Yorkshire Photo Explorer

Embsay Reservoir

Embsay Reservoir sunrise

Embsay Reservoir is located above the village of Embsay, north of Skipton, North Yorkshire. Constructed between 1904 and 1910 to provide a continuous source of clean drinking water to Skipton, it was opened on 21 June 1910 to a crowd of hundreds of onlookers¹. Today, Embsay Reservoir is home to the Craven Sailing Club and is a popular location for walking, whether a leisurely stroll around the reservoir, or a hike up onto the surrounding moors.

I arrived before sunrise in the hope of getting some good reflections on the water. From the car park, I headed off clockwise around the reservoir path, looking for some interesting foregrounds. There isn’t actually much to use as foreground when the water is high. The only rocks I found were on the north-western edge. However, as the sun began to rise and the sky turned pink-orange, they acted as a good focal point.

Embsay Reservoir sunrise

As it got lighter, the clouds began to roll in and the wind temporarily dropped, creating some reflections on the water.

Embsay Reservoir

At this point it began to rain, so I wandered around to the other side of the reservoir. The pump house is an interesting feature.

Embsay Reservoir

After doing the full circuit, I decided to head up the moor. The path was very boggy, but the views were good. As I neared the top, the sun started to break through the clouds.

View of Embsay Reservoir from the moor

There were a number of red grouse calling. It took a while to spot them, but after sitting still on some rocks, a couple landed nearby.

Red Grouse, Embsay Reservoir

It had turned into a beautiful sunny day by now, so I headed back down to the reservoir and wandered along the path.

Embsay Reservoir

Now it had stopped raining, I could also try a shot I had considered earlier of the pump house.

Embsay Reservoir

Here are a few more photos from my visit to Embsay Reservoir (click on an image to enlarge):

Approximate post code (for sat nav) BD23 6PR
Parking There is a free car park just next to the reservoir off Pasture Road (Yorkshire Water car park)
Directions There is a trail running around the reservoir. It is mostly unpaved and muddy after rain. To get to the moor for the viewpoint above, at the end of Pasture Road, go over the stile at the north western corner of the reservoir and then head up the track to the top of the hill. This path is boggy in places.

This is the location of Embsay Reservoir:

Notes for next time
  • Head up Embsay Crag for a different view
  • Try another sunrise when there is no wind
  • Try some long exposures to get the water smooth

¹ (2010) ‘The reservoir that brought water to the masses’, Craven Herald and Pioneer [online], 23 January 2010, http://www.cravenherald.co.uk/nostalgia/nostalgia_history/4861712.The_reservoir_that_brought_water_to_the_masses/ [accessed 15 April 2018]

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