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Crummack Dale and Norber Erratics
Statistics:
Map of the walk
Start:
Austwick village
Start (OS ref):
SD768686
Map (1:25,000):
Parking:
Roadside parking in the village
Distance:
8.2 miles (13.2 km)
Time:
2 - 3 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate
Climbing:
262 metres
Hazards:
None
Refreshments:
Austwick village
Route Map:
Summary:
I have walked many places in the Yorkshire Dales but this one is most definitely one of my favourites. The walk is very special to me for it includes an excursion into the Norber Erratics. This is a wonderful place where Silurian Sandstone boulders stand atop younger limestone. They are an incredible spectacle. From the Erratics the walk continues to Crummack Dale with views of the weird Moughton Scar where red and green whetstone lay completely flat creating the most eerie sight. To complete this super walk the finale is a drop into Crummack Dale and a lovely amble back to Wharfe before returning the Austwick.

elevation profile

The Story of the Walk:

The first views of the Norber Erratics
A 430 million year old Norber Erratic
The first views of the Norber Erratics
A 430 million year old Norber Erratic

The walk started at Austwick and it was a beautiful day. There could not be better conditions for this leisurely and interesting walk through time for as I walked up the road out of the village I anticipated the joys of walking around the Norber Erratics (point B on map). After a half mile walking I was climbing up the side of Proctor Scar and onto the level where the best of the Norber Erratics is to be enjoyed. The Silurian greywacke 'erratic' sandstones  of the Ordovician Age are some 430 million years old and they cover the area. They are called erratics because they are not in their proper geological position. They sit resplendent on top of carboniferous limestone some 100 million years younger having been lifted up through the more soluble limestone by glacial shifts. It is easy to tell them apart from the clear difference in colour. The sandstone is covered in green lichen and the limestone in white lichen.

A Norber Erratic perched on younger limestone
The Norber Erratics are all over the place
A Norber Erratic perched on younger limestone
The Norber Erratics are all over the place

It's a breathtaking sight to behold and one I lingered in for ages as I wandered around the area above Proctor Scar and Nappa Scars. I had my lunch sat among the best of them and took it all in. As I sat I contemplated "This is the place for me". I left the erratics hesitantly. After the superlative Norber Erratics I walked north onto Thwaite Scars (point C) and had another super time. On Thwaite Scar the views are incredible. To the north west there is a clear view of magnificent Ingleborough with its distinct table top summit. due north are the limestone outcrops near Sulber Gate. Move the eyes to the east and Moughton Scar begins to beguile. Looking beyond them affords marvellous clear views of Penyghent. I was in ecstacy as I looked around the brilliant panorama. I danced over the limestone as I crossed the scar and then for a second time moved hesitantly on. I could have spent a day on this walk. As it was I had three hours to complete it as Lil and her mum were lunching in Settle. It was now approaching 2pm and I had promised to be back by three. Oh well, I'll be back very soon.

Approaching the top of Thwaite Scars
Eerie Moughton Scar with Penyghent beyond
Approaching the top of Thwaite Scars
Eerie Moughton Scar with Penyghent beyond

I walked on following the contours towards the head of Crummack Dale and Moughton Scar. This is another incredible place for Moughton Scar has a whetstone plateau that is covered in red and green and black. Its a fantastic sight to behold and I focused on it for as long as I could while looking to Penyghent in the distance until I descended into Crummack Dale (point D) and I could see it no more. I promised myself next time I will give myself more time and walk on the plateau of the scar itself. The walk through Crummack Dale is easy and pleasing on the eye. During the walk from Beggars Gate Stile to Crummack Farm the views of the scars enclosing the west and east sides are constant and often provide interesting features. After Crummack Farm a track is joined and after half a mile I cut off left at a fork (point E) that led me towards the hamlet of Wharfe.

Looking down on Crummack Dale
On the lane from Crummack Dale to Wharfe
Looking down on Crummack Dale
On the lane from Crummack Dale to Wharfe

This track to Wharfe is enclosed by walls but full of interesting views and after a few hundred yards a stream is crossed (point F). If it's a pleasant and sunny day there will be lots of families here enjoying the scenery and paddling in the stream. It was sunny and there were about 100 people enjoying themselves. After exchanging pleasantries with a few of the crowd I walked on and continued along the track as it narrowed to a single path on the descent into Wharfe (point G). After a few moments admiring the well structured stone dwellings of the hamlet I moved on once more and completed my journey. It was a fantastic journey and as I ambled back that last half mile I was already looking at the map and planning how best to making my thorough exploration of Moughton Scar.

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