Howgill Fells & Westmorland Walks
Date: 8th Sept 2013
Distance: 12.7 miles
Ascent: 3388 feet
Time: 6 hours 30 mins
Start Grid Ref: NY618045
A superb walk in the north-eastern area of the Howgill Fells including the tops of Green Bell, Randygill Top and Yarlside.
Tebay - Powson Knott - Blease Fell - Archer Hill - Uldale Head - Blakethwaite Bottom - Ulgill Rigg - Fell Head - Windscarth Wyke - Bush Howe - The Calf - Bram Rigg Top - Calders - Rowantree Grains - Arant Haw - Winder - Settlebeck Gill - Sedbergh
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Following on from a hugely enjoyable walk earlier in the year over Green Bell and Yarlside this was my second walk in the Howgills with local Sedbergh resident and huge Howgills fan Wally. The idea for a linear walk across the length of the Howgill Fells was one Wally had first mooted some time ago and it was made possible by Wally's wife Laura driving us up to Tebay where we were dropped off.
The object of the walk was simple, to walk from Tebay south across numerous Howgills summits all the way back to Sedbergh. We had a basic idea of which route we wanted to take but made a few small diversions on the way. It was an absolutely glorious morning as we set off on what is a fairly gentle climb on to our first top of the day - Blease Fell.
Quite quickly into the walk the views opened up magnificently across the Lune Gorge, over the Shap Fells and to a full Lake District skyline. To the north the East Fellside of the North Pennines also made an impressive appearance. Upon reaching the top of Blease Fell we also had great views down to the Lune Valley and of the next few fells on our route, Uldale Head and Fell Head.
Rather than heading directly for the top of Uldale Head we first made a slight detour north-east to Archer Hill and the small but attractive tarn. It was a lovely spot and well worth the detour. This was my second visit to Uldale Head but the first time in really good visibility and once again the views were stunning. In truth though it is hard to think of a Howgills summit that does not have a cracking view.
From Uldale Head we dropped down to Blakethwaite Bottom to locate an old boundary stone called the Blakethwaite Stone. Here we had a few different options for approaching Fell Head and in the end chose Ulgill Rigg which neither of us had been up before. It proved to be one of those gradients that is not particularly steep but is tiring nonetheless and we were both relieved to reach the top of Fell Head.
Up until this point Fell Head had hidden the southern half of the Howgills which now sprang suddenly into view. Again the overall panorama was superb though a number of showers further west hinted that the wonderful weather might not last the full duration of the walk.
After enjoying our lunch on Fell Head we walked round the top of Crooked Ashmere Gills to Windscarth Wyke and the short but steep climb up on to Bush Howe. From Bush Howe it was then a really easy and pleasurable walk up on to The Calf the highest point in the Howgill Fells. By this point the skies were beginning to cloud over but still the views from The Calf were, as ever, immense. Disappointingly we discovered that the small attractive tarn on the summit of The Calf was dry, it was if someone had pulled the plug on it. I hope this is just temporary and that the tarn is able to make a come back.
From The Calf we visited, in quick succession, Bran Rigg Top and Calders, before a descent to Rowantree Grains eventually led us on to Arant Haw, or as it is known locally 'Higher Winder'. By this time more and more showers were springing up in the distance including a particularly wet looking one working its way up the Lune valley and over Middleton Fell to the south of us. As it happened we were very lucky. After visiting Winder, the last top of the day, the shower passed just to the east of us on the other side of the Rawthey valley and, as we descended off Winder, the sunshine followed and we were treated to some fantastic rainbows. It was a memorable conclusion to a wonderful day out in the hills.