Icy clints and grykes at Mougton Scar

On Boxing Day we usually set off up the Dales to walk off Christmas Day.  This year I particularly wanted to go to Moughton Scar where there is a disused whetstone quarry and spectacular limestone pavements.  We set off from Horton In Ribblesdale, having parked near the station on the very scenic Settle Carlisle railway.

The drive up was rather edgy as the last few miles from Helwith Bridge follows the neautralised start of the Three Peaks Cyclo X race that I’ve competed in several times in the past:

Anyway, yesterday it was only our car to negotiate the S-bend in Horton, not 600 odd other cyclist.

Penyghent dominates Horton and looked particularly magnificent in the snow.

Up on top the limestone pavements worn into clints (limestone blocks separated by grykes (the long crevices between them).  This can be treacherous for  the walker, and even worse in snow.  I couldn’t help wondering why people do this type of silly thing that not only spoils the landscape, but could also mislead people into the middle of the clints and grykes thinking they are following waymarks:

All those sitting up stones have been manhandled into that position.

The pavement supports an endangered shrub which manages to survive in this very harsh environment, but is being propagated to increase its chances of survival

We got an unusual view of Ingleborough on the top

Then eventually we arrived at the edge of Crummackdale

We descended to the Whetstone Spring, which I was surprised to find unfrozen, but full of the beautiful whetstones for which it was once quarried:

I collected half a dozen suitable blanks  and then we retired to the ruined quarryman’s cottage for lunch

What a view there was:

That drystone wall, looks to me to have slipped down in parts, pushed by the scree, they are usually built in reasonably straight lines.

All in all a good walk in the snow

Acknowledgements: Robin Wood for alerting me to the existence of these whetstones, and Dan for his post of a similar (longer, warmer) walk.