Yorkshire Dales Walks
Thorpe Fell & Cracoe Fell
Date: 23rd July 2005
Distance: 12.7 miles
Ascent: 1778 feet
Time: 5 hours 20 mins
Start Grid Ref: SE038555
A fine moorland ramble visiting the top of Thorpe Fell and the monuments on Cracoe Fell and Rylstone Fell.
Route Summary: Halton Moor - Lower Barden Reservoir - Upper Barden Reservoir - Thorpe Fell - Cracoe Fell - Rylstone Cross - North Earls - Hutchen Gill - Halton Height - Halton Moor
1. Lower Barden Reservoir
2. Upper Barden Reservoir
3. Matt and I on the top of Thorpe Fell
4. The battered trig point on Thorpe Fell
5. Approaching Cracoe Fell
6. By the war memorial on Cracoe Fell
7. Looking west along Rylstone Edge
8. Matt stood by the Rylstone Cross
9. The Rylstone Cross
10. Matt on North Earls with Upper Barden Reservoir behind
11. The cairn and trig point on Halton Height
Walk Detail: For the most part this walk was on very broad and easily navigable moorland tracks. An early exception was a thin path at the end of Lower Barden Reservoir that took us through some knee high nettles and head high bracken. At the end we came to what seemed to be a ten-foot high wall. With seemingly no way forward I decided to climb the wall only to find it was really an embankment with the track we were looking for on top of it.
Upper Barden Reservoir is situated in a lovely setting in a kind of bowl between Thorpe Fell, Cracoe Fell and North Earls. My photos didn’t really do it justice mainly because of the overcast conditions.
The walk up to Thorpe Fell was steady and the only real effort required was when we had to divert off the path and climb through the heather to the stony top of Thorpe Fell and its battered OS column. Due to the murky skies we could make out very little though at least we could see the silhouette of the obelisk on Cracoe Fell.
After another section of heather bashing we headed off to Cracoe Fell which did not take us too long. Annoyingly a group of rather loud people were firmly ensconced on the rocky ridge that is the foundation for the impressive obelisk war memorial. Again what should have been a grand viewpoint up Wharfedale was denied us becuase of the weather but we could still see plenty of the valley below and the view along Rylstone Edge to Flasby Fell beyond was particularly impressive.
After eating our lunch we headed off along Rylstone Edge to Rylstone Cross. We took the path on the outside of the wall that provided better views along the edge as well as some modest scrambling. Along the way Matt discovered a big fat hairy green caterpillar, which I duly took a macro photo of.
Rylstone Cross is perched precariously on top of a rocky spur and is another impressive monument. It would certainly be a place to take a camera on an evening with a nice sunset. By this time the sun was starting to burn through the cloud and while this added to the enjoyment of the walk it was still too hazy to get any outstanding long distance views.
Halfway to North Earls we lingered a while at an unnamed stream where we watched the damsel and dragonflies, trying unsuccessfully to get a picture of the latter. At North Earls we detoured a bit off the path to look down on to Upper Barden Reservoir and in doing so discovered a nice peaceful spot away from the increasingly busy bridleway.
The final stretch afforded us increasingly better views across to Simon’s Seat with Lower Barden Reservoir in the foreground. Near the end of the path we headed back up through the heather to visit the trig point on Halton Height. Although much lower than the moor tops we had already visited that day it proved to be a good viewpoint particularly of lower Wharfedale and across to Skipton Moor.
This was a good walk mainly because there were so many features, the Cracoe Fell war memorial and Rylstone Cross in particular being worth the visit.