BB1134 : Erotic, Erratic, Improbable Or What?

Thursday 17th November 2011

It was on a journey back from Skipton when Stephen asked me if I had ever seen Norma's Erotics?

I was quite taken aback by the directness of the question. My mind was boggling but I could truthfully say that I didn't even know Norma, never mind having explored her erotics, whatever they might be.  I began to wonder if she were some sort of rival to Big Josie so decided to do some research.  A bit of web surfing soon determined that his recollection of the name was slightly but amusingly adrift and it was Norber's Erratics to which he had meant to refer. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Maybe others made the same mistake as I did which might have accounted for the large turnout for today's outing.  I hope Graham, James, Johns L, Pete, Stan and Stuart weren't too disappointed!

Funnily enough, this was an area (erratic, not erotic) about which (a different) Graham and Hilary had raved when we bumped into them on BB1133. For those who, like I was, are ignorant about Erratica, let me quote from the My Pennines website:

The Norber Erratics are glacially-transported sandstone boulders found near Austwick in North Yorkshire. They were eroded from cliffs 1km away to the north in Crummackdale and were deposited at Norber on Carboniferous limestones when the ice melted about 15,000 years ago. Some of the larger erratics have protected the limestone beneath them while the surrounding surface has slowly been dissolved away by acid soil-water. These erratics now rest on upstanding blocks of limestone, known as pedestals, some of which reach 60cm in height.

Our meeting place was Austwick, a pretty little village on the edge of the hills.

Austwick houses

An Austwick house

I seemed to recall that it was the setting for a TV series some years ago about two brothers, one living in poverty on the moors near a village based on Austwick, the other having a fine time in London. I thought it was called something like Rich Man, Poor Man or North and South.  However, an internet search proved these to be other offerings but provided no relevant alternative.  So I phoned the Settle Tourist Information Office and a lady there suggested This Year, Next Year.  Another search provided just one relevant item, from the Telegraph and Argus.  In 2002, it said:

25 years ago

A LOCALLY written and filmed drama had proved one of television's biggest hits. More than 20 million viewers had tuned in to watch This Year, Next Year, a 13-part saga about life in the Yorkshire Dales written by Giggleswick man John Finch. The drama was filmed in North Craven, principally around Langcliffe, Stainforth, Rathmell and Austwick and the cast list featured some well known names including Jill Summers (Phyllis Pearce on Coronation Street), Ronald Hines, Michael Elphick, Alan McNaughton and Julie Peasgood.

So I wasn't going senile after all!  

Although maybe the London bit was a confusion with something else.  

Odd that it should date back to 1977.

Today is the birthday of my son and occasional BOOTboy, Jamie.

By one of life's strange coincidences, 1977 is the year of his birth!  

Happy birthday, Jamie!


We parked near the The Game Cock Inn (now, now, don't be naughty!) hoping to make a closer acquaintance with it in a few hours time. Graham thought he knew the way to the erratics from his fell running days and, indeed, he seemed to want to go the way I had intended.  So up the lane and over the fields we trotted and onto the open fell.


Improbable as it may seem, I don't think we really found them. The instructions I had seen on the web suggested that they were all over the place and you just needed to wander round to discover them.  Maybe we went too high too soon, I don't know.  Maybe we crossed the wall in the wrong place- we didn't find a gate or stile but did find a broken section which Stan more or less rebuilt after we had crossed.

Stan waiting for John so he could rebuild the wall

Do you find this erratic?

A limestone pavement

Or is this more your style?

We did find some odd shaped rocks and lots of limestone pavements but nothing like the erratics as described above or on the My Pennines website.  Still, it's an excuse to return another day on a more focused expedition.

Please don't take the above a complaint.  In fact, once the initial climbing was over, this proved to be a most enjoyable walk around Crummock Dale.  Interesting terrain and fine long distance views.

Moughton Scars, Pen-y-Ghent behind

The amateur snaps the professional photographing Pen-y-Ghent

Comitibus:  Sulber Gate

180 degree panorama from Ingleborough round to Pen-y-Ghent

After lunching near Sulber Gate we dropped down to the plateau above Moughton Scars and then, a little later, descended down into the valley.

Dropping down to Moughton Scars

Moughton Scars

Looking down Crummock Dale

From here it was a walled farm track most of the way back.  We did take a short detour to look at an ancient bridge, following which we came into the hamlet of Wharfe which, before you ask, is nothing to do with Wharfedale.

Looking across to Thwaite Scars

Comitibus:  Austwick Beck

Wharfe with Long Scar behind

Continuing on farm tracks rather than road as far as we could, we crossed another stone bridge where I tried to take an Abbey Road type picture but it didn't quite work!

We reached Austwick, just in time to have a pint the award winning Nutty Black in the Game Cock, a fine pub, before it closed.

The Game Cock Inn

Mine Host

Returning to the car, I misread the sign on a gate.

I thought it said Error Terrace.  My mistake!

Emor or Error?

