Almscliff Crag, or Great Almscliff Crag as it is also sometimes known, is one of the major landmarks of the lower Wharfedale valley.
The crag was formed by the weathering and gradual erosion of softer gritstone surrounding the rocks we see today. It is classed as one of the finest examples of a tor in the Pennines and as such it is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Situated above the village of Huby and just to the west of North Rigton it is easily accessible, especially as there is plenty of roadside parking space below the crag. Be warned though, this is a very popular spot and the parking spaces can quickly fill up.
One of the reasons for the crag’s popularity is that it is regarded as one of the finest locations for climbing in Yorkshire. Indeed the UK Climbing website lists no fewer 545 climing and bouldering routes on the crag. These include such brilliantly named routes as ‘The Wall of Horrors’, ‘Knee Biter’, ‘Fungus the Bogeyman’ and ‘Frightening Territory’.
While it can be fun to visit Arnscliff Crag just to watch the climbers in action the crags are also easily accessible to walkers. Indeed they make a great picnic spot with grandstand views looking west up lower Wharfedale towards Otley’s Chevin and Ilkley Moor.
For trig point enthusiasts Almscliff Crag is also notable for being the location of a large Ordnance Survey bolt which can easily be found on the highest rocks.
Almscliff Crag is one of those places I’ve been going back to since childhood. As well as going there on family trips out it was somewhere I visited with my friends as a teenager. Indeed it was the location for a band photo shoot during my brief stint as bass guitar player. More recently I’ve relived earlier memories by taking my daughter there, the first time when she was just two years old.