BOWDERDALE, THE CALF, HAZELGILL KNOTT & WEST FELL
from BROW FOOT

 


Summary

Date - 5th August 2008 Distance - 11.5 miles
Map - OL19 Start point - Brow Foot (NY 683049)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
The Calf 2215 676 SD 6673 9705
Hazelgill Knott 1896 578 SD 6727 9967
West Fell 1778 542 NY 6703 0152

 

Preface

Shaun and Tetley, with Little Eric looking on, were in deep conversation and leafing through a book, when Allen and Grizzly strolled in.

"What are you doing", asked Grizzly.

"Shaun and I have been reminiscing about those five walks we have done to the hills and valleys in the northern part of the Howgill Fells", replied Tetley.

"Oh yes", said Allen. "They were hard going for Dad and Uncle Eric, as the valleys are very deep with the steep sided fells on either side. They are lonely places too, as we met very few people on them."

Just then Dad walked in having overheard some of what we were talking about. He remarked, "of all the ones we have climbed it is Simon's Seat that will stick in my mind". It is like an upturned pudding and whichever side you attack it from it is unrelentingly steep!" I doubt we will revisit it again."

"The first walk to Blease Fell & Hare Shaw, was before Allen joined the club, so you will have to do that one again for his sake", said Shaun.

Allen's face brightened, when Dad replied, "yes, I will take him there."

Allen then chirped up, "haven't we still got one top to do on the north side?"

"Hazelgill Knott", replied Tetley immediately.

"Well that was what I was coming to tell you", said Dad. "I have arranged to walk with Uncle Eric on Wednesday to climb that very hill. We will also be walking along that long and lonely valley of Bowderdale on the outwards part of the walk."

"That's just great", we all called out. "Roll on Wednesday."

 

The Walk

We were up early and got our picnic packed up, then settled on the front passenger seat ready for the drive to Uncle Eric's. Here we transferred to his car and drove from Kendal along the road to Tebay, where we took the A685 road. It is level, flat and straight, and we knew from previous journeys that this had once been a railway line. The "old" road was first to the south and then at Gaisgill crossed and ran alongside to the north. After about 4 miles, we turned right on a minor road signed Bowderdale. In a short distance we passed the house Brow Foot, and here the road became unfenced, allowing Uncle Eric to park. Boots were donned, and we jumped into the rucksack that Dad then shouldered, and off we went. The narrow road took us to the tiny hamlet of Bowderdale, where a signpost directed us on our route.

Initially the track led along by walls, and just before the last one turned away left, the valley opened up before us. The steep sided fell on its right is West Fell along the top of which we were to walk on our return. The prominent distant hill is called Yarlside (2097ft). We had climbed that in March 2005.

Now we entered the valley proper with it winding stream and the steep fells on either side. From the point where the walls end to its head, is about 3.5 miles, on fairly level ground for the most part, before the track climbed up the side to reach the ridge. Here is the view looking back just before the ridge is reached.

The fellside in the right foreground is Yarlside, the furthest back on the right having the rather unusual name of Hooksey. We had climbed this a few months earlier on 5th June, and here we are on the summit.

On that day too we had been fortunate to see some of the wild horses that live on these fells. Here is one with its foal.

It had been forecast to be a good day for the weather, but in the hills it can be very unpredictable, and a heavy shower took a little while to pass through. This was nothing however to the torrential rain that set in, in the evening. This made for a rather miserable half mile walk to the trig point on The Calf, the highest point in the Howgills. Grizzly, Allen & Little Eric, wish to say thank you to Uncle Eric and Dad for making this detour, so that they could bag the summit. Despite the rain we were not deterred and posed for our picture.

Safely tucked in the rucksack again, Dad and Uncle Eric retraced the path towards Bowderdale Head. Before reaching this however, they struck off left to pick up the track that led along the ridge above Bowderdale, and unerringly to Hazelgill Knott, the main reason for doing this walk. It is situated in the centre of the fells and cannot be reached without a long walk. We were all glad to have finally ticked it off. A tiny cairn of three stones marks the summit, just a few yards to the right of the path. We clustered round for our picture to mark the achievement.

Looking north west we could see the valley called Langdale. Again this illustrates how steep sided the valleys are. The high point on the right side of the valley is Langdale Knott (1566ft).

Now continuing on the ridge after a steepish descent there was a level section, before the gentle ascent to West Fell summit. This was in fact our second visit having climbed this on 11th December 2007, on the same day we climbed Langdale Knott. We now had another aspect of the Langdale Valley, this time looking back to the south.

"Is that Simon's Seat (1925ft), sitting in the centre at the head of the valley?" asked Grizzly.

"Yes" replied Tetley.

"We can understand, Dad, why you are reluctant to return, as it can be clearly seen how steep any approach will be", remarked Shaun.

"Please will you take our picture again here", asked Little Eric, "as I have not been here before".

"Sure", said Dad, turning the camera on us as we posed on the small pile of stones.

Then we continued along the ridge descending steadily for about a mile and a quarter, to join the bridleway that runs through Bowderdale. Then along the track by the walls to the road by the signpost, the subject of the first picture in our story, and just the short stroll along the road to Uncle Eric's car. It had been a long walk but interesting nevertheless, and for Shaun, Tetley, Grizzly and Dad completes our exploration of the northern valleys and hills of the Howgills.

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