On Saturday, 2nd February we discovered why Yorkshire is often called God’s Own County.

Nicky Busby led a group of Society members and guest on an amazing walk in Wharfedale where the scenery and the weather combined to provide jaw-dropping views that were a well-deserved reward for a sometimes-challenging route.

The absolutely perfect conditions of blue sky, crisp air and little wind bode well.

We hadn’t seen much snow in Yorkshire over recent days, unlike southern parts of the country, and down at lower levels there was little more than frost and the lightest of covering to tell us the time of year. Higher up though, it was a different story.

The idea of these Society walks is to let people discover parts of Yorkshire that they might otherwise miss. This walk set off from Rylstone in Wharfedale and went up and across Barden Fell. After a gentle start, passing St Peter’s Church, there was a long, winding climb to reach the Rylstone Cross by which time the group had encountered a good 6in of snow laying fresh and undisturbed across the moors around us. Looking back, as we climbed, we could see as far as Pendle and beyond into Lancashire. In fact, once at the Cross on top of the fell, the views were spectacular and clear in every direction.

The Rylstone Cross, an impressive construction in Yorkshire Stone of about 10 feet in height, is a 1995 replacement of an original cross made of wood to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, which was blown down in a storm. It was paid for by local farmer James Caygill who lives in the village below it, and his initials are suitably etched into it. There are time capsules inside the stainless steel core of the cross.

From the Cross, the group followed the ridge path across the top of the fell to the Cracoe Pinnacle, an obelisk and war memorial standing proudly, about 20 feet tall, above the village of Cracoe. The memorial honours those in the area who fell in the two world wars and their names are listed on the memorial.

What goes up must come down and after a short break at the Cracoe Pinnacle for refreshments the walk turned downwards, traversing across the snow-covered hill down to the Devonshire Arms Pub, a Cracoe Village coaching inn dating back to the 16th century, where a well-deserved rest was taken by some very happy walkers, each and every one acknowledging the benefits and beauty of the experience they had just shared.

A big thank you to Nicky Busby for organising this walk and we all look forward to the next one.


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