A nice, if somewhat cloudy walk, from Rylstone up on to Cracoe Fell via the Rylstone Cross before returning via Fell Lane and Chapel Lane.
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Back in April I took the walking group from work out for a walk on Barden Moor. The highest point of the walk was Cracoe Fell and, just as we arrived, we were hit by a torrential thundery downpour. Not only did we get soaked to the skin within minutes, but we also missed out on the superb views between the war memorial and the Rylstone Cross.
As memorable as that walk was, for the downpour if nothing else, I was disappointed my friends hadn't been able to fully appreciate the views on offer. This much shorter route was therefore supposed to be an opportunity for them to go back and see what they had missed.
"Climbing up on to Watt Crag we were treated to a sudden gap in the clouds that revealed a small section of Threshfield Moor."
Unfortunately the weather had other ideas. Although we drove through a few sunny patches on the way to Rylstone there was also a lot of low cloud about. The sunshine was just about hanging on when we parked at the layby on the road bend in Rylstone, just past the junction with the Hetton road. However, by the time we'd got half way up the bridleway climbing on to Sun Moor the cloud was beginning to close in quickly.
By the time we made it on to Sun Moor Hill visibility was severely limited. After passing through a gate we took a thinner path heading north over High Bark. One noticeable aspect of this part of the walk was the number of red grouse quite happily sat out in the open. Perhaps it was because visibility was so poor they felt safe from predators.
The path led easily on to the stile giving access to the Rylstone Cross. Ironically, given that I was bringing them back to see the view they missed in April, visibility was probably even worse this time. One blessing though was that at least this time we were dry!
In good weather there is an enjoyable route over the crags of Rylstone Edge. It was too icy and foggy to attempt that route so we crossed back over the stile to regain the main path. Turning left it was a steady mile to another stile. Crossing over this we reached the war memorial on Watt Crag, the summit of Cracoe Fell.
Climbing up on to Watt Crag we were treated to a sudden gap in the clouds that revealed a small section of Threshfield Moor. Briefly it seemed that we were between two levels of cloud, that blanketing the valley floor below us and the cloud in the sky above.
Without recrossing the stile a thin path led us north-east from the obelisk. This gradually dropped down as a sunken way. At a much steeper slope the path descended alongside the sunken section. At the bottom of the steeper section we were able to look back and watch the cloud caressing the flanks of Cracoe Fell.
Crossing over a marshy section we reached a wall at the head of the track from Cracoe called Fell Lane. At the head of the track there were also a row of narrow wooden gates leading into a series of sheep pens. It was a photo opportunity too good to miss.
After having our lunch by the sheep pens we dropped down the enclosed Fell Lane to reach Cracoe. Without following the track all the way to the main road we turned left along Back Lane. This quiet lane took us to the western end of the village and the start of another track, Chapel Lane. This in turn led us all the way back to St Peter's Church and finally Rylstone itself.
While it was a shame that most of the views were once again obscured we all enjoyed the walk. It is always nice to get out with a good group of people. Indeed, it makes a nice change from some of my more solitary wanderings. I'm sure they will all be happy to go back another time and hopefully make it third time lucky!