CAPPLE HOWE, SOUR HOWS & SALLOWS from BROWFOOT LANE

 


Summary

Date - 17th February 2013 Distance - 7 miles
Ascent -
1310ft
Map - OL7 Start point - End of Browfoot Lane (NY 4479 0038)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Capple Howe 1460 445 NY 4321 0289
Sour Hows 1585 483 NY 4283 0320
Sallows 1691 516

NY 4365 0398

 

Preface

Shaun and Grizzly had arrived with the tea and cake, to find Allen and Little Eric, sitting in front of the laptop.

"What are you doing?", Grizzly asked.

"I wanted to see some of the walks you all had done before I was born in 2008, so with Allen's help we have been having a look, and he has been reminiscing."

"Having done so many walks, I had forgotten many of those we did between 2005, when I first joined the club, and 2008", said Allen. "Nearly every time we were either on the Lakeland Fells or in the Yorkshire Dales. It is no wonder that Dad, Shaun and Tetley, seemed to race through the second half of the Wainwrights."

"And then Dad was good enough to repeat 99 of them so that you and I could also complete the Wainwright challenge", added Grizzly.

"I'll go and get the mugs and plates said Allen", who was eyeing the flasks and cake tin hungrily.

"I have done something different today", went on Grizzly. "Apricot and cherry slice, so I hope you like it."

"Sounds delicious", said Shaun, filling the mugs with tea."

Meanwhile Allen had passed round the plates and helped himself to a piece if cake. He sank his teeth into the slice, and closing his eyes with ecstasy, said, "it's the best yet pal. Absolutely scrumptious."

Little Eric paused with his mug halfway to his mouth, saying, "where's Tetley?"

Helpfully Shaun replied, "he has gone to see Dad to find out when he is next free to take us walking."

Seeing Allen and Grizzly helping themselves to another slice of cake, Little Eric replied, "well he better hurry up or else all the cake will be gone."

Unbeknown Tetley had quietly glided into the room, and now said, "I heard that!"

It made Little Eric jump, but recovering he passed Tetley a plate and offered the cake tin, while Shaun passed him a steaming mug of tea.

Sinking his teeth into the slice, he echoed Allen's opinion, "this is really delicious Grizzly." Then after a pause for a drink, he said, "Dad says we can walk on Sunday, and he has suggested a hill walk too, but wants us to decide which ones we are to climb."

"I'll check the weather", said Little Eric, grabbing the iPad. After a few taps with his paw, he said, "it will be dry and mostly sunny, but breezy and a bit cold on the tops."

"Great", replied Allen. "So, where to go."

"Somewhere Little Eric has not been, and where we have not been for some years, sounds the best idea", said Shaun.

"You have the best memory Tetley ", said Grizzly, "I'm sure you can come up with a suggestion."

"Well now you say, I was thinking about that after leaving Dad. I thought we could do Capple Howe, Sour Hows and Sallows. We have not been there since November 2006, and being above Kentmere, it will not be too far a drive to the start."

"Doesn't that mean having to slog up the Garburn Pass?", said Allen.

"Not if we do it by the route suggested by Birkett, from the end of Browfoot Lane. The only thing is that there is very limited parking and never having been there before by road, we do not know what to expect."

Draining his mug and grabbing the Birkett almanac, Allen said, "I'll go and see what Dad thinks, Tetley."

"Ooh I hope he agrees, as it will be another part of Lakeland that I have then explored", said Little Eric nervously.

"You had better refill Allen's mug for when he gets back, as we all know what a tea belly he is", laughed Grizzly, in reply.

The smile on Allen's face told us all was well, as he gratefully accepted the steaming mug. "Dad reckons very few cars actually go along Browfoot Lane, so is confident he will find spot to park."

"Great!", exclaimed Little Eric, happily.

 

The Walk

Sunday dawned and we were greeted with blue skies.

"I'll help you with the sandwiches", called out Tetley.

"Thanks pal", replied Grizzly.

They were soon done and safely stowed in Allen's rucksack, together with some flasks of tea that would be welcome, as while it was fairly calm at lower levels it was to be a breezy day on the fells. We heard Dad slam the boot of the car shut, so calling goodbyes to Uncle Brian and Gladly, who was helping him with the crossword, we dashed out and settled in the car.

It was not many miles before we were driving north on the M6, just to the next junction and then along the dual carriageway that bypasses Kendal and so towards Windermere. Turning off into the village of Staveley, it was then right along the road signed Kentmere.

Looking at the map, Shaun said "at the junction, we do not cross the River Kent, but keep on ahead along the rather narrow Browfoot Lane."

