Yorkshire Dales Walks
Catrigg Force & Attermire Scar
Date: 24th October 2015
Distance: 7.3 miles
Ascent: 1490 feet
Time: 5 hours 40 mins
Start Grid Ref: SD820672
A feature filled walk in Ribblesdale featuring two waterfalls, numerous caves and a lovely stretch of riverside to see the salmon leaping Stainforth Force.
Route Summary: Stainforth - Goat Scar Lane - Catrigg Force - Winskill Stones - Jubilee Cave - Wet Cave - Victoria Cave - Horseshoe Cave - Warrendale Knotts - Langcliffe - Ribble Way - Stainforth Force - Stainforth
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Continuing my current obsession with waterfalls I wanted to visit Catrigg Force and Stainforth Force, both of which I'd only been to once before and even then it was some time ago. As I'm also developing a greater interest in the areas caves I thought it would also be a good opportunity to also take another look at some of the caves of Attermire Scar.
Starting from Stainforth the walk began with an easy climb out of the village on the enclosed Goat Scar Lane. The skies were overcast with hill fog covering the higher fells, nevertheless there were still good views back towards Smearsett Scar across the valley. At the top of the lane we turned left to access the path leading down through the woods to Catrigg Force.
Catrigg Force is undoubtedly one of the most atmospheric waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales. Situated in a deep wooded gorge the main fall features two substantial drops over a steep scar into a deep pool. Needless to say we spent quite a while taking photos and just soaking up the ambience of this special place.
Eventually we tore ourselves away to continue the walk. This we did by heading towards Upper Winskill before taking the farm's access track below Winskill Stones to reach the minor road between Langcliffe and Cowside. Along the way we passed a giant greywacke erratic boulder, known as Samson's Toe, which is perched on a neat limestone plinth.
Crossing straight over the lane we began the next stage of the walk, a visit to a few of the many caves to be found in and around Attermire Scar. First up was Jubilee Cave where we also decided to sit and eat our lunch. As we did so a small group of walkers passed us and, going deeper into the cave, eventually found a way out. Intrigued I put on my head torch and went for a look myself. After going down a dead end passage I found the spot they must have squeezed through but didn't fancy trying it with my camera and tripod.
Continuing along Attermire Scar we next visited Wet Cave, a dark slit on the path leading up to the much better known Victoria Cave. Victoria Cave itself is the most famous of the caves of Attermire Scar. Within its chambers have been found the bones of hippos, rhinos and elephants dating back over 100,000 years ago. Amongst more 'recent' discoveries was an 11,000 year old antler harpoon, the earliest evidence of human activity in the Dales. Without penetrating too deeply into any of the passages I had a little walk around to take some photos of the main cavern.
Shortly after leaving Victoria Cave the sun belatedly began to break through the cloud. Upon reaching a gate giving access to Warrendale Knotts. I briefly left Tim to have a rest while I went in search of Attermire Cave situated on a grassy ledge high above. Despite having visited this cave before I couldn't find it this time and must have walked just below it since I did reach the huge slit in the cliff face that is the entrance to Horseshoe Cave.
Returning to Tim we then made our pathless way up the steep grassy slopes of Warrendale Knotts, generally keeping to the north of the more precipitous rocky slopes. The views from the summit were enhanced by a wonderful combination of cloud and strong patches of late autumn afternoon sunshine. By this time the earlier hill fog had cleared all the summits so the Three Peaks country was arrayed before us in all its glory.
Taking a roundabout route of descent, to avoid the steep crags, we briefly endured a sharp shower before joining the bridleway leading to Langcliffe. Passing through this lovely little village we then dropped down to the River Ribble, crossing it at a footbridge just below a weir.
The final stage of the walk was a pleasant path upstream to Stainforth Force. In the summer the riverbank near the waterfall is usually crowded and is best avoided. In fact one of the reasons I'd chosen to do this particular walk was because, on this occasion, it was just the right time of year to see the salmon jumping the waterfall. It was an impressive spectacle to watch, I could feel myself willing them to make a successful jump. Unfortunately by this time it was getting late and I couldn't linger long but still it was a fine way to end what had been a tremendous, feature-filled, walk.