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Looking East over Flasby village to the ridge of Flasby Fell
Looking East over Flasby village to the ridge of Flasby Fell

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Route No. 460 - Wednesday 21 March 2012
Stirton, Canal towpath, Flasby, Flasby Fell,
Rough Haw, Sharp Haw circuit - 11km
Yorkshire Dales . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas


The peaks of Sharp Haw (left) & Rough Haw (right) seen from our parking spot
The peaks of Sharp Haw (left) & Rough Haw (right) seen from our parking spot

Embsay and Eastby crags seen from the road
Embsay and Eastby crags seen from the road

Ancient stone barn in Stirton
Ancient stone barn in Stirton

We parked here and looking to the northwest we could see the tops of two little peaks called Rough Haw and Sharp Haw on the ridge of Flasby Fell. All being well we should return to this parking spot later in the day coming over these two peaks.

Quite a grey overcast day today but at least it stayed dry. My friend, Jim, and I drove to the Skipton by-pass and took the B6265 off the by-pass past the Craven Heifer pub to a minor road on the left towards the village of Stirton. After about 300m along this minor road there is a sharp left hand bend with room to park off the road on the outside of the bend at map ref. SD974440.

Just room to get by this huge tractor & slurry tank
Just room to get by this huge tractor & slurry tank

The road through Stirton
The road through Stirton

The road through Stirton
The road through Stirton

Road junction in Stirton
Road junction in Stirton

Swing bridge over the canal
Swing bridge over the canal

On the other side of the road there is an access track to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal about 100m away. It seemed that redevelopment of the derelict buildings by the canal was underway, so I hope it remains possible to use this track. The track leads to a swingbridge over the canal and we crossed the bridge to reach the canal tow path on the other side.

We set off along the road and followed it down the hillside through Stirton and through Thorlby to the A65 at map ref. SD961528. The A65 is a very busy route and we had to stand by the road and wait for several minutes before there was a suitable gap in the traffic for us to cross.

Delapidated 'Tin Tabernacle' in Stirton
Dilapidated'Tin Tabernacle' in Stirton

Waiting to cross the A65 near Thorlby
Waiting to cross the A65 near Thorlby

The canal seen from the swing bridge
The canal seen from the swing bridge

Tow path by the Leeds & Liverpool canal between Skipton & Gargrave
Tow path by the Leeds & Liverpool canal between Skipton & Gargrave

Swans feeding on the Leeds & Liverpool canal
Swans feeding on the Leeds & Liverpool canal

Almost every field had its quota of young lambs
Almost every field had its quota of young lambs

One of the narrow boats that passed us
One of the narrow boats that passed us

Free range poultry by the canal
Free range poultry by the canal

A couple of narrow boats passed us as we walked along the tow path and after a little over 2km we passed under the A65 and came to the canal lock by Holme House farm.

We turned right to walk along the tow path towards Gargrave. The lambing season is well underway and almost every field had its quota of ewes and young lambs. There were swans feeding on the canal and it was all very pleasant.

One of the narrow boats that passed us
One of the narrow boats that passed us

Swing bridge being opened
Swing bridge being opened

Almost every field had its quota of young lambs
Almost every field had its quota of young lambs

Cattle in the yard at Holme House farm seen from the canal lock
Cattle in the yard at Holme House farm seen from the canal lock

Canal overflow channel by the blue boat
Canal overflow channel by the blue boat - the path drops down to the fields just beyond the second boat

The lock by Home House farm
The lock by Home House farm

Swan approaching hoping to be fed
Swan approaching hoping to be fed

Path across the fields towards Eshton Hall
Path across the fields towards Eshton Hall

As soon as we had crossed Eshton Beck the path dropped down the canal embankment to a stile into the field below. We followed this path across the fields for about 1km to a road at map ref. SD938556.

We crossed the canal at the lock on a little footbridge and followed a public footpath along the far bank. We continued for about 150m to the point where Eshton Beck crosses under the canal.

Canal overflow channel
Canal overflow channel

The path down the embankment to the fields
The path down the embankment to the fields

Ancient ash tree by the path
Ancient ash tree by the path

Flasby Fell seen from the path across the fields near the canal
Flasby Fell seen from the path across the fields near the canal

Looking along Eshton Beck to Eshton Hall
Looking along Eshton Beck to Eshton Hall

Leaving the road on the path to Flasby
Leaving the road on the path to Flasby

Heading across the fields to Flasby
Heading across the fields to Flasby

Here we turned off the road onto a public footpath through the grounds of Flasby Hall. The path followed the field boundaries above the hall and then beyond the hall the path turned right down the hillside to an access road on the edge of Flasby village.

We turned right to follow the road past Eshton Hall in its parkland to our left. At Eshton Bridge there was a pleasant view along Eshton Beck to the hall. From the bridge we continued along the road for another 100m to map ref. SD941560.

Looking downstream from Eshton Bridge
Looking downstream from Eshton Bridge

Heading across the fields to Flasby
Heading across the fields to Flasby

Joining the access track into Flasby
Joining the access track into Flasby

Flasby Fell seen from the path down into Flasby village
Flasby Fell seen from the path down into Flasby village

The access road into Flasby village
The access road into Flasby village

Start of the path up to Flasby Fell
Start of the path up to Flasby Fell

Following the track up to Flasby Fell
Following the track up to Flasby Fell

Following the track up to Flasby Fell
Following the track up to Flasby Fell

We followed this track away from the village towards Flasby Fell. The track climbed steadily up across pasture land to map ref. SD953564. Here we went through the gate into an area of open access land.

