Settle to Malham with Rye Loaf Hill

7 01 2014

During winter 2012, while I was still trying to get walking normally again after my broken big toe, I decided to do an old walk from Settle to Malham I’d done years ago with a group from work. I’d done a lot of my recovery walks around Settle, mainly exploring the limestone area of Warrendale Knotts and its caves. While I’d been doing these, I’d had my eye on Rye Loaf Hill – a landmark which is in view from miles around – so decided to incorporate that into my walk.

Warrendale Knotts (all) from Stockdale

(click on photos to see full size/resolution – also, you’ll have to excuse the horizontal lines – despite all kinds of re-scanning with different orientations, the lines remained unfortunately)

The day in question was cold but sunny with lingering pockets of snow and, as my walk was to be a traverse, it was easiest if I persuaded my parents to visit Settle to drop me off and then Malham to pick me up again at the end. As they love going for drives and short walks in the Dales (not to mention frequenting the cafes there), they readily agreed. However, if a car and driver aren’t available, there are trains to Settle from Skipton and Dales buses from Malham back to Skipton (see links below).

If arriving by car, the best carpark to use is the first one as you enter Settle from the southern end. Straight above the carpark, a path heads off uphill and you can pick various routes from there to take you up the hill to the start of Stockdale Lane. You can either go straight up the road (a small lane, but this will mean breathing in noxious diesel fumes), or you can take a very quiet road to the right which eventually goes steeply uphill to Lambert Lane, or a footpath cuts off from that road to meet Lambert Lane (this passes an old reservoir). I generally take the footpath although it, and Lambert Lane, are usually rather muddy.

On the day in question I took the footpath and was soon joining Lambert Lane at the top of the hill for quarter of a mile or so to its end where it crosses the road to the start of Stockdale Lane. This is the point the Warrendale Knotts/Attermire Scar hills burst into view looking spectacularly peaky.

Warrendale Knotts from Water Feature

Stockdale Lane
Stockdale Lane

Warrendale Knotts Frontal Crags
Warrendale Knotts

Attermire Scar from Stockdale
Attermire Scar

Attermire & Warrendale
Warrendale & Attermire

After around 2 miles along Stockdale Lane, just after passing Stockdale Farm, there was a gateway through the drystone wall on the right which I should have taken but didn’t. It seemed too soon to turn off for Rye Loaf Hill and I really wanted to go up the long and obvious ridge coming down the left-hand side (north) of the hill so I continued alongside the wall looking for another gate. Unfortunately, there were no further gates through the wall so, just after a beck, I had to climb over (very naughty!) to reach the end of the ridge.

Ryeloaf Hill & Copse

Ryeloaf Hill & Stockdale Farm
Rye Loaf Hill & Stockdale Farm

Ryeloaf Hill

I started straight up the ridge which is wet, boggy and tufty and doesn’t have a path until near the summit where the faint path I should have taken from the gate appeared. There is little height gain however – about 300 feet of ascent from the beck – and I was soon at the top. From the summit a lovely ridge heads south-west back to the road and I would have loved to have walked it sometime but it is blocked from the summit by another substantial wall with no stiles or gates – shame.

I followed the path back down the hill all the way and found that, after a steep descent down the grassy hillside, it continued back to the gate I should have come through for the ascent. Still, at least I’d done a ‘round’ of the hill and not just a straight up-and-back…

I rejoined Stockdale Lane which winds uphill briefly and in another mile crosses through a wall with a gate. I had a real struggle to open the gate as I had to pull quite hard on the lever to open it and the whole gateway was thick ice so I couldn’t keep my feet still!

As soon as I started descending from the gate, Malham Cove came into view. In less than a mile I’d joined the road coming up from Malham – if you didn’t want to visit the cove you could descend here but I wouldn’t recommend it as the Cove is spectacular and a must-see.

First Sight of Malham Cove

Malham Cove from road to Tarn

There was another gate more or less opposite where my track came out so I went through that. I could see a path headed hard left uphill but that took me away from the cove so I tried to see if I could get a route straight across towards the cove. After looking around the wall at the far side of the field, I could see there wasn’t a way and that I needed to go back up to the original path I’d seen.

I followed the small path until it crossed through a wall and soon after met a track going right heading for the top of Malham Cove. As it was a sunny day, the place was swarming with folk!

I crossed a small section of the limestone pavement atop the Cove and took the main path heading back down to Malham village on the near side of the Cove. This heads steeply down stone-pitching to just below the Cove where you can watch the climbers – it’s quite rare not to see any on a dry day…

Malham Cove

Malham Cove from Malham

From the cove there is a good path leads back to the village in less than a mile where I then had to try to locate my parents’ car. I must have walked right through the village from end to end several times and checked the various carparks and side roads but, although they were there, I missed them as they were doing the same but in the car! By the time I’d added a couple of miles onto my walk (the original walk from Settle to Malham had been 7 miles), I decided to stay put alongside the main road and just watch for them. After around half an hour, we finally spotted each other and adjourned to the cafe at Airton (less busy) for toasted teacakes and a hot drink.

