The short walk up Embsay Crag has great views over the reservoir below and to the lovely surrounding countryside. It’s also very pleasant after the walk to have a picnic next to Embsay Reservoir.
This walk starts from a car park by Embsay Reservoir, next to Craven Sailing Club. It’s a 10-minute drive from the centre of Skipton and 25 minutes from Ilkley.
Embsay Crag Hike Map
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- It’s short enough to not carry anything with you (depending on the weather), but a waterproof jacket, a bit of water and a snack could be recommended.
- The map to take on this hike is the Ordnance Survey Explorer 2, SW Yorkshire Dales*.
- For another short hike 10 minutes drive away, walk up Sharp Haw and Flasby Fell.
- You can find other Yorkshire ideas in our Yorkshire Guide.
From the car park, head towards the reservoir and along the track to the left of the sailing club. Walk along the track and shortly you’ll see a stile to the right over the wall and to the edge of Embsay Reservoir. Take this stile and walk along the grassy path. Keep left to reach the far end of the walled area, and head back across the wall and out onto the track again.
Head to the sign you see on the right and over another wall into the moorland area. Walk along the main track, with Embsay Crag signposted, and then continue slightly to the right at the next signed junction. The way to the top is now very simple, just keep following the main track. Don’t forget to stop and look at the views.
The Top of Embsay Crag
Once you reach the top of the hill you’ll have great views in all directions, from the beautiful wild moorland behind to the open valleys in front of the crag. There are several nice rocks here to sit on and have a rest and perhaps a snack.
Once you’ve taken in the views, continue walking further along the main track. In roughly 500 metres you’ll see a small path heading back along the lower slopes, below the crag itself. It’s in an area of red plants and slightly rocky.
Follow this path as it contours along the slope and then heads down towards the wall. In some places the bracken can be high, though the path underfoot is generally clear and roughly parallels the stone wall below.
Soon you’ll reach an old sandstone quarry with some lovely lupins, and in not too long the path meets up again with the main track up Embsay Crag. From now on, return the way you came back to the car park. Around the edge of the reservoir is a lovely place to sit and have a picnic once you’ve finished hiking.
Guidebooks to explore more of Yorkshire
The Rough Guide to Yorkshire* is a great little guidebook and has a section on Ilkley and things to do nearby. The Yorkshire Dales Pathfinder Guide* has a good collection of short hikes suitable for the entire family and the Guide to North Yorkshire Pub Walks* has some fun walks in the Dales for those who are hungry and thirsty.