Allen has his paws full, dealing with writing the blogs for our walks in the Lake District, and because I come from Yorkshire, it therefore seemed appropriate that I should write the blog for the Howgill Fells, and indeed also the Yorkshire Dales Fells that are the subject of a separate blog.


9th June 2013 - Langdale Knott from Raisgill Hall

So the momentous day arrived for Little Eric, as by reaching the summit of Langdale Knott, he would complete the Howgill challenge, so catching up with the rest of us. This week has been summer at last with warm temperatures and blue skies, but today as we approached Tebay on the M6, there was a little rain shower, but that was all the rain we saw today. It had been bright sun and warm at home, but when we arrived at Raisgill Bridge to park the temp was 10 degrees. Still it did soon warm up with the sunny periods, Dad was able to walk in t-shirt and shorts for the first time since I cannot remember when! The actual walk starts in the hamlet of Longdale, but the school referred to by Wainwright is long gone, so it is not really possible to park there now, so we use the pull in by Raisgill Hall instead. From here walked along the road, to cross the main road and walk into Gaisgill, then taking the single track road to the hamlet of Longdale. Here, as Wainwright instructs, we walked along the lane to Town Head, where presented with the two gates we took the one on the left, on to Cowbound Lane that soon swung right and climbed. A rough grassy track boggy in places and I bet horrible to walk along after lots of rain, like last year. It is walled for part of the way then open to the right and then walled again. At its end passed through the gate, on to open fell. Here went right by the wall dropping down to a valley and walking along the stoney track. After about half a mile or so, we went left on a vague path to join, after a while, a clear tractor track that climbed steadily to the summit of Langdale Knott with its tiny cairn. "Yippee!" shouted Little Eric, waving his stick in the air. "I've done it!" "Congratulations pal", we responded, shaking his paw. He then had his picture taken on his own with the book open at the appropriate page and then with us all. There are fine views of the central Howgill Fells from here-dramatic, and we spent some time naming them, with the help of the map. Then Dad walked on leaving us sitting at the cairn and guarding the rucksack etc to get a picture of the deep and lonely Langdale Valley that cuts through the centre of the massif. That done, we sat at the top for a while having an early lunch and looking at the view. So peaceful, only the tweeting of the birds breaking the silence. The only other walkers we saw today were four climbing the adjacent ridge of West Fell. So, reluctantly we headed down the clear tractor track to finally reach Archer Hill Farm. Away on either side there were the sad ruins of buildings that were once houses. Here we joined road again and walked down to Cotegill Farm and on along the road. The intention had been to follow AW's walk back to Longdale, but Shaun noticed an alternate route on new ground for us all that would bring us to the car instead. So we went right off the road, then crossed the main road and walked the grassy bridleway to Kelleth, involving crossing an old but substantial footbridge over the River Lune. At the road (the original before the one built on the old railway track) we went left. Lovely with the verges abounding with flowers and fields yellow with buttercups. Passed Rayne Farm and then on to Rayne Bridge, where just before we took the footpath right through an iron gate. Climbed the pasture by the fence and so to a gate in the wall. Then on keeping in the same direction all the way, using the stone step stiles over the walls, passing above Marl Crag and so finally to Raisgill Hall. Had to deal with some inquisitive young cattle, but Dad got over the stile before they got to us. Then is was just through the farm to the car. So now in need of food, Dad went to Elaine's. Well he kidded himself that it was on the way home - well sort of in a wide circle! Nice for Dad to see everyone. The cafe had been extremely busy again, but there were spare tables when Dad got there about 15.00. Megan took the order. He had lovely meat and potato pie with mash and vegetables served in a separate dish, personally by Elaine, and with Sheila bringing the red cabbage. What service and attention he received. Then apple crumble and custard and tea of course. He had taken our pal Snowdrift, who is Sheila's favourite. She was very pleased and naturally he got fussed. A grand day out, and a special day for Little Eric who is a proud bear!


1st June 2013 - Wild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell from Cotegill Bridge