Link to Leeds-Skipton-Settle-Carlisle train times:
here

Link to Dales bus website:
here

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22 responses

13 01 2014
Dina

Great post, very enjoyable reading! I have never been to Scotland, but hope to change this in 2014. 🙂
Greetings from the North (of Norfolk)
Dina

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14 01 2014
mountaincoward

Hi Dina – you live in my parents favourite area – the amount of time they’ve spent on The Broads sailing must be phenomenal. I don’t get down South very often nowadays though so it’s many years since I’ve seen Norfolk…

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9 01 2014
chrissiedixie

I am rather partial to linear routes. That was almost a reverse of a route Tilly and I did last year, when we backpacked from Skipton to Settle, spending a night at Goredale Scar campsite. I do like it round there, even though limestone is horrendously slippery when it’s wet!
Looked like a gorgeous day, too, with all the little bits of snow sparkling in the sunshine 🙂

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9 01 2014
mountaincoward

Limestone has to be the worst rock to encounter in the wet! Even worse than slate I think.

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8 01 2014
Scotlands Mountains

I`m with Bob on that…it looks brilliant ! Never even heard of Rye Loaf Hill !
Must make a visit again 🙂

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8 01 2014
mountaincoward

Well Rye Loaf Hill isn’t that spectacular I suppose but it is a landmark from miles around and a pleasant addition. The walk from Settle to Malham is great though and there’s another route parallel to it to come back on if you can’t do it as a traverse…

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8 01 2014
bob

That looks a cracking walk Carol so I,m. glad you got it on a nice day. I’ve been to Malham Cove and Gordale Scar years ago and really like the feel of the area. Love to go back there sometime as I spent most of that trip crawling underground.

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8 01 2014
mountaincoward

Hi Bob, I’m determined to try caving this year – if it ever stops raining that is!
Carol.

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7 01 2014
McEff

I enjoyed that. I’ve just realised I’ve never been to Malham Cove. Looks like another one for the list.
Cheers, Alen

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7 01 2014
mountaincoward

If you go to see Malham Cove, you really need to visit Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss as well – see my other post:
https://mountaincowardadventures.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/yorkshire-dales-gordale-scar-to-malham-cove/
Carol.

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7 01 2014
Paul Shorrock

Great post Carol. I find it much more satisfying to walk from A to B rather than having to contrive a circular route – nice one 🙂

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7 01 2014
mountaincoward

I do too if it can be managed logistically…

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7 01 2014
daveq210

Lovely pics! I bet there would be some decent scrambling/climbing to be had round the butresses and outcrops there. I might take a trip dpwn and see!

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7 01 2014
mountaincoward

If you’re an experienced climber give me a shout – I’m just dying for someone to take me up the frontal crags of Warrendale Knotts (more detailed views of those in my other post – there’s a link to that post and its more detailed photos if you hover over ‘Warrendale Knotts and its caves’ in the first paragraph of this report).

There are basically 3 small crag bands I’ve been eyeing up for ages but am a beginner and have no partner to climb with. The lower crag band is about 25-30 feet and has a great arete-type corner, the middle crag band looks to be liberally dotted with potential climbs and is around 20 feet high with a nice, safe grassy shelf underneath it 🙂

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7 01 2014
daveq210

Unfortunately my climbing experience only extends as far as a few lead climbs. I wouldn’t have the knowledge or confidence to take someone else out with me. I am still learning!

Some day though with more experience, we an give it a shot. Why not?!

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7 01 2014
mountaincoward

Have a look at the photos in that post anyway – there’s some beaut crags up there and they look easy (not sure what the protection’s like)

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7 01 2014
smackedpentax

You can’t beat a good walk in the Dales…this was one of my favorites, but I haven’t been up Attermire and Victoria cave area for years…maybe it is time I went back. Excellent photos of The cove – much better than mine. It is just a superb area for walking, always interesting with the limestone geology.

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7 01 2014
mountaincoward

I think the photos of the cove came out well because it was such a lovely, clear and sunny winters day!

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7 01 2014
stravaigerjohn

Years since I’ve been to Malham etc.Lovely pictures too.

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7 01 2014
mountaincoward

I don’t get there often enough to say how local it is to me. I think it being so busy (with mainly non-walkers) puts me off a bit. I don’t mind areas crawling with walkers but am not too keen on the drive-along gawping out of the Range Rover-windows brigade!

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7 01 2014
fedupofuserids

Looks nice gentle walking country, my brother visits the area fairly often and always highly recommends it. I would love to visit Malham Cove.

Are the lines not caused by static on the photos affecting the EM fields of the scanner? Not sure about a solution, but I can remember setting a ‘de-gauss’ feature once – if that helps!

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7 01 2014
mountaincoward

The lines were just on the one film but couldn’t be seen on the prints. it was really weird. Just to prove a point though, I scanned them 90 degrees out and the lines then went vertically – like they weren’t on the prints but to do with the scanner. I’ve only had it happen on one film and at first thought I had dust on the scanner head (that’s what all the Google entries pointed to) but the subsequent films scanned no problem at all?!

So, you could be right with your suggestion that somehow those photos affect the scanning process. I’ll have to have a look around to see if I can find a de-gauss feature.

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