This walk actually turned out different to what we had intended initially! Which is why I will always remember it, sometimes it is more exciting to just set off from a place and see where you end up, however, GPS, phones or a good old trusty map always help in these situations incase you get lost. Like my previous walks I have written about, I would again advise waterproofs and walking boots, there are parts of this walk where you will have to do a little bit of climbing!
This walk starts in the beautiful Clapham Village, in the centre of the Dales. If you are arriving by car, just past the New Inn Hotel and the Croft Cafe, there is a pay and display car park with public toilets on site. The Clapham station is also not too far from this point!
From here, walk towards the river and cross over the small bridge, if you keep walking you will pass the playground and the church. This is where you will come to Clapham Beck waterfall, which was completely unexpected and a very pleasant surprise! This waterfall is stunning, tucked away into the trees with stairs going from the path down to some benches, a great spot to enjoy the sounds of nature and a coffee. If you follow the road round to Clapham Lane, you will start to see public footpath signs for Ingleborough, this is where you will want to be heading. This is a windy, up and down path (a lot more exciting that a flat road) which will allow you some incredible views, especially as you get to higher ground! After around 1 mile, half an hour give or take a few minutes, you will come to a farm. Keep walking through, until you come to another sign which will guide you down the farm fields towards the Beck. This is quite steep and rocky in parts so be careful with your footing! These fields also hold a lot of sheep so keeping any dogs on leads would be best.
At the bottom of this path you will go through a gate, continue to your left. This is a really beautiful part of the walk, as you walk along the beck it is extremely peaceful! You will then come to Ingleborough Caves, which give fantastic guided tours of the cave and grotto where you can see stalactites and fossils! Around the area there are also picnic benches and a small building where you can get refreshments, this is a real beauty spot as you look on to the beck. If you don’t fancy going into the cave, you can have a slight look over as you cross over the bridge. Once you have passed the Caves, you walk through in what can only be described as a woodland in a fairytale, it is absolutely stunning, strolling through all the trees and you can hear the birds chirping away (it really is magical). Walk for around 8-10 minutes and you will come to a very quaint gate with a stile next to it. Once crossing through, the magic doesn’t stop! You will start to walk uphill, still through this mythical woodland, by this point however you will start to see the high rock formations surround you which does feel very like a film (think Lord of The Rings). At this point you will start to notice the rock walls besides you start to get narrower, and you will realise the only way to carry on with this walk is to climb! This is where I feel a walk becomes memorable when you have to start using your hands! With me taking my camera, which can get pretty heavy, I have to either pop it back in my bag or climb one handed (unfortunately I’ve chosen the latter a few times which isn’t the safest option), all this being said it is not a tough climb and it is only a couple minutes until you emerge out above the trees! It is actually really interesting to turn around at the top to see the view behind you, you get a brand new perspective of the place!
This is when you breath in that cool yorkshire air which will make your cheeks turn rosy pink and you’ll just want to zip your coat up a little more (this is usually where the gloves come out). It can get very windy up here, you are now just in the vast landscape! Keep following the trail of rocks upwards, minding your footing for around half a mile. You will then come to another stile which is just to the left of you, if you cross this you will come to a place called Bar Pot which is one of the entrances into Gaping Gill cave, you will also notice around you lots of rocks and boulders. One other thing to mention is from this point, you will have Ingleborough In front of you (still quite a while away however). Keep walking towards Ingleborough, meandering through the rocks and grass (which can be quite boggy after a rainfall), only for around 7-10 minutes. Then you will come to Fell beck waterfall! Fell Beck is a really interesting place because this beck flows into Gaping Gill which is the second largest natural cave in the UK, sometimes it is blocked to allow people to descend down into the shaft.
Around the top of the entrance there are places to sit and relax, put your feet up on a rock or two and soak in the Yorkshire air. Now the reason this walk was initially different was because I was aiming to also walk up Ingleborough on that day, however due to the weather and timing, it didn’t seem the best idea! To walk back, you can either go back the way you came and climb down this time, or when you walk back past Bar Pot and over the stile, instead of turning right to head down towards to scramble downwards, you can actually keep walking straight up and it will curve round right back to that quaint gate from the beginning near the caves, from this point you can walk the same way back to Clapham Village, I really hope you enjoy this walk as much as I did, happy hiking!
Jodie O'Connor | @joc_creative