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Climbing up from Hanlith along Windy Pike Lane towards Weets Gate
Climbing up from Hanlith along Windy Pike Lane towards Weets Gate

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Route No. 589 - Thursday 20 August 2015
Airton, Pennine Way, Hanlith, Windy Pike Lane,
Weets Gate, Carlton circuit - 11km
Malhamdale, Yorkshire Dales . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas


 Setting off from the lay-by to follow the Pennine Way route along the River Aire to Hanlith
Setting off from the lay-by to follow the Pennine Way route along the River Aire to Hanlith

The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith
The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith

The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith
The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith

The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith
The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith

We headed northwards along the eastern bank of the River Aire. We followed the path across the fields by the river for a little over 2km to the road at Hanlith, map ref. SD 900 611, next to the bridge over the River Aire.

This morning my friend, Jim, and I drove out to the village of Airton in Malhamdale. We parked in a small informal lay-by next to the River Aire at map ref. SD 904 592. From our parking spot we followed the route of the Pennine Way.

The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith
The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith

The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith
The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith

The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith
The Pennine Way from Airton to Hanlith

Stile on to the road at Hanlith by the bridge over the River Aire
Stile on to the road at Hanlith by the bridge over the River Aire

Climbing up the hillside on the road through Hanlith
Climbing up the hillside on the road through Hanlith

we followed the road round the bend
. . . but we followed the road round the bend . . .

On the bend we left the Pennine Way route and followed the road around the bend to the right and continued to climb up the hillside. There was a view from the road across the River Aire valley to Kirkby Malham.

At the road we turned right and began a steep climb up the hillside following the road around a couple of tight hairpin bends. On one of these bends there was a stile where the Pennine Way route kept straight on.

The Pennine Way leaves the road at the bend ahead
The Pennine Way leaves the road at the bend ahead . . .

we followed the road round the bend
. . . we followed the road round the bend . . .

Looking back across the valley to Kirkby Malham
Looking back across the valley to Kirkby Malham

Approaching the end of the tarmac road
Approaching the end of the tarmac road

One of them was called "Top of Hanlith". Beyond the houses our route continued along a stony walled lane called "Windy Pike Lane".

After a few hundred metres we came to some houses where the tarmac road ended.

House at the
House at the "Top of Hanlith"

Continuing our route along Windy Pike Lane leaving Hanlith behind
Continuing our route along Windy Pike Lane leaving Hanlith behind

Malham Cove seen from Windy Pike Lane
Malham Cove seen from Windy Pike Lane

Climbing across the moor along Windy Pike Lane
Climbing across the moor along Windy Pike Lane

Continuing to climb along Windy Pike Lane
Continuing to climb along Windy Pike Lane

About 1km beyond the end of the tarmac road we reached a gate onto the open moor at map ref. SD 914 619.

It was a long steady climb along Windy Pike Lane and we had a lovely view from the lane out to Malham Cove and over to the entrance to Gordale Scar.

Gordale Scar seen from Windy Pike Lane
Gordale Scar seen from Windy Pike Lane

Meadow Brown butterfly beside the track
Meadow Brown butterfly beside the track


Harebells and Knapweed beside the track

The end of Windy Pike Lane and the start of the grassy path still climbing across the moor
The end of Windy Pike Lane and the start of the grassy path still climbing across the moor

Grassy path climbing up across the moor
Grassy path climbing up across the moor

Looking north to Cross Field Knotts at the mouth of Gordale Scar
Looking north to Cross Field Knotts at the mouth of Gordale Scar

We passed through the gate and followed the wooden finger posts to join the path up to Weets Gate.

The stony track ended at the gate and we continued along a grassy path still climbing up across the moor. About 1km from the end of the stony track the grassy path brought us to a wooden gate in a wall at map ref SD 923 628

Grassy path climbing up across the moor
Grassy path climbing up across the moor

Grassy path climbing up across the moor
Grassy path climbing up across the moor

The grassy path goes through the gate to join the bridleway up to Weets Gate
The grassy path goes through the gate to join the bridleway up to Weets Gate

Wooden finger post showing the way to Weets Gate
Wooden finger post showing the way to Weets Gate

Trig point by Weets Gate
Trig point by Weets Gate

Just through the gate on top of a bank standing in a wall corner is the Weets Cross or Weets Boundary Stone. This marks the junction of four parishes and dates from medieval times. The base is original but the shaft is a replacement. We sat on the plinth for a break and a drink.

After about 450m we came to Weets Gate at map ref. SD 925 631. At Weets Gate we turned right and walked about 30m to the trig point, just to say we'd been there. Then we returned to Weets Gate and went through the gate.

The bridleway heading for Weets Gate
The bridleway heading for Weets Gate

Weets Gate with Weets Cross in the wall corner beyond
Weets Gate with Weets Cross in the wall corner beyond

 Weets Cross where we stopped for our break
Weets Cross where we stopped for our break

The bridleway heading back down the moor towards Carlton
The bridleway heading back down the moor towards Carlton

Dalesbred lamb on the moor
Dalesbred lamb on the moor

Flasby Fell several kilometers to the south east
Flasby Fell several kilometers to the south east

As we followed the path gently descending from the moor there was the bulky shape of Pendle Hill ahead of us on the horizon. Away to our left was Flasby Fell with its twin peaks of Sharp Haw and Rough Haw.

After our break we retraced our steps for a few hundred metres and then continued along the bridleway, surfaced with gravel and running parallel to a dry stone wall heading generally south west down the moor towards the village of Carlton.

Swaledale ewe on the moor
Swaledale ewe on the moor

The bridleway heading back down the moor towards Carlton
The bridleway heading back down the moor towards Carlton

Pendle Hill about 20km to the south
Pendle Hill about 20km to the south

Leaving the open moor to follow the path across sheep pastures
Leaving the open moor to follow the path across sheep pastures

Mixed flock of hardy moorland sheep
Mixed flock of hardy moorland sheep

Path across sheep pastures heading for Carlton
Path across sheep pastures heading for Carlton

The stony lane heading into Carlton
The stony lane heading into Carlton

Here the descent gradually became steeper with a steep zig-zag path down to into Foss Gill, where we joined a stony lane leading us into Carlton Village.

After about 2.5km from Weets Gate we left the open moor and continued along the path through several fields of sheep pasture.

Path across sheep pastures heading for Carlton
Path across sheep pastures heading for Carlton

Start of the stony lane heading into Carlton
Start of the stony lane heading into Carlton

The stony lane heading into Carlton
The stony lane heading into Carlton

Entering Carlton village along the stony lane
Entering Carlton village along the stony lane

The road through Carlton village
The road through Carlton village

The road heading down to the River Aire
The road heading down to the River Aire

After the bend was a steep descent down to the road bridge over the River Aire where our car was parked at the end of our walk. The whole route had been 11km and it had taken us about four hours to walk including a leisurely break at Weets Cross.

At the tarmac road in the village (map ref. SD 909 593) we turned left to walk along the road through the village. About 150m beyond the edge of the village we came to a sharp right hand bend in the road.

The road through Carlton village
The road through Carlton village

Bridge over the River Aire at Airton
Bridge over the River Aire at Airton

Returning to the lay-by next to the River Aire at the end of our walk
Returning to the lay-by next to the River Aire at the end of our walk

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