Dad said that he had to get up on the hills again after all the valley walking, if nothing else to prove he can still do it, which was in my opinion never in doubt. We suggested, for our pal Little Eric's sake, moving on his Howgill challenge, to which Dad readily agreed. These fells are not actually in the Howgill massif, but are part of those included in the challenge, as they are in the Wainwright book of 'Walks in the Howgills and adjoining fells'. So with a good forecast - no rain and sunny periods but a cool wind, we set off, taking about an hour so to the start at Cotegill Bridge in Mallerstang, a truly lovely drive. Strolled along the road to Aisgill Farm, then took the track left that climbed under the viaduct and on to a gate to open fell. Here it was right on a faint path close to the wall, until this turned down to the valley. All along Wild Boar Fell dominated the view to the left, while to the right there were dramatic views across the valley to High Seat etc, and we recalled the day we walked that ridge as well as Wild Boar Fell, with Uncle Bob. Bearing slightly left we now followed the line Angerholme Pots. These are potholes and sink holes, some large and deep, hence why they have been fenced off. Inside one was a lamb - we could only guess that it had jumped over the fence to end up inside. At the end of the pots we then continued on by some limestone pavement to join the bridleway from Mallerstang to Stennerskeugh, climbing it to the ridge. Then left along the ridge, climbing steadily across the grassy terrain, the final section being steepest that brought us to the cairn on the Nab. Here went right to the summit seen a bit distantly to the west. This is a shelter and trig column, on which we had our photo taken. Then sat on convenient shelf in the shelter wall for a bite to eat. Here we saw the only other walker to talk to today, and who we were to see later at Swarth Fell Pike, as he was doing the same route. Now headed south-west to climb a gate in the fence, and then follow the long path round and down to the col with a little tarn, before climbing to Swarth Fell with its large cairn making the summit. From here and before there were extensive views to the ridge on other side of valley, the valley itself, Howgill Fells and Lakeland. Wonderful! Then we followed the clear path to Swarth Fell Pike, whose top is wide and flat making the summit hard to determine. There is a trig ring but this is buried somewhere amongst the grass. The OS map shows the spot height on the left of the fence in direction we had approached, so we sat for our photo on a rock with a few stones adjacent to the larger cairn on other side of fence. It was here that Dad chatted to the gentleman, who like us loves this area and the Howgills for their solitude. Took path left descending steeply at first (hard on Dad's knees), then drifted left to cross and descend by Far Cote Gill, to the quarry. Fenced off so had to descend and cross Near Cote Gill to make the short walk to stile onto the road. A good day and now Little Eric has just Langdale Knott to complete the Howgill challenge! Dad promises he will do this soon for him. Dad needed sustenance, and despite the distance he went to Elaine's at Feizor. Well where else is there, as Dad said. She was pleased to see him and he got to chat to her and Sheila, when the cafe had quietened a bit. He told us that he had the delicious cheese and onion pie with chips and beans, then apple and raspberry pie with custard and a refreshing pot of tea. Lovely! Then a very happy band we headed home to tell our pals all about our adventure.

25th July 2012 - Stennerskeugh Clouds & Fell End Clouds from Cote Moor. Town tour of Kirkby Stephen

The weather forecast was all over the place, but the best seemed to be north and east of home, so it was arranged to redo these outlying Howgill tops. Just great for Little Eric as he had not done them before, and after having to wait well over a year for progress, with the walk last Sunday and today two-thirds of his outstanding tops had been achieved. It was drizzling as we set off from Morecambe, but dry in Kendal, where we decamped to Uncle Eric's car for the drive to the start. It was mostly dry too, for the walk, so they made the right decision. Parked on Cote Moor, and walked past the folly at Street, to take the bridleway that leads to Mallerstang. Climbed to pass through the only gate on the walk, then left the bridleway and climbed steadily right through the limestone, to the well made cairn marking the summit of Stennerskeugh Clouds. So quiet and peaceful up here. Once again we saw no other people. A pretty unfrequented area. Limestone pavement abounds here on the lower slopes-a lovely sight. Then walked on in the same direction to descend gently and then climb on to the first cairn marking the summit of Fell End Clouds. Saw a number of the wild fell horses, two with foals, and two beautiful white horses. Onwards then to the conspicuous tree referred to by AW in his book, and past the remains of the lead mine workings, to descend to a track and follow this to the minor road called The Street. Along this right to the main road, and after a short distance we went right over the moor to pass Street Farm and on a track to The Street to join the road to the car. A lovely walk. Our pal Little Eric has now just 3 Howgills to do. Drove to Kirkby Stephen, where Dad and Uncle Eric had a nice snack lunch with tea in the Pink Geranium cafe, which Dad and Uncle Brian had been to before way back in February 2004. Then Dad shouldered his rucksack, and Uncle Eric took us on an interesting tour of the alleyways and buildings of Kirkby Stephen including the impressive church. Thank you Uncle Eric, and Little Eric say a big thank you too, for agreeing to do the fells again, so that he could bag the summits.


22nd July 2012 - Harter Fell, Little Harter Fell, Adamthwaite Bank & Wandale Hill from Handley's Bridge

Dad's good intentions to complete the Howgills for Little Eric, got rather derailed last year, having instead to concentrate on getting as many of the outstanding Lakeland tops climbed. So it was great news when he announced that today we would be in the Howgills again and progress Little Eric's challenge, and reduce the outstanding by nearly 50%. The walk was on/off/on again, due to the ever changing weather forecast. Dry but cloudy and a strong wind that blew nearly all the time and especially on the tops. We parked in a layby just beyond Handley's Bridge. Walked along the road to cross Rawthey Bridge then take the second signed path on the left. Crossed the river and climbed steeply up the field to a stile and then over the pasture to another stile and so to the buildings of Mirthwaite. Rounded them right, ignoring paths left and right to join the bridleway that leads eventually to the road near Adamthwaite. Harter Fell our first objective rose up to the right. Walked on to find the green path right ascending the fell. It was along the bridleway that we saw the only other people on the walk today, a group of horse riders being led by a guide. Climbed the green path, then looped back right and then left to the cairn at the summit. Despite the wind, here and on all the other summits we hung in for our picture. We are made of stern stuff! All the time we enjoyed extensive views of the Howgills in the south to north arc. They had all been climbed before and we chatted amongst ourselves about those days. Now followed the path NW descending to Little Harter Fell, the small cairn being just to the right of the path. Then it was on down to the narrow road, which we crossed to make the climb to Adamthwaite Bank, again a small cairn marking the summit. Continuing ahead the descent now brought us to the far end of the bridleway we had walked earlier, close to Adamthwaite Farm. Walked right along this past a ruined barn, and on over a very muddy section of ground to pass through a gate on the left to gain the access land once again. Strolled a short way along the path, but then struck left on the about 400ft of climb to the summit of our last top today, Wandale Hill. A tiny pool marks the summit with just yards beyond the tiny cairn - our final photo of the day! Then down its SE ridge to come to cross wall near its corner with wall on left. Crossed the stile left and descended steeply to the bridleway, where passing through a gate we walked right to Narthwaite. Walked through the buildings and along its access track to the road, then a short distance left to the start. It was good to be out again, but we and Dad were quite glad to get into the car and out of the strong wind. Dad had planned to go to the nearby Cross Keys, but instead he decided to drive to Elaine's at Feizor. She was surprised to see him. Here he had lovely chicken & leek bake with chips and veg, and tea of course. Surprisingly he was too full afterwards to have a pudding! We reckoned Dad must be sickening for something! He chatted to Elaine and Jonathan and also Sheila, which nicely rounded off his day. And finally a big thank you to Dad from Little Eric.


