THIS six mile linear walk, writes Colin Speakman, has been taken from Ingleborough Walks, a series of ten linear walks designed to encourage use of trains and bus services, as part of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust Stories in Stone project. Other walks in the series are available at stations or Tourist Information Centres in the Settle area or can be downloaded via the website:

Crummackdale is one of the lesser known Dales within the Ingleborough massif. This six mile walk to the head of the Dale takes in some of the most dramatic limestone scenery of the western Dales, climbing through a short but spectacular mountain pass, before descending historic Sulber Nick to Horton -in -Ribblesdale for your train back to Skipton or Settle

Step by step

From Austwick’s old market cross, walk due eastwards towards Helwith Bridge along Wharfe Road, past the village hall (toilets and information board), the Game Cock Inn and village primary school, before turning left into Townhead Lane. Continue for 200 metres until just 20 metres past a wide drive on the left and the gate of Victoria Lodge where the lane bends on the right, look for a narrow-paved path over a lawn and wooden footpath sign straight ahead but positioned slightly to your right leading to a narrow paved way across a lawn between gardens and bungalows. This soon reaches a stone stile by pines, leading into a wall side path through a shallow hollow in the field. Keep the same direction, to twin stiles across a farm access road. The path now dips into a hollow with a stream, crossed by a narrow plank bridge. Head up a steep slope to the wall corner ahead and a ladder stile.

This takes you into Crummack Lane. Turn right, climbing steadily upwards. Soon the lane becomes unsurfaced and you follow the path for about a mile, passing the track from Wharfe, to reach Crummack Farm.

Leave the farm road to keep directly ahead through two gates (signposted bridleway) taking care to close the first gate. Where the bridleway turns left uphill, keep straight ahead on the path through the field gate (waymarked). This leads to s narrow but distinct grassy path, heading north-north-eastwards away from the wall. Soon you look down on the spring in the field below which is the source of Austwick Beck. As you ascend you enter a beautiful and bleak bowl of the hills, a natural hollow or corrie probably due to glaciations, in a landscape which looks increasingly wild.

Keep the same direction following yellow waymarks as the paths, now relatively level, heads between outcrops of limestone pavement. Look ahead at what seems a craggy wall of rock with a ladder stile in a shallow ravine between the rock This is Beggars Stile, the origin of its name unknown.

Once across the stile you enter a magnificent almost lunar limestone of craggy weather worn pavement. The path bears left to and twisting through limestone pavement – look for the occasional cairn, soon heading above the valley you crossed previously, with a high wall of crags surrounding you ahead. Spectacular views don Crummackdale from here. You are now crossing Thieves Moss, an area so strange, raised acid peat over the alkaline limestone. After another 200 metres the path again rises very sharply towards a narrow gate – Sulber Gate – on the skyline. Head for this.

Turn sharp right at the top through another bridle gate. You now enter Ingleborough National Nature Reserve and join the Pennine Bridleway, ascending from Clapham. Follow this track, level until you reach the tall signpost indicating a meeting of ways on Sulber. Turn right here, downhill, signposted for Horton two miles. You now follow Sulber Nick, an ancient way reputed to date back to Iron Age times when the summit of Ingleborough was a sacred fort or shrine. This is also now busy and well used Three Peaks Walk, so for the first half mile or so not easy walking over usually muddy sections through a shallow valley that forms Sulber Nick – “nick” is a word often used in north England for ancient moorland passes.

As the path descends, magnificent views open out into Ribblesdale and across to Penyghent. Beyond a stile, the path meets the footpath from Moughton Scar, before curving sharply downhill, offering a steep but better drained surface, the massive outline of Horton Quarry with its strangely turquoise waste pool a dominant feature to your right.

Easy walking now with a couple more stiles and a gentle hill before the pedestrian gate and the level crossing at Horton Station. For toilets or refreshment before your train, the village is another 250 metres along the lane straight ahead.

Fact file

Distance: six miles

Time required: Three and a half hours.

Start: Austwick

Finish: Horton in Ribblesdale

To undertake walk: ( Mondays to Saturdays only) catch the Kirkby Lonsdale 580/591 bus at either 8.50am or 10.45am from Skipton bus station or 09.30am or 11.30am from Settle Market Place to Austwick.

To return catch the train from Horton for Settle or Skipton at 3.36pm or 5.48pm (Mondays to Fridays) or 3.50pm or 5.48pm (Saturdays).

Terrain/Grade: Moderate – gentle but extended climb along paths and tracks, then a short and steep climb over rugged terrain. Descent along well used section of the Three Peaks route which can be boggy in places. This route is not recommended in poor weather conditions.

Toilets: In Austwick (by village hall). Horton in Ribblesdale by car park.

Map: OS Outdoor Leisure OL 2 Yorkshire Dales Southern and Western Areas.