And indeed it was. As Dad had said it is unfrequented by cars, and from the state of the road beyond the few houses very very few probably go to the end of the lane. The only non pedestrians we saw in either direction were two cyclists that we passed on the way there and who Dad chatted to briefly after he had parked. The tarmac peters out at the t-junction with the good but unsurfaced track of the bridleway. Turning right on to this, Dad squeezed the car in by the wall. There is perhaps space for about three cars in all, but Dad's was the only one there today.

Dad was soon ready and we hopped into the rucksack and got settled. Our way from the junction was right along the bridleway in the direction the car was facing. As can be seen from the sign, it eventually leads to Kentmere Hall.

Shaun said, "the path crosses beside Mickle Moss and then on to come beside Park Beck, which is as far as we will go. Beyond it then continues round Whiteside End and down by Hall Wood to Kentmere Hall.

Tetley said, " I recall way back in 2002 when Shaun and I first started going regularly with Dad that we did a walk, that took us past Kentmere Hall. We have also walked the section past Whiteside End, too."

Checking the archives we found that Dad took a picture of the Hall.

As can be seen Kentmere Hall was originally a stunning 14th century tunnel-vaulted pele tower with five-foot thick walls, that now has a 20th century flat roof replacing the original pitched roof. It was originally 4 storeys including a vaulted ground floor and turrets. One of the original windows and the spiral staircase remain. It has slit openings and as can be seen in the picture, there is a medieval window in the south wall of 2 trefoiled ogee lights in a square head with moulded label and a blank panel over. The tower was extended in the 15th or 16th century into a residence and is now a farmhouse.

Right, we had better get on with the tale of our adventure today! The bridleway led to a junction, where it was right and then on along the walled track to a signed junction with two adjacent gates.

"Our route is through the metal gate", advised Shaun.

Initially the path was grassy and muddy, but soon developed into a narrow track that was muddy and flooded in places, as can be seen below, before one of the four more gates we had to pass through with walled pasture to the left and open land including Mickle Moss to the right. The snowcapped fells are the eastern side of the Kentmere Horseshoe, from left to right Harter Fell, Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts, with on the far right Green Quarter Fell.

After the third gate the view opened up to the left and ahead, and Tetley said, "look Little Eric there are the fells we are to climb today. To the left is Capple Howe, with beyond the line of trees Sour Hows."

"then ahead and left with the snow on its flank, Sallows."

"Thanks Tetley, that has really set out the route we have to take", replied Little Eric, gratefully.

"I wonder what the names mean?", mused Allen.

"I can help there", replied Grizzly, as I looked them up in Dad's book of place names of Lakeland by Diana Whaley. Capple Howe means 'Horse Hill', while Sour Hows means 'The poor boggy hills'. Sallows meanwhile is less clear but probably means 'The Willows', as some species of which, that abound in Cumbria, do grow at such altitudes."

"Thank you Grizzly, that was most thoughtful of you", replied Allen.

After the last gate, Shaun said, "according to Birkett we should take the path left by the stand of rowan trees"

Looking ahead, Tetley said, "well that's a bit confusing, as there are at least two stands of trees I can see. They have obviously grown since the book was written nearly twenty years ago"

As a result we missed the path, but Shaun said, "it will not matter so long as we go to the point where the wall turns a right angles towards Capple Howe."

So, after walking a little further, Dad struck left to soon find the path that skirted the wall corner and then went on beside the wall to a gate at the next corner and so on to open fell.

"Birkett now says, "make the strenuous climb to Capple Howe", remarked Shaun.

"It does not look particularly steep", replied Dad putting best foot forward, but then after a couple of minutes he paused to catch his breath and said, "I take it back, Birkett is right, it is definitely steeper than it looks."

In a fierce whisper, Allen then said, "there are deer up on the fell away to the right."

Grizzly remarked, "mostly stags too, the acronym of our club name."

We stood watching them for a minute or so and then Dad continued the ascent and after a few more minutes the deer turned and wandered off in the direction of Sallows. Soon, with steady effort we reached the summit of Capple Howe, where just a few stones make up the tiny cairn that we sat by for our usual picture. Well it is time we made an appearance, we think!

"Just look at that magnificent view", exclaimed Little Eric. "That is just reward for Dad's efforts. I know the mountains are the Coniston Fells, but I have not yet got the names properly fixed in my mind."

Helpfully Tetley replied, "we are looking over Applethwaite Common and indeed the magnificent mountain prospect is the Coniston range. From the left Coniston Old Man, Brim Fell, Swirl How at the back with the bulk of Wetherlam in front. Far right is the ridge known as Wet Side Edge with Hell Gill Pike that descends to the Wrynose Pass."

Tearing our eyes from this view, we now turned our attention more to the right and Little Eric called out, "that's the conifer plantation we could see from the track that lies

between here and Sour Hows."

"Correct pal", replied Shaun kindly. "We head for the left end of the trees where Birkett says there is a stile over the fence."