9th January 2011 - Westerdale, Kensgriff & Yarlside from Cross Keys, Cautley

In the Howgills again today ticking off more of Little Eric's outstanding tops. We drove through rain on the way to Sedbergh, but the fells seemed to be in sun so we were hopeful of a dry day. Not quite the case however. All was green in the valley, in complete contrast to the fells that were covered in snow. So, parking by the Cross Keys Hotel, we set off crossing the River Rawthey, then right along the path towards the farm called Narthwaite. The path led to a ford, Dad crossing without getting wet feet, to climb the track to the farm. Passed the first buildings, to turn left and follow the path steeply uphill by the wall on the right, then taking the left fork with the wall to the left along the slopes of Wandale Hill, above and up Westerdale. By now the sky had darkened and the wind was blowing hard as a hail storm swept up the dale. We dived for cover in the rucksack, but poor Dad had to plough on getting thoroughly wet, although a tree provided some cover to wait it out. Not relishing the prospect of these conditions on the hills, were were glad when it finally cleared away and the rest of the day was bright and mostly sunny. Continued along the snowy path with Kensgriff, its long whale backed ridge on the other side of the valley. Below were the forlorn and derelict buildings of Mountain View farm, that was, at one time, the only habitation in the valley. Finally as the path swung right towards Adamthwaite, Dad went left to descend to the confluence of Spen Gill & Stockless Gill striding them both, to then make the long and tedious climb to the summit of Kensgriff. It was hard going in the snow, Dad sinking to his calf at times. There were many rises on the way but at last we came to the final one with the summit cairn. As we had risen higher the wind increased and was blowing fiercely, whipping the snow into plumes and blowing it over the ground as high as Dad sometimes - it rather got in our eyes and we kept having to screw them shut. Despite the wind, the cairn provided enough shelter for us to sit for our picture - ever plucky we are!! The views were wonderful of the surrounding fells all snow covered too. What a contrast to the valleys that were all green. So, onwards in the same direction to descend to the Saddle above Bowderdale. Here Dad was faced with three choices. Climb the near vertical steep facing slope of Yarlside, cop out and return below the fell, or try to find and easier ascent by descending to Bowderdale and climbing the ridge from there. Dad was desperate not to disappoint Little Eric and summit Yarlside, but the last option although maybe easier involved losing so much height, so it had to be option 1. The slope is steep and difficult when dry, but with snow was very tricky, as ice was in places, concealed under it. Dad just took his time, picking the route carefully and avoiding any ice that could have caused a fall. It was tough and hard on his legs, but eventually we reached the ridge, where just a short stroll left brought us to the summit cairn, that again provided just enough shelter from the fierce wind for us to sit for our picture. More fantastic views - breathtaking. Dad got a few pictures but then had to get his gloves back on before the wind chill caused the feeling to completely go from his fingers. Then followed the long and at times steep descent. First to the subsidiary summit with its cairn, where there was a superb view of the impressive Cautley Spout waterfall. Steeply down now to come to Ben End, and so below the snow line and finally down to the path and the bridge over the Rawthey. In this walk in his book, AW says 'descend the grass slope half-left in a beeline for (a) the Cross Keys seen far below, and (b) a super meal of ham, egg and chips'. Well, Dad just had to do as he was told. A huge plateful - 16oz gammon, two eggs, tomato, pineapple, chips and peas. Superb. We would recommend anyone to have a meal here. The building is full of character too. While Dad was eating we were having our picnic in the car, getting warmed up with flasks of soup and tea. On the way home Dad called at Mr Williamson's in Barbon to stock up on marmalade and chutney. Super day!


