Date - 2nd January 2011 Distance - 7.25 miles
Ascent -
930 ft
Map - OL19 Start point - Raisgill Hall (NY 635 058)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Rispa Pike 1554 473 NY 6382 0130
Elliot Howe 1102 336 NY 6420 0291



Years Day, and there had been hugs all round as we wished each other a Happy New Year.

Fred and Gladly, who are our Chief Hug Bears, came and sat chatting to us.

"You will be looking forward to more intrepid adventures this year", said Fred.

"We really think you are very brave to go to all those wild places and in all weathers too", went on Gladly.

"We just love be out on the walks and exploring the wild places and seeing the wonderful scenery", replied Allen.

"Have you set any targets for this year?", asked Fred.

"To complete the Birkett challenge to reach all 540 summits over 1000 feet in the Lake District", said Tetley. "One walk in particular will be very tough, so we will have to be patient until Dad feels able to tackle it."

Grizzly spoke up. "Last year Allen, Shaun Tetley and I completed the Howgill Fells, but Little Eric still has 12 to do. So Dad has agreed to revisit those summits so he too can complete the challenge. They will probably not all be done this year, but we hope Dad will take him to some.

"So exciting walks in prospect, and new areas to be visited", said Gladly.,

"Yes pal", said Allen.

Just then Shaun, and Little Eric with an excited look on his face, riding on his back arrived.

"Tea", cheered Allen, dashing off to get the mugs. "I'll get mugs for you two as well."

"Thanks", called out Fred.

They were soon charged and we all had steaming mugs in paw.

Little Eric piped up, "I come bearing news of our first walk this year. Dad has decided to make a start on taking me to the Howgill Fells I have yet to climb. The plan is to climb Rispa Pike & Elliot Howe."

"Great", said Grizzly. "When are we going?"

"Tomorrow", replied Little Eric.

"Uncle Brian, Fred, I and the rest of the hug will have a nice quiet day", laughed Gladly, holding his mug out for a refill.


The Walk

The day was dry and cloudy for the most part but visibility was good. The temperatures stayed around freezing all the time.

We all lent a paw getting the picnic ready and safely stowed in Allen's rucksack. As we heard Dad slam the boot shut after loading his gear, we dashed out and settled on the front seat.

The route was up the M6 to Tebay. "The start is along the old road near the Methodist Chapel", said Shaun.

"Ok lad, we'll take that from Tebay", replied Dad.

However this proved fruitless as there was no place to park. "Oh dear", said Little Eric.

"No problem", said Dad, "we'll just rejoin the new road at Gaisgill, then take the Orton Road, and park in the layby at Raisgill Hall."

"We have used this on previous walks with Uncle Eric", said Tetley.

Looking about as Dad got ready, Allen said, "aww look at that lovely little pony. A picture to start our story."

Then, seeing Dad was ready, we snuggled as deeply as we could in his rucksack.

Shaun issued instructions. "Return to the main road, and cross into Gaisgill going right along the old road."

Here Shaun gave further instructions. "now we take the footpath left across the fields to Gill Hole Farm. At the road it is then left towards Intake Farm."

Arriving there, Tetley pointed left, "that's Rispa Pike, Little Eric."

"Quite a distance to get there", he replied. "But I know Dad will be up to it as always."

"The road ends at the farm", said Grizzly, looking up from the map.

"Correct", said Shaun. "Now we just follow the track that leads to Whitefold Moss as indicated by the signpost."

The clear track led on, meandering to pass under the slopes of Weather Hill and Knott. "We climbed both those fells last February when we did the Tebaygill Horseshoe", commented Tetley.

There was sheet ice in places up to nearly 2 inches thick, so Dad had to resort to verge walking to avoid this. Eventually the large sheepfold came into view with Whitefold Moss beyond and Rispa Pike to the left.

"Our route is across the beck to pass the sheep fold, and then along that less distinct tractor track, that climbs while slanting left towards Rispa Pike", pointed Shaun.

As we gained the tractor track, Allen suggested, "this is a good place to get closer shot of the sheepfold. I wonder when it was built?"

None of us had a proper answer, but Grizzly said, "could be hundreds of years ago."

