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My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Trigs OS 103 - Airton

Tuesday 20th July 2021 from Aurton

Calton          SD  917 598       274m.

Haw Crag    SD 913 564        206m.

It's 9:15 am. I step out of the car at Airton. My feet stick to the melted tar on the road.

Airton derives its name from the River Aire which was the closest large river during my early childhood in West Yorkshire.  Memory recalls a semi-industrialised  scene as it wandered trough the Bradford area.

Today I walk steeply down the road to a stone bridge spanning my river running fresh from its source less than five miles upstream. The river Aire was mysterious in those teenage days when I spent much of my time  walking, climbing and caving in the Yorkshire Dales. The river stems from Malham Tarn where at its southern end Ordnance Survey have put a unique label telling us "Water sinks."  Having thus been left in suspense my immediate reaction  was "where the heck does it go to?"

Expectant speleologists in the early days were hopeful that it emerged at the foot of Malham Cove with the possibility of a meaningful caving system behind that massive cliff of overhanging limestone. Not so. Dyeing the water at the source proved the river emerged at Aire Head just south of Malham village. As far as I know there has been no substantial caving discovery behind Malham Cove.

With the present intense spell of heat and no rain the water was low. I had noticed "waterfall" marked on the OS map in Foss Gill which I hoped to visit on my way to the first trig. I branched off the track to cross the gill and find the waterfall, but the bed of the gill was totally dry. I scrambled very steeply up the far bank using tree roots as handholds to emerge at a barbed wire fence bordering access land leading to my trig. At some risk of laceration I strode over a lower section and toiled up close cropped sheep pasture steeply to my trig, the key being two gates in close proximity enabling the crossing of another barbed wire boundary. Views were rewarding.

I was able to return by a less arduous route and then pick up the Pennine Way  running south. alongside the River Aire. I have intermingled every now and then over the last couple of years with the Pennine Way which I walked in 1987 and have been pleasantly surprised to discover how unspoilt it seems to be and what a super long distance path it is.

More pleasant walking on good surfaces took me to my second trig and then a long bridleway from Bell Busk had me back to Airton.  I noticed cyclists and wondered if they were having problems with the now even more sticky road surface, rather them than me, I much prefer to be on foot.The heat all day was intense and I was flagging towards the end. I had taken a flask of coffee and two 500cl. bottles of water which were life savers. Back home I consumed huge amounts of liquid over the evening and even now, next morning, as I type this I still have some lingering thirst even after my normal multi cups of breakfast tea.

I was impressed by this individual notice just a few yards from the car. I particularly like the cat logo at the top.

Looking north up the river Aire, the bridge is behind camera, see next two photos

Calton village

Typical Yorkshire Dales scenery

A brave attempt to naturalise the obviously man-made water pipe - note the dry gill obviating my need to use the footbridge which crossed here as a ford

Where I crossed the gill higher up - totally dry

Calton trig 

Back down to Airton

On the Pennine Way alongside River Aire, and below, on the way to Newfield Bridge

Newfield Bridge, still on the PW

Haw Crag trig Ingleborough on skyline

Pink at top = Grid line 60 which I am researching, and red line the potential route to follow it, so not relevant to this post. Pennine Way shown by OS green diamonds.


  1. A varied and satisfying day but the current temperatures make for hard going. I had no idea you had at one time enjoyed caving, something
    I could never have contemplated doing.

  2. afoot - caving was more occasional and not taken too seriously and I always preferred to be above ground on the rock. I forgot to mention fly fishing on various Yorkshire Dales rivers and streams which a few of us did quite a lot of. My attitudes to that have changed since and now if pursued it would certainly have to be "catch and release"

    Here is an extract from a post some time ago:

    "I drove home passing through Kettlewell, the departure point for the walk up to the Scout Association owned farmhouse, Hag Dyke just below the summit of Great Wherneside which we visited many times back in the mid 50s - the scoutmaster left us to our own devices exploring potholes and caves with candles and torches - good for him; these days he would probably have been sent to jail - oh dear!"

    If you want to read the whole post which I believe captures some of the atmosphere of those early days and the magic of the Yorkshire Dales go to:

    1. I will enjoy reading the post I’m sure. Like you, I was fortunate in being introduced to climbing by a teacher who on school trips gave me and a friend a freedom that today would be impossible. I’ve often been tempted to write about a school trip when I was 17 when a friend and I were allowed to go out to Shelter Stone Crag to attempt a route well beyond our experience and abilities at the time. Suffice to say it was an epic even though we never set foot on the crag! I would post something about it but fear that in the absence of notes taken at the time, some of the tale would be inaccurate even though the details seem as clear as if it all happened yesterday.

  3. BC

    Sir Hugh
    Thinks walking is the best thing to do.
    When he revels in the sun
    His friends don’t believe he still has fun.

  4. I never doubted you were having fun.
    Interestingly, where you parked your car was where Paul Howcroft (founder of Rohan) moved his business to after its humble start in Skipton. We used to call in for 'seconds'.
    And across the green I can see the terrace house my cousin and her husband had as a holiday cottage for years.

  5. afoot - I wouldn't let a little lack of accuracy put you off. Let's have the tale.
    BC - 'Twas not directed at you in particular, as you sort of say, you know me better.

  6. I sense the atmosphere in your post on early days in the Yorkshire Dales Conrad. Not too different to my experiences of similar times in the highlands and the Lake District. We have only been to the Dales once in 1991? when we did Buckden Pike, Starbotton Fell, had two pints of Old Peculiar at the Fox and Hounds then back to Bucken via Firth Fell and Birks Fell. A wonderful day with my brother and his wife. Where has all the time gone?

  7. Where HAS all the time gone?

    That’s an excellent update Conrad. Keep it up...

  8. afoot - that was a good round. I have visited Buckden Pike a few times and always in appalling weather with the summit area a squelchy quagmire.
    Phreerunner - Thanks for the comment.