2nd January 2011 - Rispa Pike & Elliot Howe from Raisgill Hall

The first summit blog on our first walk in 2011. We, with Dad, like to set some goals at the start of each year, giving us something specific to aim for. This year we have resolved to complete the Birketts, and Dad has agreed to reclimb some of the Howgills so that Little Eric can complete that challenge. Indeed, this was started today. It was dry and cloudy for the most part but visibility was good. The temperatures stayed around freezing all the time. Dad drove along the old road from Tebay, as this passed the start, but he was unable to find any where to park, so we started from Raisgill Hall, as in the past. Walked to the main road and crossed into Gaisgill. Then just out of the village, took the path left across the fields to Gill Hole Farm, where we joined the road and walked to its end at the house called Intake. The main objective Rispa Pike was now in view. Here a signpost pointed to Whitefold Moss, our first destination. The clear track led on, meandering under the slopes of Weather Hill and Knott. 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. Passed the fold, to continue on along the less distinct tractor track, that climbed while slanting left towards Rispa Pike. At about 200ft from summit altitude, Dad left the track left and climbed the rough ground to the summit marked by a stone shelter. This was first of Little Eric's 12 tops done. We settled on a stone that proved a good seat, to have our picture taken. Then we all had lunch, while enjoying the dramatic views all around. North to the Pennines-Cross Fell and other higher tops covered in snow. Fine view south up Uldale to Uldale Head and other Howgill summits to the east. Finally west to our beloved Lakeland Fells - Coniston Range, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Esk Pike, Great End and Great Gable to name a few. So, dragging our eyes from the views, we walked north along the descending ridge, a clear tractor track soon emerging that led unerringly down over Uldale End and on to the barely imperceptible rise that is Elliot Howe. Without exception we had all been here before, but we had not had our picture taken at the summit, this being rectified today. The track continued, through a gate, to pass above Low Shaw, then to the buildings at Long Gills. According to Wainwright, his walk now directed us over the fields to the hamlet of Longdale. However the access land is now such that the only route is on along the track to Ellergill Farm and then to the road between Gaisgill and Longdale, from where it was just a short walk to Gaisgill and on to the car. Refreshment time for Dad, and he had planned to go to Steve and Joanne's at the Old School House in Tebay but it was closed. Instead he went to the Country Kitchen cafe at Bob Parratt's in Milnthorpe. Chunky chicken soup, was followed by a bacon cheese and tomato melt baguette, with tea. Dad told us is was very nice indeed and a visit can be recommended. A good day and great to be back to Sunday walking and get the 2011 account off to a good start!


3rd November 2010 - Castley Knotts, Brown Moor & Linghaw from Fairmile Gate

So here we were on the verge of completing another challenge. Thanks to Dad repeating some 18 fells this year, Allen, Grizzly, Shaun and myself would today climb the last of the 66 summits. A mercurial week of weather with heavy rain, but today we had a window of dry weather if rather cold and windy. Taking the narrow road to Carlingill from the Kendal to Tebay road, we parked near the Fairmile Gate under the slopes of Linghaw. Just beyond the wall corner we went left down a path, to a gate through it. We enjoyed the excellent view along the Lune Gorge from this path. Then on to Howgill Head - a small deserted house with a tumbled down outside loo! Continuing across fields we passed Low Wilkinson's, Mire Head and on to Brunt Sike (barn conversion-very nicely done too). A gate on the left took us over more pasture and down to Gate House, where just a short walk on the access track brought us to the road. This had been a pleasant walk over the fields and avoided a mile on the road. There was now no option but to follow the road with a fine view left to Castley Knotts our first summit. At Four Lane Ends, we went left, first to the terrace of houses that is Cookson's Tenement, then on to pass Castley Farm. Staying on the bridleway we reached a sheepfold, after passing through a short stretch of gated track, where a group of about 30 sheep were enclosed - good photo opportunity for Dad! To the left reared the the very steep side of Castley Knotts. This we climbed taking our time, the gradient easing on the final section, drifting right to the rocky outcrop that is the highest point. Ahead was Brown Moor, reached after a descent and ascent on a intermittent path. There are two small parallel ridges at the top, the left one having the tiny cairn. The view east was breathtaking, and we just stood to enjoy it - Fell Head, Bush Howe, White Fell, Bram Rigg, Calders & Arrant Haw. We saw no other walkers the whole day, so if anyone wants solitude, then the Howgills is the place to be. We paused to see which was the best onward route. It was obvious that we needed to ignore going down to pick up the main footpath, and instead keep up on the lower slopes of Fell Head. Descended to the col then contoured right to walk a narrow path, to eventually cross the shoulder. Here a path cut down right, where we finally joined the main path. Crossed Blind Gill to climb and reach a cross of paths, here going left on the gentle ascent to Linghaw and so complete the Howgill challenge. Uncle Eric congratulated Dad and us. Sadly there is no cairn marking the top, so Uncle Eric and Dad's sticks were planted either side of us and Dad got the flag out, for the picture to record the achievement! We then allowed Dad to have his picture with us too. Walked ahead, before descending left down the upper part of Dry Gill, to contour right to a clear path that led to the car. We all had a snack sitting in the car, before Uncle Eric drove to Steve & Joanne's - Old School Tearoom in Tebay, where they had tea, Dad having a piece of cake too. He deserved it! Little Eric, alone did not finish the challenge, but in fact has only 12 out of the 66 to do. Dad has told him he will climb these again, so at least he will complete one of the challenges.


