Yesterday I drove up to Sedbergh to set out for a walk on the Howgill Fells. I had a route in mind that world tackle the Calf from the west side of the range of high hills, then walking along the ridge back into Sedbergh. I’d had it in mind to go for a wander on these quiet fells, just over an hour’s drive from home, for a while but I’d read a post on John’s blog, Walking the Old Ways just a few days ago which reinforced my decision.
Sedbergh used to be in Yorkshire, but since Local Government re-organisation in 1974 it’s been part of Cumbria. It’s quite a sleepy place, a little frozen in time, with some attractive little houses that I passed as I walked through the quiet streets, early on Sunday morning, heading towards Howgill Lane.
The first three miles of my walk entailed walking 3 miles down a lonely, leafy country lane, a good part of which follows the route of a Roman road.
There wasn’t much traffic to worry about other then the occasional car,a number of tractors pulling bales of silage and a couple of quad bikes.
Soon, good views over to the hills opened up over teh fields
After a couple of miles I passed Howgill church, built in 1838 to replace a small chapel on built around1685.
Howgill is a strange place. It’s not a village proper, being a series of scattered dwellings and collections of buldings. It’s rather odd that the fells are named after it rather than the larger settlements to the north and south of the range (not that they’re that big!) Apparently the Howgill Fells were so named by Ordnance Survey surveyors as the range of hills didn’t have a collective name.
About a mile further on I took a path across the fields heading to Castley Farm and then onto the fells
I had to cross the fast flowing Long Rigg beck, which was a little tricky, but I managed to stay upright and make it to the other side
Then it was time to start the long, and in places steep, ascent up White Fell
As I climbed views opened up behind me of Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland Fells, silhouetted on the horizon.
Since I left Sedbergh I hadn’t seen any other walkers, and during my slow climb up the fell the only other people I saw was a fell runner high up on the ridge across the valley, and a couple of walkers who passed me as they descended down the fell.
I carried on with my slow progress up the steep hill side until I reached the top of White fell and then made my way along the ridge towards the Calf, the highest point in the Howgills.
Looking north east from the top of the fell
The view west from the top of the Calf
There were a few walkers and fell runners on the summit, but it wasn’t exactly crowded. many of them seemed to have come up either from the north of the range or via Cautley Spout to the east
I set off south along the path to Calders
Where I stopped for a bite to eat while I took in the view
Then it was time to set off again heading south, back towards Sedbergh.
As I walked I could see the Lakeland fells to the west
and the Yorkshire Three Peaks in the distance to the south
– there’s Ingleborough
I carried on, by-passing the summit of Arant Haw, but rather than head straight down to Sedbergh, I decided to walk on to the top of Winder
Looking back from teh summit across to Arant Haw
and down towards Sedbergh
I retraced my steps a short way and then started the descent down towards the village. On the way crossing the only boggy stretch I’d encountered during the walk.
The final stretch was a little tough on the old knees, but I made it back down to the car where I loaded my backpack in the car boot before having a wander round the village. It was a brief wander as it’s only a small place and most of the shops were shut. But I did pop intot he Information centre where I bought a leaflet about the Quaker Trail, mentioned by John in his blog post – one for the future!