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,

TAKE the bus to Grassington and walk back to the market town of Skipton.

This 12-mile route starts with a visit to a couple of smaller villages before taking to the higher moors and finally dropping down past the delectable Embsay Reservoir and in to Skipton.

I always take the bus (or train) first on a one way walk. It takes the stress out of making a connection! The 72 runs every hour or so from Skipton (bus or train station) to Grassington and takes roughly half an hour.

At Grassington bus station head down to the river from a walled lane at the southern end of the car park. Cross the footbridge over the River Wharfe at Linton Falls (spectacular after the rains) and climb up the lane to the village of Linton.

Tempting as it is to linger in Linton (and early coffee at the Fountaine is a possibility though!) head along the east side of the river and before you leave the village a footpath heads east.

Follow the footpath through some fields, hopefully full of lambs, and climb steadily through a series of stiles to a walled lane skirting the hillside. Turn left on the lane and follow it for half a mile in to your second village, Thorpe. The views east down Wharfedale are excellent.

Thorpe is barely a village, a village green surrounded by some old farm buildings and a manor house. Look for the sign with the quaint legend about the folk of Thorpe steeling a 200 foot maypole from neighbouring Burnsall for their entertainment. Follow the lane south from Thorpe as it climbs steadily to a gate. From the gate carry on for a further half a mile, still climbing till you reach a farm/stalkers track. Turn right on meeting the track and follow it west and then south as it contours this vast and barren moorland. The track, used by grouse shooters, runs out on meeting a boundary wall, follow this for a further half a mile on a rough track to a large and obvious obelisk. This is the striking Cracoe War Memorial; head on for a further half mile to the stone Rylstone Cross (wooden in the past) and a wonderful view point over the Aire Valley. It would be time for a well earned sandwich.

The going is quite rough although there is a path that carries along the escarpment. Follow the path south for a third of a mile and then before dropping in to a small stream turn left on to a bridleway heading in to the moors.

After another half a mile turn off the bridleway on to a high level farm track heading south across the high and rugged moorland. It is a wonderful place but soon the track turns in to an obvious footpath and drops down to Embsay Reservoir. It is the home of the Craven Sailing Centre.

I enjoy taking the slightly longer circuit around the east side of the reservoir and then over the dam back on to the road. This road heads in to Embsay village.

A footpath skirts the village on the west side but best to wander through the village, there is an excellent mill, before joining the main road heading in to Skipton. The last section may as well be completed quickly, it is a poor completion to a splendid day.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly 12 miles

Height to Climb: 650m (2,130 feet).

Start: SE 001638. From the car park at Grassington head to the River Wharfe.

Difficulty: Hard: A long but rewarding day over some remote moors.

Refreshments: Grassington and Skipton at each end have plenty of cafes and pubs, Linton had a pub, as does Embsay for quieter stops.