7th July 2010 - Bluecaster from Cross Keys Hotel, Cautley

Uncle Eric and Dad had had busy days yesterday and with the weather forecast to be cloudy with showers at times, it was decided not to go to the Lakes but instead do this outstanding Howgill top. This is in AW's Howgill book, had been spotted by Dad, so Uncle Eric and us agreed we had to do it. Uncle had Eric planned the route which was nice and varied. Starting from the Cross Keys Hotel at Cautley, we walked a few yards south along the road to a gate on the left signed "FP to Fell". An intermittent path led up through two gates one by a building called High House. The second led to open fell and up to a track that runs from the lane at Bluecaster Side to Rawthey Bridge. We went right to the building of Bluecaster Side. Here a narrow trod went left on to open fell. Soon petering out we continued east over the rough grassy terrain, before turning north to the cairned summit of Bluecaster. Unlike some hills the top was not in doubt and we were pleased to have a cairn to sit on. Good views from here too of the Howgills - Great Dummacks, Cautley Spout, Yarlside etc. Also north east to "The Clouds", while Baugh Fell dominates the view south. Descended north to join the track walked earlier, just before Rawthey Bridge, a gate allowing access to the road. Crossed the bridge then took the footpath left accessed by a stile. Used the footbridge to cross Sally Beck, then across pasture and through pretty woodland above the rushing River Rawthey. This led us to a ford at Wandale Beck, which we had been to before. The farmer had gated it across. Glad we were in the rucksack. Carefully using some protruding stones and others just below the surface Dad got to the left gate and with a little difficulty climbed over. The path continued over fields to then join after a gate the access track to Narthwaite. Walked to the buildings. Here Uncle Eric said we should go left but Dad said straight ahead. We went Dad's route, but after a little way it was obvious that he was wrong and Uncle Eric right. Walked back, Dad apologising unreservedly. The correct path led through part of the farm yard then down to a gate and along a track to a gate and another ford. Fortunately with the dry weather it was not deep and Backside Beck was crossed without getting wet feet. After this is was a clear easy track finally going left at a junction to cross the Rawthey by a footbridge and regain the start. Lunchtime now and Uncle Eric and Dad we went to the Cross Keys, a temperance hotel. Uncle Eric had ginger beer and Dad sarsaparilla. Then to eat they had the gammon (16oz) two eggs pineapple chips peas and salad. A huge plateful but, empty plates were sent back. A lovely meal!! Meanwhile we had gone to the shop at the back of the hotel for snacks and pop. A good walk. This removes the final obstacle to the last walk, that will mean we and Dad complete the Howgill Fells.


13th May 2010 - Grayrigg Common, Whinfell Beacon, Shooter Howe & Borrowdale (Westmorland)

Walking again with Uncle Eric, which was great. This was to be the very last catch-up walk for Allen & Grizzly on this challenge. The day was dry with a good amount of sun, but the strong cold made it feel like March. We started from the parking area at the entrance to Borrowdale on the Tebay side. Strolled along the road until we reached the bridge over a stream, where we forked left on a rising track that led to a gate in a wall. Leaving the track we ascended by the wall then struck half left to climb a narrow trod to reach another wall. Higher ground by the wall allowed to to be crossed easily. Instead of losing height and having to climb again we kept ahead by a ravine, crossing at a convenient point higher up. Here we then struck half left over a few rises to complete the steady climb to the trig point on Grayrigg Common. Despite the wind we sat on it for our picture. At 1621ft (594m) it is the highest point on either side of the valley. There were extensive views although the Lakeland Fells were rather hazy today. West now, to drop down and aim for the masts of the Repeater Station. A wall blocked our way, but again we found a convenient crossing place although there was a stile a little higher up. Walked along past the communications towers along the road. The second one had two fences ringing it, the inner one tall with three strands of barbed wire. However we found oddly amusing that the gate was not locked! A little way down, we went right along a path the led us unerringly to Whinfell Beacon topped with a large cairn and shelter. The views to the valley were quite beautiful as we had made the climb. The wind was very strong up here and we were all glad of the shelter to sit and have lunch. Crossed the adjacent wall via the gap stile, then descended to the gate in the facing wall. Followed the wall right, eventually cutting away left to climb to the summit of Shooter Howe. It is quite definitely a separate top, so it was agreed to add it to the list. None of us had climbed it before either. Meandered on down the ridge, and after a steepish last section reached a wall. It had collapsed in one area, so the replacement fence made a good crossing point. Then we headed by Borrowdale Beck and between this and a wall to climb a final fence and regain the road. Then it was about a mile along this beautiful, quiet and unspoilt valley, to the car. A very enjoyable walk. We saw no other people all day!!