The Howitzer

On our way down in the morning Graham asked if I had seen the howitzer?  By the time I understood what he meant, it was too late. On the return, I paid more attention.  Near Ingleton there is a field on the west side of the road with military equipment including a howitzer.  I had seen this before several times but just thought that it was some building machinery- a form of crane, perhaps.  I hadn't realised that it was for the defence of Yorkshire against marauding Lancastrians!

Don, 17th November 2011

Post Script: 

Confession time,  Actually what Stephen asked was not whether I had ever seen Norma's Erratics but whether I had ever seen Norma's Improbables but, as the man said, never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Talking of improbables (and definitely not erotics) we have uncovered an odd series of links from Big Josie, of the Burnmoor Inn and original BOOTboys fame, to The Three Shires Inn of Tony's family to naked men from the rather upmarket Sharrow Bay Hotel on Ullswater and by a separate route, much to my surprise, to me!

To find out more, see Our Links to Big Josie.



The Gate, the Thieves and the Beggar

After reading the report, Hilary, of Graham and Hilary fame - see fourth para above, wrote to tell me about a walk they had done in the same area known as The Gate, the Thieves and the Beggar.  This goes from Sulber Gate, across Thieves Moss and down Beggar's Style.

Try as I might, whilst I could find Sulber Gate (it's where we had lunch), I failed to find either the moss or the style.  That's because I was working from the Harvey's map as my OS 1:25k map didn't cover the area.

However, I do have that map but it is on an old computer- like a lot of things, it didn't transfer when I upgraded (stupidly) from Windows XP to Windows 7.  When I reverted to the old machine, what did I find but that our way back from Sulber Gate was across Thieves Moss but rather than go down Beggars Style we continued some way further on before descending to the valley.  

What a pity I hadn't known the names.  The Gate, the Thieves and the Beggars is a far better title than my silly joke!







Thursday 17th November

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:




Other Features:

Norber Erratics, Moughton Scars


Don, Graham, James,
John L, Pete, Stan Stuart



BOOTboys routes ares now being put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1134.

To see which Wainwright top (excluding Outlying Fells) was visited on which BB outing see Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights see: BB Log.



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2011 Outings

BB1101 :
Wasnfell Revisited
Tuseday 11th January

BB1102 :
Recuperation Scar!
Thursday 17th February

BB1103 :
A Promenade of Pensioners
Thursday 24th February

BB1104 :
The B Team
Thursday 3rd March

BB1105 :
  A Little Bit Of Wind
Thursday 10th March

BB1106 :
A Linthwaite Round
Thursday 17th March

BB1107 :
Home From The Pulpit
Thursday 24th March

BB1108 :
Taking The Brunt
Thursday 31st March

BB1109 :
Up The Spout
Wednesday 6th April

BB1110 :
Not The Royal Wedding
Friday 29th April

BB1111 :
Kentmere Parts 1 & 2
Thurs 5th, Saturday 7th May

BB1112 :
Five Unknown Tarns
Wednesday 11th May

BB1113 :
Gurnal Dubbs Revisited
Thursday 19th May

BB1114 :
A March Through The Mist
Wednesday 1st June

BB1115 :
Brief Encounter
Wednesday 8th June

BB1116 :
Extraordinary and
Lesser Mortals
Wednesday 15th June

BB1117 :
Farewell David Daw
Wednesday 29th June

BB1118 :
West Side Story
Thursday 7th July

BB1119 :
st Side Story
Wednesday 13th July

 BB1120 :
All The Way From Barrow
Wednesday 20th July

 BB1121 :
Suitable For The Guests!
Thursday 28th July

BB1122 :
Graylings In Flagrante
Wednesday 3rd August

BB1123 :
The First Indecision Outing
Wednesday 24th August

BB1124 :
The Second Indecision Outing
Thursday 25th August

BB1125 :
The Tale of Tony's Triumph
Wednesday 31st August

BB1126 :
The Gunpowder Trail
Wednesday 7th September

BB1127 :
Four Lords a-Leaping
Thursday 15th September

BB1128 :
Heversham Head and Mhor
Thursday 22nd September

BB1129 :
Training For The Himalayas
Wednesday 28th September

BB1130 :
Turn Again, Whittington
Thursday 13th October

BB1131 :
The Windermere Three Peaks
Thursday 20th October

BB1132 :
Perfect Pies
Wednesday 26th October

BB1133 :
Ol' Men Rovin' 
Wednesday 9th November

BB1134 :
Erotic, Erratic, Improbable
Or What?
Thursday 17th November

BB1135 :
The Princess, the King
and the Tower
Wednesday 23rd November

BB1136 :
The Leck Beck Trek
Wednesday 30th November

BB1137 :
The Wild Wet Show
Thursday 8th December

BB1138 :
Of Mice and Men
Thursday 15th December

BB1139 :
The Old Stink
Wednesday 21st December

BB1140 :
The Castle and The Priory
Thursday 29th December


The Way Of The Roses
12th - 14th September


 Click on the photos
for an enlargement
or related large picture.


To see which Wainwright
top was visited on which
BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?.

To download a log of heights and miles and which Wainwrights
have been done by which BOOT
boy in the"modern" era, i.e. since the advent
click on BB Log.