We set off from the village of West Scrafton and took a path that follows the bank of Lead Up Gill. Unfortunately, we joined it a short distance upstream of the Great Force waterfall. (It would have been good to see it. Had I paid more attention to the map before we set off, we would have!) We followed the winding course of the steep-sided gill across the peat moor for a mile or so. Sometimes, looking downstream, there were aerial views of Wensleydale and Leyburn or, upstream, of the crags on the edge of Carle Fell. Often, turns in the steep-sided stream cut off distant views of anywhere and we found ourselves in that rare situation (for England, at any rate) of seeing no obvious sign of human presence.
Finally the stream turned Southwards and the steep sides flattened out into a wide cwm, at the head of which stood Great Haw. We came to a tumbled-down drystone sheepfold, at which point we turned away from the stream and slogged over the rough, damp ground all the way to the top.
We stopped to rest for a few minutes on the heather dome of the summit before heading off towards Little Haw, a less prominent top. On the way we came across an exquisitely carved boundary stone. We came across another on the summit of Little Haw itself. Moors are more heavily managed than they often look as you walk over them. What looks wild at ground level can be seen from the air to be a patchwork of heather plots, all burnt back at different times. At this point, though, it's impossible not to be aware of the management of the moor - there are lines of recently built grouse butts and hard-core Land Rover tracks. We found ourselves stomping down one, back towards West Scrafton.
Just outside the village we met a man walking up the path towards us. He was the first person we'd seen all morning. On our previous walk, up Dead Man's Hill and over Carle Fell, we'd seen no-one. Walking over "the Whernsides" a few weeks ago I'm not sure - perhaps we passed a party of two on the way down? I can't remember clearly. These hills are as great to walk on as they are unfashionable - often the best kind.
|Carle Fell, Little Whernside and Whernside|
|Boundary stone close to Great Haw summit|
|Little Whernside from High Crag (Carle Fell)|
|Track to High Crag|
|Great Whernside summit|
Alan Rawsthorne features in a series on post-WWII British Composers.
Click on the link for more information or click on the British Composers label to read them all.