22nd April 2010 - Sickers Fell, Knott (Sedbergh) & River Rawthey from Sedbergh

Well just over two months since we embarked on the catch-up walks, here we were on the last one in the main Howgill Fells. Allen has now finally caught up with Shaun, Grizzly & myself. We met Uncle Eric at Joss Lane car park in Sedbergh, where we had started from only a week last Sunday on our climb to Calders etc. The day was dry throughout with sunshine but cloudier later and still a cold wind. Our outward route was the same along the road, then passing Hill Farm and up by Settlebeck Gill to open fell via the kissing gate. Here we dropped down and crossed the gill and climbed to the wall corner, to the follow the track (it is in fact a pipe track) under the slopes of Crook. Eventually it turned north into Ashbeck Gill reaching a small dam and the foundations of the long gone recording hut for the Water Board. At one point the pipe was exposed. This was or maybe still is a source of water supply to Sedbergh. Here we crossed the beck and made a direct ascent to the summit of Sickers Fell with its stylish cairn. We leaped out to have our photo taken. Walking a few yards east the cairn on Knott was clearly in view and we made a beeline to it - another photo! So that was the hills done. From here there were superb views here to the fells north - Arrant Haw, Calders & Great Dummacks, and looking back to Crook & Winder. Now Uncle Eric had devised a return route that took us by the river into Sedbergh, and most enjoyable it was to be. First it was necessary to reach the confluence of Grimes Gill & Hobdale Beck, far below us. The descent was very steep and we can say with certainty that Dad was glad to get that over with. Crossing the becks, we then headed south along by Hobdale Beck, where we found a nice spot by to have lunch, out of the wind. Then on to climb by the wall to a gate by a sheep pen. Once over this we made a descent over rough pasture, above the ravine of the beck to the track from Fawcett Bank. Now right along this track and then the road passing Thursgill, Ellerthwaite and to Buckbank, where we descended to River Rawthey. The delightful path on the north bank led over many stiles to come to New Bridge. As we walked along there were fine views to the right of the fells we had walked under and over earlier. At New Bridge we switched to the south bank to walk to Millthrop, then along the road and over the fields to the start. An excellent varied outing and most enjoyable! Afterwards Dad and Uncle Eric went to the Howgills Bakery & Cafe for tea and cake. Uncle Eric had not been here before and was impressed. Then Dad drive us home via the Lune Valley so that he could visit Mr Williamson at Barbon to stock up on marmalade & chutney.


15th April 2010 - Ashstead Fell, Mabbin Crag, Castle Fell & Borrowdale Valley from Huck's Bridge on A6

Today it was dry with some sun, but cloudy later, and there was a brisk cold wind. This was the first part of the catch-up of the fells forming the ridge on the south side of the Borrowdale (in Westmorland) Valley. We had Uncle Eric for company, as we had when Shaun and I had done this ridge in its entirety in February 2003. Today we were doing just the first three tops which would be bagged by Allen, Grizzly & Little Eric. A convenient layby on the A6 near Huck's Bridge provided parking. Once ready we walked up the hill to the corner. Before the M6 motorway this now quiet road was the main route to Scotland and one of the famous Leyland Clocks was situated here. It is now in the grounds of the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal. Here through a gate we went right on a narrow path that climbed up very steeply for some of the way onto the ridge and Ashstead Fell. A cairn stands at a lower summit (more a viewpoint really). There we enjoyed the fine prospect across to the Crookdale Fells, Bannisdale and down to Kendal and Morecambe Bay. The path continued, to bisect a flat area with two small outcrops. These are the actual tops of the fell, being the same height, but the OS map marks the northerly one with the spot height, so this where we sat for our picture. The path descended then climbed what seemingly is a separate top, but the OS map does not credit is with a name nor a height. Below this was a small rocky face where we sat out of the wind for our lunch with the fine view before us. The Lakeland Fells were in view - Coniston Fells, Great Gable and those by Longsleddale. Off the summit of this unnamed top there was a short steep rocky descent to a col. Crossing the wall it was then a steady ascent up a wide ride between forestry and once clear of this the path swung right, to soon reach the stylish cairn on Mabbin Crag - we leapt out for a picture. Descending Dad and Uncle Eric pushed through the trees and over boggy ground, to cross a fence by a stile then over a ladderstile to cross the wall. The path led up by the wall and at the height, we cut left to ascend the rounded hump of Castle Fell with its cairn - our final top today. Now descended over rough ground to return to the wall below Mabbin Crag and descended steeply beside this to the Borrowdale Valley floor. Here we went left to cross rough ground, first to an old sheepfold, then on to the next wall. We climbed a little higher to find a gap, then descended again to Borrow Beck near the footbridge. Here through a gate we joined a reinforced track on the left of the beck that led us all the way to the start. It had been nice to refresh ourselves with these tops. Shaun and I could not remember much of it to be honest. As we had walked along the valley, we recalled our walk over the northerly ridge in February 2009.


11th April 2010 - Arrant Haw, Calders, Bram Rigg Top, Great Dummacks, Crook & Winder from Sedbergh

Well at last spring is here - much warmer with some sun, although up at 2000ft the NE wind was quite cold. This was the next of our catch-up walks starting from the nice town of Sedbergh, that is dominated by the fell Winder, whose summit was to be one of six visited today. From the car park we walked up Joss Lane. The tarmac ends at a gate where it becomes a track to Hill Farm. The footpath skirts left to a stile into a track by Settlebeck Gill then on up to a kissing gate to open fell . Here we made the steady climb on the clear path up the left side of Settlebeck Gill. Joining the main path, we soon forked left off it to climb to the summit of Arrant Haw, where a flat circle of stones marks the top. Calders, our next objective could be seen clearly ahead. Descended to the main path, then on up steeply following the path sharp right to its summit and stylish cairn. We could not wait to leap out for our picture! A grand prospect from here over to Bram Rigg Top and the ridges beyond - White Fell Head & Fell Head that we had traversed on our last Howgill walk. The Calf, the highest point was in view too its white trig point standing out against the blue sky. Bram Rigg Top was next, soon reached by a narrow trod off the wide track. The trod led unerringly to the small cairn marking the summit. So far we all had bagged the tops. To the east lay Great Dummacks. As Little Eric had not been to the summit and Dad needed the grid reference for the records, this was next. A narrow indistinct trod led over rough ground to intersect the main path. The summit is wide & flat, so Dad found what looked to be the highest point in the area where the spot height is marked on the OS map. An about turn here as we headed along the path and by fence to Calders, so summiting this twice today. Now retraced route, following the main path under Arrant Haw. We were heading for Winder, but Crook was only 10mins away to the left and as Allen & Little Eric needed to bag this, Dad said "I'll take you there today". "Hooray" we all shouted. The summit was soon accomplished and we scrambled onto the huge cairn for our picture. It is without doubt the biggest in Howgills!! Made the return traverse and then on the clear track to Winder with its trig point, the final summit today. There were a number of paths leading off. Dad took one SE that crossed the main path descending the very steep ridge to kissing gate we came through this morning and so by outward route to the car park. We settled in the car, while Dad went in search of refreshment, going to aptly named Howgills Bakery & Cafe. Here a pot of tea with extra hot water and delicious slice of chocolate caramel shortbread was most welcome-only £2.25 too! They do all sorts of sandwiches cakes etc. It can be heartily recommended.


