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Yorkshire Dales Walks

Calton Moor & Foss Gill

Date: 21st November 2015
Distance: 7.5 miles
Ascent: 1030 feet
Time: 3 hours 40 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SD904592

Walk Summary:
A walk from Airton on to Calton Moor including a detour to view the waterfalls of Foss Gill.

Route Summary: Airton Bridge - Calton - Foss Gill - Calton Moor - Weets Top - Hanlith Moor - Windy Pike Lane - Hanlith - Pennine Way - Airton Bridge

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Looking back across the River Aire towards Airton
The bridleway sign in Calton pointing the way towards Weets Top
The tiny Iris's Bridge crossing over Foss Gill
To visit the waterfalls of Foss Gill leave the bridleway on a thin path passing the bench
The thin path dropping down into Foss Gill
The first waterfall that is encountered in Foss Gill
Another modest fall just below Calton Spout
The main waterfall in Foss Gill, called by some Calton Spout
The gate where I crossed the wall and stream to access the Calton trig point
By the Calton trig point
Looking across Malhamdale to a snow-topped Rye Loaf Hill
Cracoe Fell from the Calton trig po
Following the bridleway across Calton Moor towards Weets Top
By the trig point on Weets Top
The view north from Weets Top towards Parson's Pulpit
The old cross by Weets Gate
Looking down at the dramatic entrance to Gordale
Descending Windy Pike Lane
Looking across Hanlith to Kirkby Malham on the opposite side of the River Aire
The River Aire below Hanlith
Looking across a pond back towards Hanlith Hall
The River Aire between Airton and Hanlith
The foot of Foss Gill before it empties into the River Aire
Airton Bridge

Walk Detail:Although I'd long since bagged all the Nuttalls, Hewitts, Marilyns and Hewitts in the Yorkshire Dales National Park I still hadn't visited all the Ordnance Survey trig columns to be found in the National Park. The last trig point on my to-do list was the one on Calton Moor and on this walk I finally decided to go out and visit it.

Starting from Airton Bridge, where there is space to park a couple of cars either side of the bridge, I set off up the road as it climbed up the bank opposite Airton. A short way further along I walked through the tiny village of Calton. At the end of the village I took the bridleway signposted for Weets Top which quickly dropped down to cross Foss Gill at the tiny little Iris's Bridge.

Just before the bridleway leaves the wooded environs of Foss Gill there is a bench with a small memorial plaque with the words, "In memory of Jack and Marjorie Mallinson, A Devoted Couple Who Loved Foss Ghyll." Just behind the bench a thin path delves into Foss Gill. Following this I soon came to a nice little waterfall. Crossing over the stream I slid down the bank to get a better angle for a photo.

I soon realised this was a mistake when I struggled to climb back up the steep slippery bank made all the more greasy by being covered in damp fallen leaves. Unable to get any purchase with my feet I finally managed to find some roots to grab hold of and haul myself up on my hands and knees. Slightly chastened by this experience I continued upstream crossing the beck a few times to scramble up past a small water chute to the main waterfall in the gill.

Not named on the map this lovely waterfall seems to be known as Calton Spout. From my research on the internet it seems to be mainly visited by trig point and geocache enthusiasts (there is apparently a geocache very near to the waterfall itself). From the reports I've read the stream is often dry and people heading for the trig point have scrambled up the steep bank next to the waterfall or over the waterfall itself.

There was no chance of me attempting either of those things in the wet conditions so I retraced my steps back to the bench and the bridleway. Climbing up the latter until I'd passed the trees of Foss Gill on my right, I then dropped back down to the stream to try and find a way across the intervening wall. In the end I got across at a fence that straddles the stream at grid reference SD913599. Once across the stream it was then an easy climb on grass to the Calton trig point.

Although it might be one of the lowest trig points in the Yorkshire Dales the view was still extensive and looked even more impressive due to the snow on the higher hills with Rye Loaf Hill and Cracoe Fell looking particularly nice. After taking a number of pictures I headed north-east to drop down to a gate which I climbed over and then followed the right bank of High Close Syke. Passing through a couple more gates I eventually got back on to the Calton - Weets Top bridleway.

There followed a steady two mile climb up on to Weets Top on a good path and at a very easy gradient. This was my second visit to the trig point on Weets Top and coincidentally both times have been after a modest snowfall. The views of the Malham scene are superb with the view down to the dramatic entrance to Gordale being particularly impressive.

From Weets Top I retraced my steps a short way until I reached a footpath sign, here I branched off the main path to head across Hanlith Moor. At the foot of the moor I passed through a gate on to the enclosed Windy Pike Lane which led me down to the small hamlet of Hanlith. Throughout the descent I enjoyed some particularly good views of the village of Malham with a section of the Cove providing a backdrop. From Hanlith it was then a pleasant walk back to Airton Bridge alongside the River Aire on a section of the Pennine Way.

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