So, settled in the rucksack again, Dad strode off and soon we reached the fence/ruined wall by the conifer plantation. It seems that perhaps the fence has been replaced since the book was written and the stile is no longer there, but it was obvious where people had bent the fence top down and Dad made short work of climbing over. Then he headed straight up picking up a good path that led directly to the top of Sour Hows.

"Wow!", exclaimed Little Eric, as he surveyed the further magnificent views that this summit provided.

"You have seen this prospect before from other places, so come on have a go at naming the fells", encouraged Tetley.

"OK pal", replied Little Eric. Then thinking for a few seconds he took a deep breath and said, from the left the rounded undulating ridge is the Crinkle Crags, then Shelter Crags falling to the col of Three Tarns. Right if that is Bowfell, Esk Pike and the darker bulk of Great End, with the Langdale Pikes on the far right. I guess too that behind the col, is part of the Scafell range, but I am not sure what exactly."

"Well done", responded Tetley. "See, I said you would get the names fixed in your mind." Then he said, "go on Allen, help him out with the fells behind the col of Three Tarns.

"I reckon it's Scafell with the ridge of Slight Side on the left", he replied.

"I agree", responded Tetley.

We now turned our eyes to the north for a view of the fells to the east of Kirkstone Pass and Little Eric said, "We saw these recently from Wansfell, so I will try to remember and name them too."

Again he paused a few seconds to gather this thoughts, then said, "that is Caudale Moor rising to Stony Cove Pike, then I think the col between is called Threshthwaite Mouth. That's the difficult part, as I know the ridge on the right is part of the Kentmere Fells, being from the back, Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick and Ill Bell."

"That's spot on", cried Grizzly, giving his pal a pat on the back.

There was just one more thing to do before we set off again, which was to pose for our picture at the summit, after which Shaun said, "our route is on the path that winds its way through the hillocks ahead and then along by the wall that can be seen running across the shoulder to the right."

Along the way we passed some Herdwick sheep, so sorry here's yet another sheep picture.

"We will come to a stile in the wall, which we need to climb over to give us access to Sallows", advised Shaun.

This done it was then just the matter of walking up and along the ridge to the summit of Sallows, Dad's feet at times sinking into the deep drifts of snow in the gullies. The summit is marked by a small ridge, where we posed again for our picture. Breezy up here in the easterly wind as can be seen by Grizzly's scarf.

"Great", cried Little Eric, "That's three more Birketts bagged and two Wainwrights as well."

"Where now Shaun?", asked Dad.

Birkett says we continue east along the ridge, descending, until we reach and old stone shooting butt, where we then turn right to head south down the flank."

"Thanks Lad."

So we settled ourselves in the rucksack and Dad strode off. A clear path ran along the fell, undulating somewhat and quite suddenly there before us was the shooting butt, with the village of Kentmere nestled in the valley, surrounded by a patchwork of stone walled pastures, as a backdrop.

"There is no path down the fell, but as long as we keep roughly south we will come to the old track from the quarry, which we then turn left along", advised Shaun.

The descent was rough and steep and we felt for Dad, as his knees did not enjoy the pressure and discomfit, but finally it was done and the track reached.

Its course can be clearly seen rounding the slope with the two small trees, to then traverse right under the shoulder of Long Crag in the centre.

"We will come to stile that leads into a pasture and we walk directly down this to a gate. Then we cross Park Beck to regain the bridleway", said Shaun."

Ooh I hope that the beck will be easy to cross, not like that one when we did the Devoke Water circuit", said Little Eric.

Dad made good progress along the track and then across the pasture, and large convenient boulders providing an easy crossing of the beck, much to everyone's relief. This shot was taken after we had crossed.

We went ahead along the bridleway, coming fairly soon to the point where we had left it earlier to commence the climb to Capple Howe.

Grizzly said, "let's see if we can spot the path we should have taken this morning that according to Birkett is close to a stand of rowans."

So we watched carefully as Dad walked along. Suddenly Allen called out, "here it is."

"No wonder we missed it", said Tetley. "The stand of trees that Birkett refers to has died and mostly fallen down since the book was written and with the others have grown since, causing the confusion."

"Well at least it was not exactly crucial to find that path", added Shaun.

So now it was just the case of retracing our outwards route to the car. As we strolled along Little Eric, looking over the wall to the pastures, said, "the farmer has arrived to feed his flock. Just look how the sheep are lined up where the feed has been scattered."

Soon after, we reached the iron gate by the three-armed signpost, our way being as directed towards Grassgarth.

From here we strode the track to the next junction, there going left to the car. We had met no one at all on the fells, but saw a few people on the track to the car.

"Thanks for a good day Dad", said Tetley on behalf of us all. "It was good to be on the fells again."

So Dad got his boots off, and then he drove us home and thankfully too we again did not meet another vehicle along Browfoot Lane.

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