A Winters Walk from Embsay - Sun 20th Dec 2009  
    Area: Skipton, Yorkshire Dales  -  Distance: 14km / 8.7miles  -  Total Ascent: 550metres / 1804ft.  
    This is a great winters walk on fairly good tracks with lots of interest and varied terrain.
The walk starts from the parking area at Embsay - Grid Ref. SE 009 538 - Following the edge of Embsay Moor from Embsay Crag to Crookrise Crag Top then crossing Waterfall Gill before picking up a track running east from High Bark across Embsay Moor to Hutchen Gill. We then follow the grouse butts down to Eastby Gate and finally Eastby before joining the road back to the parking area.
  The early morning sun casts a warm glow on Embsay Crag as we look across the fields from the start of our walk.  
  Entering the field next to the car park we pass through this stile situated at the top corner and follow the path by the allotments before passing through another stile leading out into an open field.  
  We cross the field to the opposite corner and join the road leading up past the church.  
  Although St Marys Church was built in 1853 the history of a church in Embsay can be traced back to the year 867AD. when it is thought that there was a Celtic Monastery here.  
    St Marys Church  
  We round the bend at the top of the road then after about 100yds turn left at the 4x4 sign and follow the track northtowards the open fell.

Eventually we pass through a gate at the end of the track and make our way up through a field to another gate leading out onto the open fell.
    Looking back down the track after passing through the gate  
  The sun was trying in vain to break through the snow laiden clouds as they came rolling in towards us.  
  By the time we reached the top of Embsay Crag we were amidst a howling blizzard!

We didn't waste any time on the summit and quickly descended towards the reservoir via Witshaw Bank, the blizzard soon abated and we were bathed in warm sunshine again.

Following the wall past the reservoir we reach a stile near Crag Nook - we do not cross but keep to the right staying on the access land and climbing to the right of the wall.
  Pretty soon we had climbed the bank above Crag Nook.

The view back to Embsay Reservoir and Crag
  Embsay Crag 371m / 1271ft

  Looking west towards Skipton with Carlton Moor behind
  After following the wall north eastfor about half a kilometer we cross a stile, this picture shows the view looking south  east along the top of Crookrise Crag.
Turning around and keeping the wall on our right we now follow a path (if you can find it amongst the snow drifts) along the top of the crags.
  The snow was falling again as we picked our way through the rocks until we reached our goal:-  
  Crookrise Crag top 415m / 1361ft

Crossing the wall via the nearby stile we head down through boggy ground to cross Waterfall Gill and join the path at High Bark heading east across Embsay Moor.
  These normally good tracks are almost obliterated in the white out of winter here!
  We follow the track east then south east for about 4km until we reach Hutchen Gill Head. We now head south following the grouse butts down to Eastby Gate and a further kilometer brings us back to the small hamlet of Eastby.
  This photo was taken just past Eastby Gate. The sheep seemed to enjoy posing for the camera and I had their full attention until they realised that I wasn't the farmer bringing them dinner!

A short walk from Eastby brings us back to the car park at Embsay and the end of a very enjoyable winters walk.