THE TEBAY GILL HORSESHOE in the HOWGILL FELLS,
from TEBAY VILLAGE

 


Summary

Date - 14th February 2010 Distance - 6.5 miles
Ascent -
1040ft
Map - OL19 Start point - Mount Pleasant, Tebay (NY 619045)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Roger Howe 1034 315 NY 6173 0303
Powson Knott 1227 374 NY 6192 0214
Blease Fell 1556 474 NY 6237 0045
Hare Shaw 1548 472 NY 6274 0130
Knott (Tebay Gill) 1280 391 NY 6309 0228
Weather Hill 1132 345 NY 6308 0319

 

Preface

Allen strolled in with Little Eric who had hitched a ride in his rucksack, to find Shaun and Tetley, pouring over some listings.

"What are you looking at?", he enquired.

"Dad has found time to analyse our Howgill Fells challenge. So now we know which fells each of us need to climb to catch up with Dad", replied Shaun.

"He has said too, that he will take us to all these before doing the ones that he has not climbed, so that we can all finish them together, like we did with the Outlying Fells last year", went on Tetley.

"How many walks does it involve?", asked Allen, eager to know all the facts.

"Of those in the main Howgill massiff, five in all. Two on the north side, one on the west and two on the south", replied Shaun, after consulting the lists.

Continuing on the same theme, Tetley added, "there is also the matter of the Whinfell Ridge, that just Shaun and I have done. It was a substantial walk , as besides the five tops in the ridge from west to east, there is then the matter of returning through the Borrowdale Valley. In this regard, Shaun and I have been looking at Dad's copy of A. Wainwright's 'Walks on the Howgill Fells'. This details a number of walks that do the ridge in parts that will actually make it more interesting, as doing it this way we will visit areas we have not been to before."

"Sounds good", replied Allen. Then after gathering his thoughts for a moment, "that will make seven or eight walks in total."

"Yes", said Shaun.

"By the way, where's Grizzly?", asked Tetley.

"Watching some sci-fi programme on television with some of his pals and Dad", replied Allen.

However just then he trotted into the room.

"Did you enjoy it?, asked Tetley.

"Sure did", he replied. "I also have good news too. Now that Dad has worked out the Howgill Fells we have to climb, he is eager to get on with ticking them off for us, so our walk on Sunday will be from Tebay doing the round to Blease Fell."

Consulting the lists again, Shaun interjected, "that is good news for you Allen and Little Eric, as they are on your individual lists, and five tops will be ticked off."

"Great", called out Allen, doing somersaults round the room!"

 

The Walk

It was not a long distance to the start, just north along the M6 to Junction 38, so Dad decided that we did not need to set off too early.

When we heard Dad loading his gear, Grizzly called out, "come and let me put our picnic in your rucksack, Allen"

"Coming" he called out in reply".

That done we dashed out and settled on the front seat of the car ready for the off. The motorway was quiet and we got to Tebay without any delays.

As we drove along the slip road, Little Eric asked, "which way are we going at the roundabout today?"

"To the right towards Kendal, and when we get to the sharp bend at the top of the hill, we park just along the narrow road on the left", replied Dad. This was in fact the original road to Kirkby Stephen, prior to the new road being built on the old railway line", he added.

So, before we set off here is a map of our route -

From Tebay the route was south along the ridge above the Lune Gorge to Blease Fell. The M6 shows up clearly to the left. After enjoying the view from Blease Fell, we turned north along the ridge to the east of Tebay Gill to return to the start. Within the bounds of the route, the ravine of Tebay Gill, is clearly visible.

Between the buildings, a narrow road climbed up splitting a few times to lead to the scattered buildings. At the third fork, our route was to the left towards the building called Tebay Ghyll, indicated by its name painted on this stone boulder.

Looking back the village of Tebay lay below, with the M6 motorway sweeping north into the mist beyond.

A group of horses were unconcernedly munching away at the grass, totally ignoring Dad. A small group we thought of the many wild horses that roam freely on the Howgill Fells.

As Dad finally put his camera away, Shaun piped up, "come on Dad, we had better be getting on or we will never complete the walk."

"OK", replied Dad striding purposefully on up the hill.

The rough track continued past Tebay Ghyll and skirted below the first summit Roger Howe. We needed to climb to this summit, so Dad struck off half right over the thick grassy terrain to accomplish this. The top is a wide flat area, but from a previous visit Dad had the grid reference for the spot height marked on the map. We all hopped out and settled amongst the grass, so that Dad could take our picture for the record. Then on ahead and left to regain the cart track. The map indicated that this ended before the next summit, but we could see clearly that it continued well beyond and in fact all the way to Blease Fell our furthest point south today. So striding the track, the ground rose ahead to the summit of Powson Knott. Another unmarked grassy top, where we settled again for our picture.

