A circular walk up Sharp Haw with a well-deserved beer!
Updated: Mar 11, 2021
A recent socially distanced afternoon walk with my old rugby pal Tim and his vizsla Max involved a walk I had not done before, up to the top of a hill called Sharp Haw just outside Gargrave near Skipton.
We met at a parking point on Bog Lane just off the B6265 Grassington Road. The walk started walking along a bridleway signed the Dales High Way. This is a 90 mile walk which runs from Saltaire in West Yorkshire all the way to Appleby in Westmorland in Cumbria.
After a few hundred yards the Dales High Way footpath goes off to the right through a gate, but we continued left following the bridleway towards woodland. A crow was sitting in a tree sillhouted against the clouds which did look a bit like something from Game of Thrones (except Winter wasn’t coming!)
We followed the footpath through the woodland known as Crag Wood following the signs to Flasby. As we came to a gap in the woodland there were some great views back to Gargrave in the distance.
Crag Wood became High Wood and the path started to descend to New Laithe. At this point Eshton Hall comes into view in the distance. I often pass Eshton Hall when driving from Gargrave to Malham. It is a grand stately home which was converted into luxury apartments in 2003. This grade II listed country house was re-built in 1825 by Architect George Webster for the MP Mathew Wilson. The Wilson family having owned the estate and the former Eshton Hall since 1646 .
During World War 2 a School from Scarborough was evacuated there, when they returned after the war, the building was still used as a School by Eshton Hall Educational Trust and then into a residential nursing home.
We continued on the path down to New Laithe, reaching the farm and saying hello to the cows!
Upon reaching Flasby we walked along the road for a few yards before picking up the Dales Highway path signed Grassington, through a gate, climbing up by the side of woodland. Flasby is Norse in origin meaning a farmstead of a man called Flat. In 1848 The Flasby Sword was found in the village – dating back to the Iron age and is now in the Craven Museum. Interestingly Freddie Trueman the Yorkshire & England cricketer used to live in the village.
From this point the walk climbs, proceeding steadily up hill all the way to Sharp Haw.
We gradually walked across very boggy farmland before reaching the moorland of Flasby Fell. This rough moorland opens up and as we start to climb higher the views started to open up.
At first you hit some high ground to the left, but skirting this hill known as Rough Haw, we picked up the obvious path climbing steeply up to the summit of Sharp Haw.
At the trig point there were 360 degree views across the Dales which made the effort all worthwhile. We decided to stop for a snack, I always bring my dog Bronte a carrot to keep her going, but had also brought two Weegeman’s pork pies for Tim and myself to tuck into. Tim managed to trump my pork pies by bringing out two cans of Northern Monk Eternal Sunshine IPA out of his rucksack.
It was a superb treat and I am sure having climbed to 357 metres above sea level made it taste better!
Sharp Haw gets its name from its sharp conical shaped summit seen from many angles which makes it easily recognisable. There are stunning views over to the Aire Valley, as well as Wharfedale in the east and Malhamdale to the north .
The word Haw comes from the Old English word Hawian which essentially means view.
From the peak the path descends very quickly and picks up the Dales High Way again. Eventually we met the bridleway we had started our walk on and saw our first blue sky of the day just as we were finishing our walk.
The walk is 6.3 miles and takes about 3 hours to complete. It is a great afternoon walk and the climb up to the summit is relatively easy for the wonderful views.