We walked along the access road into the village and followed a track across Flasby Beck to pass through a gate to a track climbing up the hillside.

Looking back into Flasby village
Looking back into Flasby village

Following the track up to Flasby Fell
Following the track up to Flasby Fell

The gate on to the open access land of Flaby Fell
The gate on to the open access land of Flasby Fell

Climbing up Flasby Fell towards Rough Haw
Climbing up Flasby Fell towards Rough Haw

Climbing up Flasby Fell towards Rough Haw
Climbing up Flasby Fell towards Rough Haw

It was a steep climb over rough ground and Jim was sitting waiting for me as I puffed my way to the top. The top is marked by a large cairn which I was certainly glad to reach. We sat here for a few minutes for a drink and to admire the view

The open access land was much steeper rough land with patches of bracken, a few trees, boulders and rocky outcrops. We we veered away from the public bridleway that crosses the fell and followed a feint path up onto the top of Rough Haw.

Climbing up Flasby Fell towards Rough Haw
Climbing up Flasby Fell towards Rough Haw

Looking across to Sharp Haw from the top of Rough Haw
Looking across to Sharp Haw from the top of Rough Haw

Cairn on the top of Rough Haw
Cairn on the top of Rough Haw

Looking back to the top of Rough Haw
Looking back to the top of Rough Haw

Looking back to Rough Haw from Sharp Haw
Looking back to Rough Haw from Sharp Haw

We crossed the public bridleway at the bottom and then climbed up the gentler slope of Sharp Haw, just a little higher than Rough Haw. At last we reached the trig point at the top at 357m and paused to take in the scenery.

After the effort of getting up here it seemed a shame to leave the top too soon, but after a while we made our way down the steep boulder strewn slope.

Descending from Rough Haw
Descending from Rough Haw

Approaching the top of Sharp Haw
Approaching the top of Sharp Haw

Trig point on the top of Sharp Haw
Trig point on the top of Sharp Haw

Leaving the top of Sharp Haw
Leaving the top of Sharp Haw

The bridleway off Flasby Moor back to the car
The bridleway off Flasby Moor back to the car

The whole route was about 11km and it took us almost 5 hours to walk including our many stops for photos, lunch etc.

From the trig point we made our way along the well walked path down to the public bridleway and along a farm track back to our parking spot at the road and the end of our walk.

Looking back to the top of Sharp Haw
Looking back to the top of Sharp Haw

Farm track back to the car
Farm track back to the car

Arriving back at our parking spot at a bend in the road
Arriving back at our parking spot at a bend in the road

Background Notes:
This walk is an 11km circuit, that's about 7 miles, along the Leeds & Liverpool canal near Gargrave and then a climb over the peaks of Flasby Fell. We start near the village of Stirton at a bend in a minor road where you can park a few cars off the road. We begin by following the road down hill through the village where there's an impressive stone barn on the left as you enter the village and a little further on there's another 'Tin Tabernacle', one of the prefabricated corrugated iron churches developed in the mid 1800's. This one's a bit dilapidated and no longer in use. We continue through the adjoining village of Thorlby and cross the main road, the A65, to the canal. It's a very pleasant walk along the canal tow path for about 2.5km to a lock next to the A65. It's easy to forget the careful engineering that went into the building of the canal. It's an entirely man-made watercourse, so where does the water come from and how does the water stay at a constant level when every time a lock is used about 300 cubic metres of water, that's over 50,000 gallons has to flow along the canal? Well part of the answer is just beyond the lock where there is one of the many overflow channels along the canal that spills excess water into a local beck to prevent the canal level rising. Not so obvious, because it can't be seen from here, is the Winterburn Reservoir 6km due north that provides water to top up the canal level via the Greenberfield pipeline that goes to a high point on the canal on the northern edge of Barnoldswick. So what we see as the canal from the tow path with its swing bridges and locks is only part of the story. There are other major engineering works to provide a constant supply of water and to keep the level steady. Just beyond the A65 we leave to canal and walk across the fields to the road by Eshton Hall set in attractive parkland. It was the family seat of the Wilson family for several centuries until it was sold for use as a boarding school in the mid 1900's. It's now been revamped into appartments. We continue across the fields to the village of Flasby. From the village we begin the climb up on to Flasby Fell. It's a climb of around 200m, almost 700 feet from Flasby village. The fell has two prominent peaks called Rough Haw and Sharp Haw, pronounced locally as 'Roughaw' & 'Sharpaw'. It's a steep climb but well worth the effort. Flasby Fell stands on it's own and even though the surrounding hill tops are higher you feel to be on top of the world as you stand on these isolated peaks. There's a large cairn on top of Roughaw and a trig point on top of Sharpaw. On a clear day you can see Pendle Hill, remember the witches, about 20km to the south west and the Yorkshire three peaks about 20km to the north west. From the peaks of Flasby Fell we follow the path across the fields for about 2km to the south east back to our parking spot at the road and the end of our walk.

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