AN excellent walk over the moors between Masham and Upper Nidderdale starting between two reservoirs and taking in some classic views. The joy though is the lonely miles across moorland tracks.

Four miles west of the lovely market town of Masham lie two reservoirs, Leighton and Roundhill. The most northerly of the two, Leighton, is a compensation reservoir for the nearby River Ure whilst Roundhill helps supply Harrogate. Start the walk at some parking just north of the inlet on the western bank of Leighton Reservoir. Head along the road round the inlet to a good track heading initially alongside Leighton before crossing the dam wall of Roundhill. The large tower on the nearby moors is one of three sighting towers, planned to be used in the early 20th century when more reservoirs were planned.

Immediately after crossing the dam a footpath heads up the fellside, a steep 100 metre climb o a good public footpath. As the path turns south it enters access land but particularly at this time of the year the heather is high and the appeal to leave the path low! After one-and-a-half miles the path meets a major shooting track heading east and west. At this point those with an explorers bent can make two detours. To the east the summit trig point of Sandy Hill is half a mile away (I am meeting increasing numbers of trig collectors) but more interestingly the folly of Arnagill Tower is in the deep gully to your right.

Follow the shooting track west for two miles. Ignore the track that meets it heading south after one of those miles and instead look around and enjoy the solitude of a classic moorland Dales scene. The track is excellent and largely flat and travels through the grouse moors like an arrow. It is a good place to consider the benefits to the landscape of grouse shooting, it certainly is a memorable stretch of moorland. On meeting another track veer right for a further 400 metres (trig point collectors be aware there is another one to your right), cross a moorland road and carry on west to the rim of Nidderdale.

At this point the bridlepath turns north and follows the rim of Upper Nidderdale for in my opinion the most enjoyable mile of the walk. The views over Nidderdale are superb, south towards Pateley Bridge and west in to the wilds of the upper dale. Pass a well presented shooting house, stood pride over the cliffs. After the mile a meeting of paths means a turn for home, turn right (east) and start a long gradual drop towards the two reservoirs. The views here are also very impressive and offers a filip for tired legs. The path meets a moorland road after one-and-a-half miles then turn left and follow the road down to the reservoir and your start point.

Distance: Roughly 10.5 miles (17km)

Height to Climb: 360m (1,180 feet)

Start: SE 158788. There is parking at the end of Shortbank Road or just walk from Skipton centre.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard. It is the length that makes this a hard walk, the majority of the walk is on excellent and easy tracks.

Refreshments: There is a choice of pubs and cafes in Masham 4 miles away.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk.

You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer 298) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass (essential on this walk). You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors.