ALTHOUGH I have visited these two monuments on longer walks over Embsay Moor I felt they needed closer inspection. The hard gritstone rock and moor necessitated an ascent from one of the pretty villages to the west, I chose Hetton.

Parking near the Angel Inn at Hetton take the footpath heading east across open land, crossing a small river and climbing in to the village of Rylstone. For its size Rylstone has a few claims to fame, the Womens Institute (shared with Cracoe) provided the inspiration for the hit film Calendar Girls whilst the poet William Wordsworth wrote the ‘White Doe of Rylstone’ , an ode to the northern uprising against Elizabeth 1 in 1569. More practically St Peters Church is a fine building listed by English Heritage.

From the village walk south along the busy B6265 for 300 metres before taking a lane to the left. After a further 300 metres the lane bends right, take the 2nd (signposted) farm track heading just south of east up the fell side. As you climb past a small copse the track becomes increasingly indistinct and a footpath continues the climb on the edge of the vast moorland that is Embsay Moor. It can be a bleak or lovely place depending on the weather, at the moment it is lovely! Join a footpath that is circling the edge of the moor and turn left (north) and a short climb to the spectacularly situated Rylstone Cross.

Rylstone Cross has a chequered history. Originally a stone cross was built to commemorate Rylstone Man but after an interlude where a wooden cross replaced the stone the fine monolith which exists today was built in 1947. On leaving the cross the path heads north east close to the edge of the moor, it can be muddy in places but not after this dry weather. The 2nd striking feature of the edge (and in deed the views for miles around) is the stone obelisk of Cracoe Monument. There is no doubts as to the history of this, it is a fitting memorial to the locals who died in the First World War. Their names are carved in to the Yorkshire gritstone.

From the monument it is worth walking east for a short while to views over the large reservoirs of Upper and Lower Barden, set amongst the heather of Embsay Moor. North of the reservoirs is the Marilyn mountain of Thorpe Fell, only worth visiting if you are a compulsive ticker! Return to the path north of the obelisk and drop steeply west down the steep, trackless slopes towards a farm track. The going is a little rough but improves on the track which leads in to the village of Cracoe. Once in Cracoe turn left on to the main road running through the village and just after it drops to cross a stream take the minor road to the right. This will lead back to Hetton and the start part of your walk.

n Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, an outdoor business in the Yorkshire Dales. He has written his own book, the “Dales 30” which describes the highest mountains in the Dales. He also runs 1 Day Navigation Courses for Beginners and Intermediates. Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill Weekends. To find out more details on any of the above and details of many more walks in the area visit where2walk.

Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly 7 miles

Height to Climb: 370m (1,200 feet)

Start: SD 959587. Park on the road near the Angel in Hetton.

Difficulty: Medium. There is a rough descent from Cracoe Monument but the rest is on good paths.

Refreshments: The Angel at Hetton is locally famous for its food and also serves a good pint.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL2) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.