stages were enlivened by a hare who kept putting in a teasing appearance only to run off just as I was about to get a photo of it.

After a short while the track began to slant upwards on what seemed to be some kind of stony embankment with a ditch on the right. It was an unusual feature and made me wonder if it is of historical significance. Certainly there are many ancient earthworks marked on maps that seem to be much less clear than this. At the top of embankment the path continued around to a junction of walls which I needed to cross too reach the crag. Here I'd hoped to find a gate but, there being none, I instead crossed over on to the west side of the wall by crawling through a gap.

Clearly other people had done the same thing because once through the gap there was a thin path leading from it to the crag. The crag does not have a name on the map which is somewhat surprising. Some pictures I've come across on the internet label it as 'Little Crag' but that is a much more modest outcrop to the north-east. Given it stands above Howgill Sike, Howgill Intake and the farms of Howgill Side and Howgill Farm then Howgill Crag would seem to be a suitable name for it. Whatever it is called it is a fine crag with good views back to Beamsley Beacon and of the valley of Kex Beck below.

From the crag I could spot a gate in the wall to the east meaning I could avoid retracing my steps to the gap I'd crawled under earlier. Once through the gate I had two choices, either make a leisurely way up on to Old Pike and Beamsley Beacon and hang around for the sun to set, or to extend the walk by detouring across Beamsley Flat to Round Hill before retracing my steps to Beamsley Beacon.

In the end I decided to do the latter as otherwise the walk would have been very short indeed. Therefore, after crossing a pathless stretch of moorland, I joined the clear path linking the two summits and marched east passing along the way a number of boundary stones including the large Grey Stone. By the time I reached Round Hill it was almost 8.15pm so it was time to turn around and head back just as quickly taking few photos as my camera battery was fading quicker than the light.

Thankfully I made it to the large cairn and trig point on Beamsley Beacon with just enough time for me to finally have a bite to eat before enjoying the sunset. While not a classic sunset it was still quite lovely and the orange colours illuminating the cairn and trig were quite stunning. After the sun finally dropped behind Thorpe Fell it was then a simple descent back to the road.

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