Yorkshire Dales Walks
Date: 13th November 2015
Distance: 5.0 miles
Ascent: 750 feet
Time: 2 hours 30 mins
Start Grid Ref: SE011887
A walk in and around Cray Gill in upper Wharfedale featuring waterfalls galore.
Route Summary: Buckden - Buckden Rake - Cow Close Gill - Cray High Bridge - Park Road - Cray - Stubbing Bridge - Hubberholme - Dubb's Lane - Dales Way - Buckden
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Although I've done a fair number of walks in upper Wharfedale I'd never, prior to this walk, visited some of the waterfalls to be found in and around Cray Gill. With waterfalls being a current obsession of mine this short and seemingly simple route looked to be a perfect outing for a walk with my wife Lisa.
Over the two weeks prior to this walk there had been a lot of rain and in fact I'd turned back from attempting this walk the week before due to the amount of water on the B6265 between Skipton and Grassington. On this occasion that section of the road wasn't too bad though we did encounter a lot of surface water between Kettlewell and Buckden.
Eventually we arrived safely in Buckden with a stiff breeze blowing but also lots of blue sky overhead. It was however a very changeable day and before we'd even got our boots and rucksacks on it began chucking it down. A few hundred metres later, as we were climbing up Buckden Rake, the sun popped out again to illuminate the valley below us. For the first stage of the walk this weather pattern of rain and hail showers with brief sunny interludes was repeated with some regularity.
As we soon discovered, the sheer volume of rainfall over the previous two weeks hadn't just effected the roads. As became apparent as Buckden Rake swung east above Cray Gill there was water everywhere. Not just confined to the established streams there were impromptu water courses flowing down the flanks of Buckden Pike everywhere. Some of these proved tricky to ford and there were times when I wondered if we'd even get as far as Cray High Bridge.
However we managed to somehow get across them all and eventually we arrived at Cow Close Gill where we made the short detour from the path to view the spectacular multi-drop waterfall just above. About twenty photos and a sharp hail shower later we left the waterfall to drop down to Cray High Bridge and take in the view of another superb waterfall just upstream on Cray Gill itself.
From the bridge we walked down the road to the tiny settlement of Cray. Looking up to our left on the other side we had a great view of all the water pouring down off Buckden Pike. It was a wonderland of waterfalls made all the more impressive by the fact that for most of the year most of these streams wouldn't even exist.
From Cray we planned on taking the path behind the White Lion but the ford was impassable. Instead we continued down the road before taking the minor lane leading to Stubbing Bridge. Although this diversion from our intended route meant more road walking it did give us a view of a couple more waterfalls below Cray, including a tantalising glimpse of a fall with three separate falls forming into one larger drop.
From Stubbing Bridge we walked along the lane into Hubberholme, crossed over the bridge, and then made our way back to Buckden via Dubb's Lane. The walk finished with a nice section of the Dales Way alongside the River Wharfe. This was a lovely little walk and although the weather wasn't the best the wet conditions certainly made this a memorable outing.