Crookside Crag: This Yorkshire Dales rockface is majestic under winter sun

A popular stomping ground for climbers and walkers alike, Crookrise Crag offers stunning views over quintessential English countryside.

Winter sun sets above Pendle Hill and the Aire Valley from Crookrise Crag. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Winter sun sets above Pendle Hill and the Aire Valley from Crookrise Crag. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

The rockface, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park on the outskirts of Skipton, was described as a “gritstone gem” by the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), when it purchased the crag in March 2017.

A delightfully whimsical portrayal on the council’s Regional Access Database now captures its essence.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“Wild and raw are characteristics that immediately hit you on your first visit to Crookrise,” the database states.

“This is a place shaped by elemental forces and commanding a first class view of the stunning landscape all around.

“It is a climbers playground and a place of peace and solitude for those happier keeping their feet firmly on the ground.

“Either way you are never truly alone as the call of grouse drifting across the crag and scuffling of field mice through bilberry shows.”

“Crookrise is one of the premier crags in the area, and it sums up what gritstone climbing is all about,” climber and BMC ambassador Steve McClure said at the time of the council’s purchase.

“It’s got everything: good quality rock, good position and varied routes.”

What it also has, on a clear day, is picturesque vistas, like this one, capturing the winter sun setting above Pendle Hill and the Aire Valley.

The hill, at 557m high, rises above Pendle, a Lancashire borough that was once an ancient hunting ground home to wolves and wild boars.

“It is still an untamed place,” according to tourism website Visit Pendle, “full of mystery and infamous as the home of the Pendle Witches who were tried and executed for witchcraft in 1612”.

It is said that the top of Pendle Hill is where George Fox had a vision in 1642 that inspired him to establish the Quaker movement. Under the winter sun, it certainly looks majestic.

Tech Details: Nikon D4, 17-24mm f2.8 Nikkor, 80th sec @f11, 400iso.