If I was ever asked to summarise the Dales landscape at its best then I would describe the walk through Austwick and Crummackdale. The view from the limestone pavement on Long Scar reveals a vast panorama starting from the summit of Ingleborough to the north west. From here turn north east through the uniform Moughton Scars with Pen-y-Ghent beyond. Pen-y-Ghent is seen at its best here.
The walk described starts with a short pull to a series of large boulders known as the Norber Erratics. An erratic translates as ‘a boulder in the wrong place’. You would expect that the erratics are limestone in origin, being in the midst of spectacular limestone scenery. However they are not. The boulders are of Silurian stone and were left when the glaciers retreated in the last Ice Age, they may have been transported 10s of miles. It is quite possible to tell which rock type is which by the colour of the moss which grows on it; the older Silurian sandstone has green moss whilst the newer limestone grows white.
The limestone scenery is all encompassing in Austwick and Crummackdale. Therefore the exposed pavements and scars of white rock are everywhere, none better than the crossing over Moughton Scars. If there is a better limestone pavement in England I have not seen it.
The return via Wharfe tends to be taken quickly due to the dry stone walls of this Green Lane. However the track is good and Wharfe another near perfect Dales hamlet. There is a very popular picnicking spot before Wharfe and a pleasant spot to linger, further up the valley, where the path crosses Austwick Beck.
If you need to shorten the Austwick and Crummackdale walk drop down to the farm at Crummack after the Norber Erratics. Return to Austwick via the Pennine Bridleway .
Over Norber and the erratics the path is intermittent unless you stick to the sheep track on the eastern edge. However it is straightforward to leave the track and wander amongst the boulders and stick to the crest. This has good Ingleborough views. Also stick close to the path overlooking the scar on Moughton Scars.
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