Esoterica

Having spent the previous afternoon slithering around on greasy limestone attempting to avoid another jarring tumble, mostly with an absolute lack of success, I had to wonder how I'd managed to find myself teetering about on more polished limestone the very next day...
Idly leafing through the Yorkshire Limestone guide book, the section at the end caught my eye: Esoterica, Gill Scrambles.
Unlike the Lakes, where Ghyll Scrambling is a real part of the climbing scene, the Dales are not renowned for Gill Scrambles, but here, right at the end of the book, the very last route in fact, was a 3 star 'classic'.
With a much brighter afternoon and blue instead of the previous day's leaden skies, Strans Gill looked like a perfect little outing for a couple of hour's sport. The Gill climbs from the infant river Wharfe in Yockenthwaite, through the thickly wooded steep slopes that rise above Langstrothdale, pictured above.
From the start, this is a delightful scramble, hidden from view within a miniature gorge, short steep steps keeping the interest high.
The grade, in dry conditions such as today, is probably Moderate, though there is an interesting pitch around two thirds of way up that is significantly harder. (V Diff - avoidable but doing so ruins the nature of the scramble.)
The fun ends with a fitting little finale, up a thrutchy chimney, to emerge beneath the bridge on the path from Yockenthwaite to Cray...
...whichever way you go from here, the views are all that is best about this quiet corner of the Dales.

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