As Dad strode on, we could see away to the right over the Lune Gorge, the pretty and unspoilt valley of Borrowdale (in Westmorland), not to be confused with its more dramatic and beautiful namesake near Keswick, in the Northern Lakes.

Visibility was not brilliant today, so the ridge to its southern side is rather lost in the mist, the summits in view being from left to right, Whinfell & Castle Fell. The valley heads due west before swinging north west below the hills.

"It was absolutely idyllic walking through that valley", remarked Shaun.

"I agree", replied Tetley. "It is seven years ago too. How time flies."

After a last lingering look, Dad strode off again, heading on south along the cart track, descending slightly at first, before climbing on to our ultimate goal of Blease Fell. The track had been dry and run straight and true, but we encountered a rather boggy section on the final ascent.

"Look there is the cairn", called out Allen, urging Dad to head to it.

"Hold on a minute", replied Grizzly. "That is the viewpoint, but not the summit, which is amongst that bog and long grass to the left."

Using the GPS, Dad cast around to find as near as possible the position of the spot height on the map. Again the summit area was a large flat expanse, so actually deciding the highest point was a little difficult. After a minute or so Dad stopped and declared, "this will do". We were getting rather fed up of the fact that there were no cairns marking the summits, so a little grumpily we hopped out and settled on a large grassy tussock for our picture. Jumping into the rucksack, Dad then took us to the cairn, where the view is quite dramatic.

Unaffected by human intervention the River Lune, carves its way through the valley on its route to Morecambe Bay. Man's influence can be seen with first the Victorians who built the railway - part of the main line between London and Scotland. In the 1970's following a similar line but higher up the hillside the civil engineers built the M6 motorway. It is tiered on its passage through the gorge. This lessens the impact on the landscape, and helps to prevent closure in severe snowy conditions. The narrow road to the left, starts from the A685 Tebay to Kendal road, at Low Borrowbridge and runs under the west side of the Howgills eventually to Sedbergh. Part of the first section, known as Fairmile Road, is in fact on the course of a Roman Road, there having been a fort near Low Borrowbridge.

"Time for lunch, so get the sandwiches out", said Shaun.

"OK", replied Allen taking his rucksack off.

Dad got his sandwiches out too, and we all sat munching away, enjoying the lovely view before us and it was with some reluctance that we packed up and settled in Dad's rucksack for the return leg.

A clear path was followed that seemed to be curving round to the north, but then it started descending and turned more east, not the direction we wanted to go. So this was abandoned and Dad altered his heading north across the rough boggy trackless ground.

Suddenly Little Eric called out, "look there are the group of wild fell horses we saw from the other side as we approached Blease Fell."

They were making their way in that direction now, but we wanted Dad to try and get a picture. However they were totally unconcerned about us, and not for posing for Dad, but he did manage to get this shot of the last one as it walked slowly away. It makes plain too, how deep the tussocky terrain was.

Hare Shaw was clearly in view ahead, and finally a track materialised that we followed to its summit.

As we approached Allen let out a cry, "at last a cairn for us to sit on for our summit picture."

The track led on down and then up the gentle slopes of Knott, where we deviated a little to its summit. This is in fact one of three summits in the Howgills called Knott. For us all to complete this challenge, Dad will have to take us to the summit of all three! Continuing north we could see ahead the modest rise that is Weather Hill and after a further walk of about half a mile or so its flat unmarked summit was attained too. Pictures were taken but we think there has been quite enough of us on this walk already. A very gentle descent soon brought us to the bridleway and the sadly forlorn and neglected buildings of Waskew Head. Turning left the bridleway was followed down eventually crossing Tebay Gill Beck by a stone arched bridge, the south retaining wall of which was in need of considerable repair.

"The stream with its rocks looks like it might make an interesting picture", remarked Tetley.

"OK, we'll have a look" replied Dad, as he clambered down the bank and lined up the camera.

Strolling on along the track, we soon reached the junction where we had walked up past Tebay Ghyll this morning. Just a short stroll along the road and we were back at the car.

We settled in the car to have the rest of our picnic, while Dad went in search of refreshment. We expected him to drive to Junction 38 services, but as we had parked this morning Dad had noticed the Old School Guest House & Tearoom, just a few yards away, so he decided to go here today.

The building was as it says the old school, and is owned by Steve & Joanne. They bought it some years ago and operated it as a guest house, but last year they opened the tearoom, in what was one of the old classrooms. It is very nicely appointed, homely and welcoming. Dad had a lovely bowl of soup, then a nice roast pork dinner, well deserved we agreed after his efforts today. There is a wide range of food on offer, and the tearoom is open every day. For more information click the following link - www.theoldschooltebay.co.uk.

Suitably rejuvenated all that remained was for Dad to drive us home, going along the old road to Kendal, and then to Low Sizergh Barn farmshop, where we bought some delicious Oaties biscuits, to take home for Uncle Brian. They are his favourites.

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