Howgill Fells & Westmorland Walks
Beacon Hill & Great Asby Scar
Date: 30th August 2010
Distance: 9.1 miles
Ascent: 1025 feet
Time: 4 hours 5 mins
Start Grid Ref: NY675077
Route Summary: Sunbiggin Tarn - Tarn Moor - Sunbiggin - Knott Lane - Beacon Hill - Great Asby Scar - Great Kinmond - Tarn Moor - Sunbiggin Tarn
Walk Summary: Lisa and I had enjoyed very little sunshine on any of our previous walks together this year so we were due a good day's weather and on this walk we certainly got it.
Although it was fairly cloudy when we arrived at Sunbiggin Tarn it quickly broke up and we enjoyed some extended sunny spells. Sunbiggin Tarn itself was very picturesque, the half dozen or so other cars parked along the verge of the road was clear evidence that it is a moderately well known spot.
From Sunbiggin Tarn we followed a bridleway across the heathery Tarn Moor to Sunbiggin itself before taking another bridleway to Knott Lane. After a brief look over the wall at Gamelands Stone Circle we followed Knott Lane up on to the plateau from where we headed west to the summit of Beacon Hill and the prominent monument crowning the summit.
From the monument, which was erected in 1887 on an old beacon site to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, there is a fantastic 360 degree panorama of surrounding fells from the Howgills to the south round to the Shap fells, Lakeland Fells, North Pennines and the Mallerstang region of the Yorkshire Dales. For distant views of other fells it equals almost anywhere else I have been.
After eating our lunch by the monument we went off in search of the intriguingly named 'Thunder Stone'. It proved to be a fairly modest Shap Granite erratic that had a wall built over it - Lisa was decidedly unimpressed.
Leaving behind the Thunder Stone we made a beeline over the limestone pavement for the trig point on the top of Great Asby Scar which was reached quickly. Considering the extensive limestone pavements on the flanks of Great Asby Scar I was surprised that the summit was everywhere grass with the exception of the OS column. The view was again very good though not quite up to the level of Beacon Hill.
In view from the top of Great Asby Scar is a slightly raised mound called Castle Folds which is the site of an ancient settlement. I made the brief detour over to investigate further and was pleased to see that the foundations of some of the buildings could still clearly be seen.
From Castle Folds we basically followed the wall from Great Asby Scar all the way to the top of Great Kinmond the last top on the day's itinerary. Once again the view was good. From Great Kinmond it was a simple walk back to Sunbiggin Tarn.
This was a super little walk visiting a generally unsung area of limestone. Though some care was needed when walking across the clints and grikes of the extensive limestone pavements the walking was really very easy. It was one of those walks where a modest amount of effort reaped large rewards.
1. Amongst the heather of Tarn Moor
2. Great Asby Scar from Tarn Moor
3. Lisa on Beacon Hill
4. The monument on Beacon Hill backed by the North Pennines
5. The Howgill Fells from Beacon Hill
6. Lisa shows her disappointment with the Thunder Stone
7. Looking back at Beacon Hill from Great Asby Scar
8. A fine stretch of limestone pavement on Great Asby Scar
9. The trig point on the top of Great Asby Scar
10. Me and Lisa on Great Asby Scar
11. Castle Folds
12. Great Kinmond from Little Kinmond
13. The Eden Valley backed by Cross Fell and the Dun Fells
14. The Howgills Fells from Great Kinmond
15. The beautiful Sunbiggin Tarn