A walk in the Howgills

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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– there’s Ingleborough

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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

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Looking back from teh summit across to Arant Haw

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and down towards Sedbergh

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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!

19 thoughts on “A walk in the Howgills

    • I was a little unsure about the 3 miles on tarmac at the start of the walk, but I quite enjoyed it. Quiet and pleasant. It was a bit of a haul up White Fell but good practice for a walk planned for next week.

  1. The Howgills are a wonderful range, albeit steep and grassy, and rarely sees any crowds. Plenty of stunning twisting valleys and waterfalls plus easy walking high up. Always a familiar and welcoming sight on travels north and they always look higher than their real he

  2. Cracking walk – I did something similar, but shorter, after work one evening last summer. You didn’t get attacked by a Buzzard like I did then? Any sign of Sedbergh’s supposed reinvention as a ‘book town’?

    • Most shops had some books for sale, with displays in their windows. But, as usual for Sedbergh in my experience, most of them were shut!! (and not just due to the virus, being closed on a Sunday – and Monday in some cases – seemed to be their normal hours – clearly not keen on making money :-))

  3. I have fond childhood memories of Sedbergh. My uncle had a holiday cottage on farmland about a mile away, and all of the extended family used it as well. We used to go to the cottage about 4 times a year and made it a base for travelling to various places over the border in Yorkshire and around that part of Cumbria. Some days, we would just stay at ‘home’ and go for walks into Sedbergh. Your photos show that it hasn’t changed. The beck ran behind the cottage, and on one visit when we arrived to find the fridge had broken, we kept milk and pop bottles cold by propping them in the beck amongst the stones. There was a bluebell wood at the other side, and I well remember paddling through the water (not easy, as it flows fast as you have described) and onto the other bank to look for fairies. 😁 I never found any, but they were happy times.

  4. I love that, great walk. The village home, buildings look very much like I would picture a country cottage to look like…I might have poked a bit more looking at the gardens. =) All in all I feel that was a great walk, views and all. Thanks for taking me/us along!

    • Plenty of interesting old buildings in Sedbergh, Kathy, although only a small place. A good walk in a quiet area on edge of both Yorkshire Dales and Lake Dis. Easy to keep socially distanced. Glad to be starting to get out and about again, but still being careful. Hope you keeping well

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