A super walk from Kilnsey walking up on to Kilnsey Moor via Mastiles Lane before visiting the limestone delights of Malham Moor.
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One week on from a walk up on to Conistone Moor I was back at Conistone Bridge to head in the opposite direction for a walk on to Kilnsey Moor and Malham Moor, this time with my friend Tim from the Bowland Walks website. The route is one I'd first walked back in December 2006 and explores some of the lesser known hills between Wharfedale and Malhamdale whilst also featuring a superb section of Mastiles Lane, an historic route which has been in use since Roman times.
Initially the weather was quite overcast with a low cloud base covering the higher fells. When it started raining as we climbed up through Kilnsey and on to Mastiles Lane it didn't look promising at all, especially when the cloud dropped down to the summit of the lane. We could still enjoy though retrospective views of the enclosed track winding its way back down in to Wharfedale.
"Before reaching the Bordley itself we turned left at a large boulder to follow a path climbing up on to Malham Moor - a curious name for a height over three miles distant from Malham itself."
At the summit of the lane we carefully climbed over the wall for a short climb south on to the top of Holgates Kilnsey Moor. A pathless walk of a quarter of a mile over tussocky grass brought us to the trig point and, with perfect timing the skies began to clear. In fact I dashed back not once, but twice to the trig point as bursts of sunshine promised to light up the summit.
Eventually we returned back to Mastiles Lane, this time by descending to the north-west to a gate just near a junction of paths. At this point we left Mastiles Lane to take a less obvious path heading south. This gradually became firmer as it led on to the end of Malham Moor Road and the access road to the remote farming hamlet of Bordley.
Before reaching the Bordley itself we turned left at a large boulder to follow a path climbing up on to Malham Moor - a curious name for a height over three miles distant from Malham itself. While the path contours below the summit it is definitely worth a detour as the top is covered in especially fine examples of limestone pavement.
First we made our way to an outcrop above an old kiln for the photographic opportunities provided by a lone hawthorn tree on the limestone. After eating our lunch at this fantastic spot, where we enjoyed the views west over Malham country, we made our way across the limestone pavements to the unmarked highest point which was another limestone pavement just beyond a wall.
At the next wall we turned right to return to the path which brought us to another fine lime kiln and an old barn. Here we joined a bridleway which we followed for the next one and a half miles, a glorious stretch which in its latter stages included superb views of Wharfedale backed by the snow covered tops of Great Whernside and Buckden Pike.
Finally we returned to Mastiles Lane where we turned right to return to Kilnsey. Instead of retracing our steps all the way back we took advantage of a nice path dropping down to a stream on our right, passing along the way a field containing three alpacas. The highlight of this section was a delightful little slab bridge crossing the stream. All too soon we were brought back out on to the road just below Conistone Bridge.
All in all this was a super walk, our enjoyment of which was helped by the ever improving weather. Although the two detours on to the summits of Kilnsey Moor and Malham Moor can easily be ommitted they are both worth the effort, especially the latter for its fine limestone scenery. Highly recommended.