The other day my friend Alex and I went for a walk to Great Roova Crag in Coverdale. It wasn’t particularly long – the crag lies on the edge of the moor overlooking the village of West Scrafton. By my estimation it’s a two mile round trip from the village. The uphill path leaves the road just to one side of the bridge over Great Gill.
It isn’t long before the hill rises sharply. Great Roova Crag lies almost directly above. Here, instead of following the gentle zig-zag of the Land Rover-track one can head straight up across the steep grass in the direction of the crag.
The jumble of gritstone rocks that form it are unusual for the Yorkshire Dales, where most exposed rock is limestone and either small in scale or sheer and impregnable. Great Roova, on the other hand, offers the kind of gritstone playground more familiar to the South Pennines or the Peak District. It would have been good to spend time clambering around. Unfortunately, on the day of our walk we were constantly battling with a strong, cold wind that made hanging about (both literally and metaphorically) impossible.
Curiously, a stone cabin has been built into the rocks and the hillside at the Eastern end to offer shelter to grouse-shooters. We took shelter there for a few minutes before heading back down – a dark, bare stone room furnished with wooden benches and lit by a small window.
Through the window you can see the market town of Leyburn in the distance. Sitting there felt a bit like sitting inside a camera, with a window where the lens or pinhole should be.