Embsay Crag is a hill in North Yorkshire. It’s not a big hill, and it doesn’t have a trig point or a summit cairn, but it’s a nice climb and there’s good views from the top. It’s part of Barden Moor, which is part of the Bolton Abbey Estate. The estate stretches pretty far beyond the sort of main, central bit. I think Embsay Crag and Reservoir are towards the edge of it, I’m not entirely sure where exactly the borders are.
Anyway. Barden Moor is used for grouse hunting, and walking is restricted during the grouse hunting season. I’m not sure if the entire moor is closed off, but it’s something to be careful about. Oh, and there’s some bits of it you’re not allowed to take dogs on. Basically, it’s privately owned land, so it can be subject to restrictions, so if you’re planning to go walking there it’s a good idea to check if you’re OK to first.
So, Embsay Crag overlooks Embsay Moor Reservoir, which has a car park by it. So that’s a convenient place to park. ‘Park in the car park’, that’s the kind of genius advice I offer on this blog.
Facing the reservoir, you turn left and go round the side of it, past the sailing club and on up the road. The road sticks to the side of the reservoir until the reservoir ends. You keep going along it, through a pair of gateposts (no gate), and then you turn off onto the moorland. The path up to Embsay Crag goes straight forwards from here.
The main path is a bridleway. There are little diversions here and there, and you can just wander freely at some bits – although other parts are dense with bracken – but that’s the main path. If you have a dog you’re not supposed to let it off the bridleway.
Anyway. The bridleway takes you down very close to the reservoir at one point, across a little stream, and after a bit the path becomes less clear, but there are blue topped posts marking it out. From here it’s well worth looked behind you every now and then, for the views. It gets rockier as you climb, and turns into a bit of a scramble as you near the top. But the scramble doesn’t take long (not that I mind scrambly bits), and then you’re at the top.
We just hung around at the top for a while. I walked around it taking pictures of the different directions down. There’s quite a lot of rocks up there too, and there’s some carvings in them. Not anything official – that I’m aware of – just carvings random people have done through time. This is pretty common, but I always find them interesting to look at. Sometimes you get ones which go back over a century. One of the rocks here has a face on it that was apparently (well, I’ve found one site saying it) carved in 2000, and is supposed to be the Queen’s head, though no-one knows who did it. But that was a nice little find, different from the usual initials and dates.
We took a different path down, though it met the bridleway. This path led right through where the bracken was thickest, but it was well defined.
And once we’d rejoined the bridleway, it was just back the same way. Across the moor and down the road and back to the car park. And that was the walk. Pictures are here.
Thanks for reading.