An enjoyable ramble from Helwith Bridge climbing on to Moughton via Moughton Nab and returning along an attractive section of the Ribble Way.
|Parking:||Helwith Bridge, car park|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
Due to a combination of a poor weather forecast and social engagements I knew I wasn't going to be able to get out for my annual birthday walk this weekend so instead took the Friday off. It was not until the morning however when I finally decided where I was going to go - in the end I decided to visit Moughton, a favourite hill of mine.
Rather than take the usual approach via Austwick, Wharfe and Studrigg Scar I wanted to climb Moughton from the Ribblesdale side. A footpath climbing up alongside Dry Rigg Quarry and terminating just below Moughton Nab looked promising so I plotted a route starting from Helwith Bridge, a small village just off the road between Settle and Horton.
"Above Moughton Nab was Moughton Scar, a mere taster of the limestone delights to come over the next couple of miles."
Starting at the sizeable car park and picnic area in Helwith Bridge I first decided to go and have a look at Helwith Bridge Quarry. Unlike some of the other quarries nearby Helwith Bridge Quarry is no longer in use and is now a popular venue for trout fishing. There were no fishermen when I arrived but there was a friendly old chap in a small hut selling wood who kindly showed me how to get to a path leading up to a ruined barn at the top of the quarry.
Having taken a look down into the quarry from the barn, I dropped down to the road which I followed a short way to the left before taking the footpath leading up alongside Dry Rigg Quarry. Although a huge scar on the landscape the views down into the quarry were really quite spectacular. The finest view was from the top of the steep pull up to the foot of Moughton Nab where a bench is handily placed for walkers wanting to catch their breath.
At first glance the limestone scar of Moughton Nab looks impenetrable to the average walker but alongside the wall to the north there was a narrow notch which provided an easy route up. Above Moughton Nab was Moughton Scar, a mere taster of the limestone delights to come over the next couple of miles.
After passing Moughton Scar there was a largely pathless ramble across grass to reach the eastern end of the aptly named Long Scar. Above Long Scar patchy limestone pavement finally led me to the waiting cairn and trig point on the summit of Moughton. Dominating the view were Pen-y-Ghent to the north-east and Ingleborough to the north-west, the latter still holding quite a bit of the snow that had fallen earlier in the week.
Once I'd had my fill of drinking in the views I set off northwards to pass the delightful miniature juniper forest and then on to some more superb limestone pavements. Finally, having reached the 'edge' path, I walked up to the cairn on the impressive Moughton Scars where I stopped for some lunch and to enjoy the full length views of Crummackdale.
Having finished my lunch I took the path heading east to a wall to climb a stile giving access to part of the Ingleborough National Nature Reserve. Following the wall north I eventually reached the popular path from Ingleborough to Horton just below Sulber Nick. I've only ever trodden this path in the final stages of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge so it was nice to be able to enjoy it without my legs aching badly.
Having reached Horton the walk concluded with a nice two mile section tracing the River Ribble downstream back to Helwith Bridge on the Ribble Way. It was a lovely end to what had been a very enjoyable walk.