Dad climbed on, and about 200ft from summit altitude, he said, "the tractor track does not go to the summit, so now's the time to just strike left across the rough ground to gain the summit."

A stone shelter marks this, Little Eric calling out, great that's one ticked off. Let's have our picture taken."

"This stone looks like a good seat to sit", suggested Grizzly.

Then Allen called out, "please take a close-up shot too."

"Time for lunch" said Allen, slipping off his rucksack.

"Yes lad", replied Dad. "The climb is out of the way now."

As we munched our sandwiches and cake washed down with warming mugs of tea, we enjoyed the dramatic views all around. To the north the Pennines, Cross Fell and other higher tops covered in snow.

"That is a fine view south of the narrow valley of Uldale rising to Breaks Head", said Tetley.

"Looks very lonely", replied Little Eric.

"There is a path according to the map", said Shaun. "It leads to Blakethwaite Bottom, and area we visited on the walk to Black Force through Carlin Gill, with Uncle Eric."

And looking west to our beloved Lakeland Fells. Coniston Range, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Esk Pike, Great End and Great Gable to name a few. "Too far away to get a decent picture", said Dad sadly.

Packed up and settled again, and dragging our eyes from the views, Shaun said, "we just walk north along the descending ridge."

A clear tractor track soon emerged that led unerringly down over Uldale End and on to the barely imperceptible rise that is Elliot Howe.

"We have all, including me, been here before", said Little Eric.

"That's right", replied Tetley. "As well as this, we climbed Hand Lake, Docker Knott, Simon's Seat and Middleton that day. A long walk with Uncle Eric for company."

"But", said Grizzly, "Dad did not take our picture here. So come on pals time to rectify that."

Off again, the track led through a gate, to pass above Low Shaw Farm, and then to the buildings at Long Gills.

"According Wainwright, his walk now directs us over the fields to the hamlet of Longdale", said Allen, who was studying the book.

"Yes pal", agreed Shaun. "However the access land is now such that the only route is on along the track to Ellergill Farm and then across the bridge over the beck to the road between Longdale and Gaisgill."

As we headed along the road to Gaisgill, sheep were grazing in the fields, and seeing Dad getting the camera out, Allen said, "oh no, and I was doing so well to avoid sheep pictures."

As we crossed the main road, Grizzly told us, "until 1952 this was part of the South Durham & Lancashire Union Railway line between Tebay and Kirkby Stephen East, and there was a station here."

He went on, "Gaisgill Station was opened on 8th August 1861. The road now lies on the trackbed of the railway and the down platform. The up platform would have been where the wall stands and the grass verge in front of the buildings. The half timbered building is the old station house, now a private residence, and the main station building, seen beyond, is now a holiday bungalow. Where the minor road joins from the right there was a gated level crossing. A signal box stood immediately adjacent on the ground of the grass verge front right, controlling the level crossing and sidings."

For more information click the following link. Disused Stations: Gaisgill Station. , from which the image below has been sourced.

Now all that remained was to stroll along the road to the parking by Raisgill Hall.

Shaun attracted some sheep. "I'm going to get some close-up shots", said Dad as he hauled out the camera.

"Oh Ok", grumped Allen.

This first has had his horns cut, Shaun commenting, "they were perhaps pushing into its head."

"That one has a wonderfully impressive set of horns", pointed Tetley.

They were really attracted to Shaun, as they followed us, as Dad walked along by the fence.

"Thank you, Dad", said Little Eric earnestly. "The first of my 12 outstanding Howgills done."

"You are welcome lad. Bit by bit we will get them ticked off", replied Dad.

"So, refreshment time now?", said Tetley.

"Aye lad. Some warming food will be welcome. I will go to Steve and Joanne's at the Old School House in Tebay."

Pulling up outside, Allen said, "oh dear it's closed."

Dad thought a few seconds saying, "never mind. Instead I'll go to the Country Kitchen cafe at Bob Parratt's in Milnthorpe."

Chunky chicken soup, was followed by a bacon cheese and tomato melt baguette, and tea of course.

As we drove home Dad said, "the food was very good, and I can recommend it."

"A good day", said Grizzly, "and great to be back to Sunday walking and to get the 2011 account off to a good start!"

"Aye pal, a grand day out", agreed Tetley.


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