Yorkshire Dales Walks
Rear Clouts & Blow Tarn
Date: 30th June 2015
Distance: 6.5 miles
Ascent: 550 feet
Time: 3 hours 10 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE121643
An evening outing from Greenhow village to a rarely visited moorland tarn and to enjoy the sunset from a substantial gritstone crag.
Route Summary: Greenhow - Greenhow Moss - Galloway Pasture - Tarn Gill - Rochard Crags - Blow Tarn - Rear Clouts - Craven Moor - Keld Houses - Greenhow
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: From my office window, on a clear day, I am fortunate enough to able to see, over 12 miles away, a wide sweep of moorland lining the south-eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales. From west to east I can clearly identify Simon's Seat, Great Pock Stones, Greenhow Hill and Coldstones. Also prominent, to the west of Greenhow Hill is a small plantation and, in this walk, I set out to explore the moorland to the west of this plantation which includes Blow Tarn, Rochard Crags and Rear Clouts.
Starting from a layby on the road east of Greenhow, opposite the entrance to Coldstones Quarry, I crossed the road to the quarry entrance to take a permissive path that runs around the outside of the unseen quarry. Passing a water tower I continued along the path to reach an access road which I soon left to take a path cutting across Greenhow Moss to Tewit Farm and then the Greenhow - Blubberhouses road.
Crossing the road I climbed over the gate opposite by some handily placed wooden steps built into the gate itself. Continuing on across Galloway Pasture I eventually left the path to try and access the right of way which is shown on the map as starting / ending at grid reference SE110632. Instead I found a wall defended by a separate barbed wire fence, carrying on north I eventually found a place to cross where the wall had crumbled. The small plantation near to where I crossed over is the one I can see from my office, close up its prominence is somewhat surprising.
Having given up on the right of way the next section was a pathless tramp across the moor gradually descending in to the upper reaches of the River Washburn. As I got closer I spotted a track climbing up the bank on the other side of the river so I made a beeline for this. This turned out to be a shooters track crossing the river, at this stage a mere trickle, by a small bridge. Having checked a more up-to-date map than my OS Explorer 298 map it looks like there is a good track leading from the road all the way to this bridge. Access to this track is just a bit further along the road to the right of way across Galloway Pasture so I could have enjoyed a much easier route than the one I had taken.
Having crossed the Washburn the track then followed the north bank of Tarn Gill passing a number of grouse butts. At the grouse butt labelled '6 5' I left the track to go in search of Rochard Crags. These turned out to be a long rash of boulders of modest height with views south to Little Pock Stones and Great Pock Stones. To the north I could also clearly see Blow Tarn and as this was my next objective I made a beeline for it across the moor.
I do like a nice moorland tarn and Blow Tarn, a source of the River Washburn, is a fine example and one which provides a nice foreground to a good view of Simon's Seat to the south-west. From the tarn I headed north-west heading for a summit that appears on the recently created list of 'Fours', English hills between 400-499m in height with a prominence of at least 30m. To reach it I had to cross a wire fence and hurdle a number of drainage ditches, these can be clearly seen when looking at an aerial view of the area on Google Maps.
On the hill list and on the Landranger map the summit is called High Crag but on the Explorer map it is also given the name Rear Clouts. Personally I prefer the latter name mainly on the grounds that it is unique to this hill whereas High Crag is not. The summit is marked by a small outcrop of gritstone while a short distance west there is a substantial crag separated by a wall. After taking the obligatory photo at the summit it was to this crag that I perched to eat my sandwiches and wait for the sun to begin setting.
On this occasion I didn't hang around until the sun had fully set as I wasn't familiar with the path leading back to Greenhow across Craven Moor. Still I hung around long enough to get some lovely shots of the outcrops bathed in the glow of late evening sunshine. Having crossed over to the north side of the wall I had a brief potter around some more of the outcrops before following the wall east to join the footpath leading back to Greenhow over Craven Moor. Pitted with mining shafts it would have been an interesting place to explore given more time. Half way across I came to what I assume is the ruin of an old mine building. Taking the most obvious path beyond I ended up on a track leading on to the road half a mile further west than I expected.
The walk concluded with an easy mile and a quarter of roadside walking to and through Greenhow village. Along the way the sun finally set behind Great Whernside and by the time I reached the car the moon was shining brightly in the fading light, a lovely end to another enjoyable outing, albeit one that I could have made easier if I'd known about that shooting track!