An enjoyable evening walk on to Sharp Haw, the summit of Flasby Fell, made somewhat longer than expected due to forestry works.
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For my first post-work evening walk of the year I thought I’d drive over to Skipton for a walk up on to Sharp Haw, the highest of several tops on Flasby Fell. The walk ended up being a lot longer than I’d planned and it was a rush to get back to the car before it got dark. More of that later.
On my last couple of visits to Flasby Fell I’d parked at a corner of Bog Lane. This saves some time but there is not much space and it only takes 2 or 3 cars to take all the spaces. For that reason I decided to park up at a large layby just north of Skipton just east of the roundabout where the A65 meets the B6265.
"Unfortunately the area was being cleared by forestry works. The path from the bench had been almost completely obliterated."
A short distance to the east of the layby a signed path, a section of the Dales High Way, led me up a pasture and then on to the manicured grounds of Skipton gold course. Keeping a careful eye and ear out for any incoming golf balls I crossed the golf course to gain a track leading to the Brackenley Lane. All along this section were good views of Crookrise Crag and Embsay Crag.
Turning left on Brackenley Lane I soon came to the B6265 Grassington Road. Crossing straight over I continued following the route of the Dales High Way through a couple of pastures to reach Bogs Lane. I’d be returning to this spot on the return back but for now I left the Dales High Way to turn left and walk towards Tarn House. After descending the road a short way I then took a signed path on the right. This contoured pleasantly across pastures with good views of Pinhaw Beacon, Weets Hill and Pendle Hill.
After crossing the upper reaches of Woomber Beck I reached some plantations. The initial section of the path in the plantations didn’t quite follow as marked on the map. Instead it turned south-west a short way before contouring round to meet a good track. Once on the track it was a fine march along the flanks of Flasby Fell. With large sections of the woods having been cleared the views were quite open looking out towards Gargrave.
My plan had been to walk as far as a memorial bench at SD953555 and then take the track leading up to the open fell at SD955553. Unfortunately the area was being cleared by forestry works. The path from the bench had been almost completely obliterated. I might still have been able to follow its course though if the forestry vehicles hadn’t created a four metre wide track which, having turned to mud, was now at least a foot deep. I didn’t want to risk it being any deeper so there was nothing for it but to take the long route round via Flasby itself.
Therefore I continued along the track to exit the woods and walk down to cross over Septeria Gill. I then took the track passing New Laithe and then on to the outskirts of the village. Without crossing Flasby Beck I turned right to regain the Dales High Way, this time heading in the opposite direction. Initially enclosed the path opened out on to some more pastures. Crossing diagonally proved to be harder than expected as the ground had been chewed up by cow feet. Luckily the cows themselves were some distance away.
Conscious of the limited daylight I pushed on as the bridleway climbed up above the upper reaches of Septeria Gill. The path wound its way up and around and was eroded in places. After passing below Rough Haw (no time to visit on this occasion) the path passed through a wall. Not far on the other side it split and I took the right hand option heading directly up to the top of Sharp Haw. It was now almost 8.30pm and the sun was on its way down.
I spent about 20 minutes taking pictures of the evening sun and of the late evening light on the likes of Great Whernside, Crookrise Crag and Cracoe Fell before deciding I really should head back. Fortunately the route back was very simple. From the summit I passed through a stile at the nearby wall and passing another memorial bench followed the Dales High Way all the way back to Bogs Lane. Along the way I was able to enjoy the sight of large groups of young lambs frolicking in the dying evening light.
Just as I stepped on to Bogs Lane I spotted a deer crossing the road only 20 metres away. By the time I got my camera out it had already leapt the nearby wall so the photo I did manage to get wasn’t a great one. Retracing my steps initially to Grassington Road I didn’t follow my outgoing route all the way back over the golf course. Instead I turned right along the road to reach the Craven Heifer. From there a thin wooded path shadowed the road until almost reaching the roundabout. To finish I kept to the grassy verge to finally reach the car having walked 8.5 miles, considerably longer than I had planned.