Thwaite Scars is a hill of modest altitude above the valley of Crummackdale and is home to the famous Norber Erratics.
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Although listed as Thwaite Scars on the Database of British Hills I have always thought of this hill as simply Norber. It is neither one of the highest, nor one of the the shapeliest fells in the Yorkshire Dales. It is however definitely one of the most interesting and definitely one of my favourites.
Norber is the spur that separates the valleys of Clapdale to the west and Crummackdale to the east. To the south the fell ends abruptly at Robin Proctor’s Scar while to the north it merges almost imperceptibly into the lower flanks of Simon Fell and the Sulber belt of limestone. This makes the hill a distant subsidary of Ingleborough to the north west.
The top of Norber is an extensive limestone plateau covered in some fine examples of limestone pavement, it is these that are perhaps more properly Thwaite Scars. There are numerous cairns dotted about the summit area with at least three of the larger cairns laying claim to be the highest point of the fell. A particularly fine limestone feature is Robin Proctor’s Scar, in my opinion one of the finest examples of its kind in the region.
While the limestone features of Norber are of sufficient interest in themselves to make a visit worthwhile it is the presence of another type of rock that is the chief glory of Norber. On an otherwise unexceptional field on the south-eastern flank of the fell are to be found the famous Norber Erratics. These are basically dark Silurian boulders that were carried by a glacier at some point during the Ice Age from further up the valley and deposited on the limestone area that they sit today.
The resulting boulderfield is a fascinating place to explore. The finest examples of the erratics are the solitary boulders that neatly rest on limestone plinths, the remnants of rock that has mostly weathered away. Some of the larger boulders also provide a welcome opportunity to engage in a bit of easy scrambling.
My first visit to Norber was in November 2004 in poor visibility and some early snow on the ground. The fact that there was so much of interest about the fell geologically meant that even in poor weather it was still an enjoyable experience. It was not until my third visit however that I experience really good weather on Norber and so was also able to appreciate the views from the summit. The erratics are a fascinating feature and all in all I think Norber is one of those places that you cannot tire of visiting.