Sunday, 8th August 2010

   

            

 

Walk: Cow and Calf rocks, Pancake stone, Horncliffe well, The 12Apostles stone circle, Ilkley moor summit, Thimble stones, Swastika stone, White Wells Roman Bath house.
Start Point: Car park at Darwin Gardens, Ilkley Grid Reference: SE 116 471
Distance: 13 miles Ascent: 1,340 feet
Time: 6.5 hours    
Weather: Overcast and humid, slight breeze on tops with mist and drizzle for a short period becoming dry sunny and warm
Comments: 8 people took part in the walk over Ilkley moor which is the highest point of Rombalds moor between Ilkley and Keighley (hats were optional). The moor is littered with mysterious rock carvings from the early Bronze age. It is also steeped in Myths and legends which is probably why it inspired Conan Doyle to write the hound of the Baskervilles.

Passing by a small tarn we soon climbed to the Cow and Calf rocks. The Calf being a huge boulder which lies some distance below the main (Cow) formation. Legend has it that the Calf split from the Cow when Rombald the Giant stamped on the rocks while fleeing from his enemies across the valley.

From here it was on to the “pancake stone” a huge flat rock balancing on the edge of the moor. Stopping for elevenses we then carried on to Horncliffe Well. The well is marked by a carved stone by the remains of a house and the well itself can still be seen running clear close by. Turning once more we continued to climb towards the highest point on the moor pausing briefly to look at the “12 apostles” stone circle. This is one of the highest megalithic monuments on the moor.

From the stone circle we continued on to the summit trig point stopping of for lunch at the “thimble stones”. From here it was down to the radio station (marked by two large masts) at Whetstone Gate before descending on the road to Bradup farm. A climb to the Forrest followed and after a slight navigational error we were soon on the woodland track to rejoin the Millenium way for our return to Ilkley.

Two final points of interest were visited on the way back. The first being the “Swastika stone” which is probably the most famous carving on the moor thought to date from the iron age. The second being the Bath house at White wells which not only houses the Roman baths but is also a cafe. Welcome mugs of Yorkshire tea (and cake for some!) were enjoyed before making the short descent back to the cars.

For those interested in any of the carvings or megalithic sites on Ilkley Moor there is a wealth of information to be had on the internet

Scroll down to see photos of the walk

The start point at Darwin Millennium Gardens

 

I wonder what Darwin would have made of this lot!!

 

This nice little tarn is on the route at the start of the walk

 

Climbing onto a rocky outcrop . . .

 

Debbie looks for rock carvings while the others admire the view . . .

 

over Ilkley

 

The cup and ring carvings contrast with . . .

 

the Celtic Knot pattern

 

On top of The Cow . . .

 

a large rocky outcrop . . .

 

which looks down onto The Calf

 

The Pancake Stone . . .

 

which John tests for stability - and survives

 

The carved stone marker at Horncliffe Well

 

One of the ancient waymarkers on the moor . . .

 

at the meeting of two paths

 

Part of the 12 Apostles stone circle

 

Anyone for golf?

 

On top of Ilkley Moor - hats are optional!

 

Lunch at the Thimble Stones . . .

 

where Ray spots an old spot height symbol . . .

 

and Phil captures an 'alien' on camera

 

A wall stile leads us into a woodland area (partly decapitated) . . .

 

and Phil tests the safety of the bridge . . .

 

before we disappear into the trees

 

Walking along the Millennium Way . . .

 

we have a good view down to the Wharfe Valley

 

A lava-like formation, or icing on a cake, or . . .

 

is it a sleeping seal?

 

The original Swastika Stone rock carving . . .

 

and its Victorian replica - the dark lines are the shadows of the railings that surround the rock

 

Continuing along the Millennium Way . . .

 

which is a popular path above Ilkley

 

The Roman Baths at White Wells . . .

 

which is fed by spring water from the hills

 

Bathers' tariff (even after 13 hot miles there were no takers to drink the water!)

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