13th March 2010 - Whins End, Fell Head, Bush Howe & White Fell Head from Fairmile Road

The next of our catch-up walks. It was a quite sunny day and out of the wind it felt like spring, but in the wind it was definitely still winter. The Fairmile Road is narrow and we were glad we did not meet a vehicle coming the other way on the walled section as there is no room at all to pass! Below the slopes of Linghaw a wide flat area provided parking. A short way along the road a bridge crosses the Fairmile Beck. Here we turned up alongside the beck on an intermittent path until clear of the fence and wall. Keeping ahead then bearing right we followed up above Blind Gill, to climb to the first summit Whins End. This was one of the few that Dad needed to climb so we all bagged it. A small outcrop of rock marked the summit. Behind us Fell Head reared up, a path indicating the direct ascent. So putting best foot forward Dad headed up. It was unrelentingly and exceedingly steep, and reminding us of that ascent of Lonscale Fell near Keswick. There were fine and extensive views looking back, the Lakeland Fells looking majestic under their covering of snow. Finally a cairn was reached this being at the surveyed height on the map, but it was a little further to the actual summit with its cairn where we sat for our picture. Going left we strolled the path over Breaks Head. Away to the left we could see the ridges and valleys of the northern Howgills and we reflected on the superb walks we have done, with Uncle Eric for company, to climb them all. Behind the Pennines were clearly in view, still white under snow. Bearing right we descended to dip of Windscarth Wyke before climbing to Bush Howe, where a tiny pile of stones marked its top. Ahead the ground was fairly level before the path went left and climbed to the Calf (the highest point in the Howgills). Having all been there before, this was not our route today, instead at a junction Dad went right to find the top of White Fell Head, where just one stone lost in the grass marks the top. Here we had lunch with the magnificent view to Lakeland before us. Setting off again, Dad first went right to find the bridleway, that descended the ridge. After some considerable descent, we cut off right to the confluence of Long Rigg Beck & Long Rigg Gill. Crossing the beck the latter was followed up stream for about a third of a mile, then we climbed steeply right to the col between Fell Head and Brown Moor. Down the slope was a clear path and on reaching this we went right and climbed up. This then brought us in a circle to Whins End, where we basically followed our outward route to the start. Of the latter three summits, these were bagged by Allen, Grizzly & Little Eric. Refreshment time for Dad. In Tebay, the Old School Tearoom was closed, so instead he went to Junction 38 Services for delicious vegetable soup, fruit scone and tea.


2nd March 2010 - Knoutberry, Source of River Lune, Grere Fell & Knott from Ravenstonedale

This was the second of our catch-up walks. We had attempted to do this on 21st February, but due to the weather conditions, Dad decided it was not safe to do the full walk. Today it could not be more contrasting with clear blue skies affording fantastic views of the surrounding snow covered fells - we will remember this walk for those superb views. We had Uncle Eric for company too, today, and there was plenty of snow for them to tramp through on the round. Parking by the school we walked through the village, then crossed the Lockholme Beck by the wooden footbridges, going forward then along the track that passed the large enclosure of Philip Close. Soon the track disappeared and rough ground boggy at times was crossed above Wyegarth Gill to the foot of Snowfell End. A steady climb over this and over a further rise finally brought us to the first summit Knoutberry. Walking on we climbed the slopes of Green Bell crossing right of a sheepfold to find the highest spring, that marks the source of the River Lune. After a long journey it eventually enters the sea below Lancaster near where we live. We sat a while here to have our picture taken. Then contoured round Green Bell to a col and track that led to the snow covered summit of Grere Fell. Long Gill had now to be crossed, so a descent through deep snow towards Knoutberry was necessary to accomplish this. On the opposite side a path led eventually to the final summit Knott where there was a cairn so finally we did not have to sit in the snow for our picture. Interestingly there are actually three separate summits called Knott, in the Howgill massif. We could see clearly Ravenstonedale in the distance, so just headed towards it descending Knott and joining a good track by another large enclosure called Thornthwaite. This meandered steadily down to eventually pass the buildings of Kilnmire. The track then led over the old narrow stone bridge that crosses the Lockholme Beck and into Ravenstonedale. A very enjoyable walk and apart from Shaun, we all bagged these tops. Yesterday had been Dad's birthday and Little Eric's 2nd birthday, so this was the celebratory walk. A snack was the order of the day for Uncle Eric and Dad, so they went to the Old Schoolhouse tearoom at Tebay, where a warming pot of tea and cake was enjoyed.


