Under a mizzling low cloud, fifteen stalwart walkers set off from Grassington, up Intake Lane and joined Edge Lane which led us to the junction with Tinkers Lane.
Here we peeled off across rough turf and descended across two more fields to approach the 17th century house of Hole Bottom, which was bought by the 5th Duke of Devonshire in 1796 for his Mine Agent, resold in 1887 to the Joy family.
The Duke also had a bellows-operated smelt mill here, just a footprint now by the little bridge which spans the Hebden Beck. Also here is ‘Maimie’s Cottage’ which was the setting for William Riley’s novel ‘Jerry and Ben’.
Carr Scar rises craggily beyond the beck, a millstone grit mass which was the product of a single river delta which extended across much of the Dales. The thickness of the deltaic sands in Carr Scar is immense and is comparable with Brimham Rocks. We walked along the Miners’ Road, following the Beck, passing the Rocking Stone and a plunging waterfall, to reach the leadmining dressing floors, where there is still much evidence of the past hard-worked industry.
We turned up Bolton Gill on our right, then right again to proceed along the Mossy Moor Ridge. The remnants of pillars which supported a 600 metre ore-carrying power cable from the Bolton Haw 250ft. deep shaft to Hole Bottom, which had been driven by waterwheels, could be seen above us.
The soggy path along the Ridge led us past the moorland reservoir which once served early corn mills and the leadmines, and a stone circle (possibly Bronze age). Sunshine began to break through as we reached the 17th century Scar Top House, (atop Carr Scar) where we had lunch, before gently descending into Hebden and out onto the path leading us back to High Lane and Grassington. Despite much unfavourable weather, the 6.5 mile walk was a satisfying pre-Christmas exercise.