High on Hawkswick

The dales immediately north of Malham are home to what must be one of, if not the greatest concentration of crags in the country - both grit and limestone - from Malham Cove itself to the more obscure gritstone outcrops and the even less well frequented limestone trad cliffs: there is a lifetime of climbing here.
A view of Littondale, above which lies Hawkswick crag - these days, climbing sporadically at best, I prefer the solitude and esoteric nature of those quieter crags, where it is easy to believe that the last time anyone climbed the route you are looking at, was immediately before the guide book was written...
...suspect rock and dirty holds combine to lend interest to even the most lowly graded of routes, amongst which are some real gems offering beautiful, balanced climbing on rock that has yet to suffer anything like enough traffic to become worn and polished like the honeypot horrors.
I didn't have long - already the evenings are drawing in - but I completed a few short solos, more like extended boulder problems really, though the steep slopes that fall at 45 degrees beneath the crag make the routes seem much greater in height than the guidebook suggests.
As darkness fell I sat awhile and watched two roe deer rustling through the bracken, pushing cautiously down to the River Skirfare below, before following their path down the steep slopes into Littondale.

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