14th February 2010 - Tebaygill Horseshoe (Blease Fell, Hare Shaw, Knott etc)

Dad has finally found time to analyse which Howgill tops each member of the team still has to climb, to catch up with Dad, who has just four left. Our various outstanding summits translate into about six walks, the first of which we did today. This encompassed six tops that form a horseshoe around Tebay Gill that starts on the slopes of Blease Fell. In the village of Tebay we started from Mount Pleasant, walking up the narrow road. At a fork we went left, to Tebaygill Farm, as signed by the painted rock. Past the farm, we struck half right to the flat top of Roger Howe, where as with most of the tops today the GPS was invaluable in finding the spot height point. A clear track now climbed steadily first over Powson Knott, then on to the highest point of Blease Fell. The cairn is not at the top, but marks a dramatic viewpoint over the Lune Valley with the river. Also the railway and M6 motorway as they sweep north through the Lune Gorge. We sat munching our sandwiches, and enjoying the view. Reluctantly we settled in the rucksack, and set off on the return leg. Rough trackless ground for a while, but the compensation was to see a group of wild horses that wander freely over these fells. Then the track emerged again and the cairned summit of Hare Shaw was reached. Nice to have a cairn to sit on at last instead of damp ground! Now all was clear ahead and the track led unerringly first to Knott, then to Weather Hill with just a slight deviation to the flat summit. Continuing in the same direction we came to the buildings at Waskew Head, where a clear track took us down and over the Tebay Gill by a small bridge, then onwards to meet our outward route at the narrow road. Despite the grey cloudy day we all enjoyed this walk again, especially Allen & Little Eric who bagged the tops. Just by the start was the Old School, now a guest house and tearoom. Dad was hungry so fortified himself with delicious tomato soup, followed by a roast pork dinner. Excellent food in comfortable and welcoming surroundings. A place that can be thoroughly recommended (see tea stops page for link).


7th May 2009 - Roan Edge, Docker Fell & Lambrigg Fell

An awful week with rain most days, but today it was dry, but extremely windy. A convenient layby just on the Kendal side of M6 junction 37 was our start point. Walked up the hill, then left to the massive Roan Edge Quarry. At the road end it becomes a track. Once past the quarry went right through a gate to the trig pointed summit of Roan Edge - so windy we had to stay in the rucksack for our picture. Returned to the gate and continued along the edge. The path then gradually descended to the minor Fairthorns Road where we took a footpath right over a stile to Hall Bank. Crossed a stile and then down the field under the power lines. Now over a small stream and on to the farm Millrigg. Walked along a road to cross the A684, then contour left of Bundrigg Moss, and onwards to Birks. Just before this there was a quite fantastic bluebell wood!! On to Myers, then to Low Croft. Along a narrow hedged track lined with bluebells, celandine and other wild flowers-enchanting. Crossed a double stile to walk over the field to Haygarth. Once past the buildings we immediately took the bridleway climbing left until on open fell. Soon after the wall swung sharp right, a cairn marked a grassy track that led to the summit of Docker Fell, marked by a post. Returned to bridleway, then at a waymark went left over heather and bog to another track. Leaving this left, soon climbed to the cairn on the rocky top of Lambrigg Fell. Regaining the track went left to a junction. Here it was left to climb up, then along near the wind farm, to the A684 and the start. Another nice walk in an area we had never been to before.


17th February 2009 - Jeffrey's Mount, Casterfell Hill,Belt Howe,Roundthwaite Common,Winterscleugh,Whinash & Bretherdale

We and Dad, have passed Jeffrey's Mount on countless occasions on journeys north on the M6, and have always wanted to be able to say we had climbed it. Well today that ambition was to be realised, as well as walking the ridge on the north side of Borrowdale. The day was cloudy and largely dry. Parked in the lay-by on the Roundthwaite road overlooking the motorway and the railway. Along the road, then took the bridleway left climbing to a gate. Once through we branched left on a cart track that ascended the fell to the cairn on the summit of Jeffrey's Mount. The map showed this track petering out half way up, but in fact not only did it continue to the summit, but continued as a clear route over all the succeeding fells and all the way to the Breasthigh Road. The walk over the succeeding fells to Whinash was on grassy moorland, that for the most part was dry, with just the odd boggy patch in the dips. Apart from Winterscleugh there were no cairns marking the rather flat indefinite summits, but the GPS helped to fix a position for our pictures. Nice views to the Borrowdale valley below and the impressive south ridge. At the Breasthigh Road, we followed this down into beautiful Bretherdale with its rushing beck fed off the hills. Eventually we came to Midwath Stead a tiny group of houses. The road out climbed up to pass Bretherdale Hall. Soon we took the track to Bretherdale Foot and on over the fields to come to Dyke Farm by a steep field ascent. With the owners permission, we used their drive to the road, that saved a steep climb on Pikestone Lane. Now descended to Roundthwaite and up to the start, at the end of a very enjoyable walk.