Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales.

Jonathan has written his own book, the Dales 30 which details the highest mountains in the Dales.

He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates. Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales.

To find out more details on any of the above visit his website,

ON the fringes of the bleak landscape of Embsay Moor near Skipton lies a delightful walk full of interest.

The reservoir is lovely at this time of the year and the short climb to Embsay Crag is just enough (and rewarding enough) to make for a lovely half day walk.

I prefer doing this popular walk in a clockwise direction so turn right out of the car park and head towards the Elm Tree Inn. Take the right fork road past the pub signed for Embsay Reservoir and follow the road, gradually climbing, out of the village and in to open countryside. On the left as you leave the village is an artificial pond/mini lake, the remnants of the old mills that marked the growth of the village in the 19th century. Continue on the road to the west end of the dam wall.

Although we continue along the road on the west side of the reservoir it is worth walking on to the dam for excellent views across the water and the sailing club.

Sailing is a popular activity on the reservoir and the Craven Sailing Club has made it its home, the boats clearly visible on the south west corner of the reservoir. The reservoir itself was completed in 1909 and was built to serve the local population. The workers were housed during the construction in the cotton mill just to the north. From the sailing club walk for just over a quarter of a mile to a point where the road bears left and a footpath sign to the right directs you through a gate to the north banks of the water.

Turn right at the gate and follow the bridlepath through the bracken. After 250m the path splits, take the uphill path for less than 100m to a lovely small dam and pool, the remnants of the old workings.

Return to the main path at a wall, cross the stream and then after a further 150m take the left hand fork in the path away from the wall and heading towards Embsay Crag. The path is a little muddy in places and as it steepens zig zags to the left for a more gradual climb. Some people have headed straight for the summit but the slightly longer left had path is better.

As the path doubles back the gritstone rocks of the summit of Embsay Crag appear.

The summit area is a great spot to linger in good weather with views over the moors to the north and Airedale and Skipton to the south and west. From the summit follow the footpath heading east as it drops down from Embsay Crag. The footpath soon meets a drystone wall and the start of the old field system above Embsay.

Cross the wall and head south along a wall and downhill with a stream to your left. Pass through a gate and join a farm track leading past the farm at Boncroft.

Carry on along the farm road to where it meets a road, turn right and follow it back to Embsay.

On the right take a quick detour in to Embsay Kirk, the home of the original priory before Bolton Abbey - a good end to an enjoyable walk.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly 3.5 miles

Height to Climb: 200m (655 feet)

Start: SE 010538. A few metres to the east of the Elm Tree Inn is a free car park.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium. A short climb adds to the walk.

Refreshments: The Elm Tree Inn is a good local pub next to the car park.

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 2) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass (essential on this walk). Wear the correct clothing.

and footwear for the outdoors.