A pleasant lower level walk from the village of Cracoe to Linton via Swinden Lane and Moor Lane and returning via Garrows Lane and Threapland.
|Parking:||Town End, Cracoe|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
Having decided to go for a walk after work I wanted to head out somewhere new. Due to time restrictions I couldn't venture too far from my hometown of Harrogate so I came up with a number of options in the Wharfedale / Malhamdale area. Pretty much at the last minute I plumped on this route, a fairly low level ramble on paths and tracks connecting the villages of Cracoe and Linton. Somewhat surprisingly I'd never actually visited the latter.
I managed to park the car at the road junction between Hetton and Cracoe, there being room to park a few cars near the small row of houses on the junction. This was also handily placed for Swinden Lane, the bridleway leaving Cracoe. It took me sometime to make my way down the first section of this enclosed track as I had to keep stopping in order to take photos of the various wildflowers at the side of the track.
"Leaving Linton by the enclosed Garrow Lane I had a nice surprise when a hare blithely hopped towards me from the opposite direction."
After passing below the railway line, once part of the Skipton - Grassington line and which now serves Swinden Quarry, the track executed a number of ninety degree turns. Along the way it passed a few meadows that were putting on a quite spectacular display of buttercups dotted with the odd red clover. Eventually, turning into a grassy path, the track climbed up beyond the barn at New Laithe and on to some green pastures and more abandoned barns and sheep folds. The path became less clear at this stage as it made its way around the western perimeter of Swinden Quarry. The quarry must have expanded somewhat in the last 30-40 years as the trig point which once stood on Swinden hill has been quarried away.
After dropping down to ford Eller Beck the path improved and soon after joined the top end of Moor Lane, this led me gently down to Tarns Lane, the road road between Cracoe and Threshfield. Crossing straight over I joined an initially unpromising looking path climbing up through the trees. This path, a bridleway, soon widened out for a pleasant three quarters of a mile walk into Linton. The main point of interest on this stretch was when the track crossed over a dismantled section of the old Skipton - Grassington railway line. As with so many other lines it was a victim of the Beeching Cuts in the 1960s.
Linton was once voted the most beautiful village in the north, a fact proudly engraved on a sculpture on the village green. With its stream passing through the centre of the village and its two bridges it is indeed a lovely place. Sadly for my photos this was the point in the evening when I said goodbye to the sun as a covering of cloud moved over from the west.
Leaving Linton by the enclosed Garrow Lane I had a nice surprise when a hare blithely hopped towards me from the opposite direction. It actually came within five metres of me before it finally realised I was there. Sadly I was too surprised to get a decent close up picture.
After reaching the end of Garrow Lane the way became less clear for a while as I passed through a number of sheep pastures. Eventually I reached the ditch like Mires Beck and then Crook Beck. Crossing over the latter I climbed another pasture to reach the Threaplands House caravan and campsite. Passing through this I reached Thorpe Lane. Turning right on this it was then a simple walk back into Cracoe as the light began to fade.
Over the years I've generally tended to head up on to the hills when walking in the Dales, this particular walk was a rare exception. Usually on low level walks at this time of year there is a high chance of coming across cows but on this occasion I was lucky and the entire walk was bovine free. In fact I enjoyed it rather more than I thought I might, the sheer profusion of wildflowers, and especially the fields of buttercups were quite wonderful. The close encounter with the hare on Garrow Lane is also something I won't forget for a long time.