Thursday, 6 December 2012

Winder, Arant Haw, Calders, Bram Rigg Top, The Calf and Cautley Spout - Howgill Fells 1.12.12

A circular walk, 11.5 miles.

A walk in the Howgill Fells that passes England's highest waterfall above ground and gives stunning views of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District fells.

The Howgills Fells are a range of rounded grassy fells that are smack between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. You pass these beautiful fells north bound on the M6 when heading towards Penrith, or just before you reach Shap Summit on the West Coast main Line.
 Wainwright described the Howgill Fells as looking like a herd of sleeping elephants, and I can see what he meant. To me they're not dissimilar in their appearance to the hills of the Long Mynd in Shropshire, but of a slightly higher proportions. These fells amazingly don't seem to receive the volumes of hikers that the Yorkshire Dales, and of course The Lake District seem to attract, so this really is a place you can get away from it all.
 This would be my first explore of these fantastic fells, I have noticed them on many occasion when in the surrounding Yorkshire Dales, so I wanted to create a route that would incorporate The Calf - the highest point of The Howgill's, whilst also bagging other notable high points en-route, that I could incorporate into a circular walk back to Sedbergh.

 It had been a fairly cold night, the temperature had not really got above -2 and I was a bit concerned the mini bus would not make it up the icy looking steep lane to the station car park at Dent. But it was there when the train arrived, and seemingly there was only me and one other hiker taking the bus towards Sedbergh, which I found surprising for a Saturday.
 I was going to be pushed for time on this walk as I wouldn't be arriving into Sedbergh until 11:10am, and the last bus back to Dent station was at 3pm! This was all put to the back of my mind by perfect hiking weather, cold, sunny and clear.

 The mini bus was driven skilfully along the narrow lane that runs along Dentdale towards Sedbergh, passing the pretty village of Dent first before entering into Sedbergh bang on time. My walk started by taking a lane out of the village towards the edge of the first climb, Winder.
 Here walking the very icy lane that runs the edge of the fell...
 HowgillFellsTrek001.jpg
After a good mile of walking the slippery lane, this well walked track allows you out onto the fells...
 HowgillFellsTrek002.jpg
 HowgillFellsTrek004.jpg
Overnight rain had frozen leaving a sheet of ice in amongst the grassy fell side, making it tricky to get a good walking pace on. Here approaching the summit of the fell...
 HowgillFellsTrek006.jpg
Winder summit Trig Point and Toposcope at 473 metres...
 HowgillFellsTrek009.jpg
The wind was particularly harsh on the frozen top of Winder, but the views were fantastic...
 HowgillFellsTrek013.jpg
Continuing now towards the next fell, Arant Haw...
 HowgillFellsTrek017.jpg
 HowgillFellsTrek020.jpg
The summit of Arant Haw is marked by a cairn at 605 metres. Here looking north west from the summit towards the distant snow capped Lake District fells...
 HowgillFellsTrek023.jpg
No time to hang around, I was quickly on towards higher Calders, which is part of a mass known as Brant Fell...
 HowgillFellsTrek026.jpg
 HowgillFellsTrek028.jpg
A steep part of the walk here taking you up towards the summit...
 HowgillFellsTrek032.jpg
The summit of Calders at 674 metres marked by a mini cairn...
 HowgillFellsTrek035.jpg
From Calders the easy to follow path continues north west on ground that doesn't drop below 2000 feet, this is a great bit of beautiful fell walking here... 
 HowgillFellsTrek038.jpg
The main path towards The Calf by-passes the edge of another high point of the Howgill Fells, Bram Rigg Top. I certainly had no intention of missing this one, here branching left from the track out onto the fell...
 HowgillFellsTrek040.jpg
The summit of Bram Rigg Top at 672 metres, with some great views towards Morcambe Bay...
 HowgillFellsTrek041.jpg
After cutting across the rough heathland of Bram Rigg Top, I was soon back onto the main drag towards The Calf. Also a rare sight on this day, other hikers...
 HowgillFellsTrek042.jpg
And to the summit of The Calf, the highest point in The Howgill Fells at 676 metres. The view was outstanding, here to the north west the Lake District mountains on full display with The Old Man of Coniston, the Scafell Range, Helvellyn, Skiddaw and Blencathra all clearly visible...
 HowgillFellsTrek048.jpg
And thanks to one of the other hikers which had assembled on the summit of The Calf, for this photo. After some questions from them on what a certain hill was sticking up on the horizon, I gave a them a 'point out' of each peak that was visible on this fine day... 
 HowgillFellsTrek043.jpg
Cross Fell seemed to have received a significant amount of snow fall over the last few days - making it look fairly massive on the horizon to the north. Here the mighty Wild Boar Fell on the left and neighbouring Swarth Fell on the right in Mallerstang, also looking good snow capped...
 HowgillFellsTrek050.jpg
The summit of The Calf has a seemingly unnamed tarn that was well frozen over. I passed this by over some rough ground heading north east towards this well walked pathway that allows you to descend the fell...
 HowgillFellsTrek054.jpg
 HowgillFellsTrek056.jpg
The impressive looking Yarlside from the steep descent of The Calf...
 HowgillFellsTrek057.jpg
Cutting directly off the fell side here down into this impressive valley...
 HowgillFellsTrek059.jpg
Here Cautley Spout, England's highest waterfall above ground, brokenly falls some 198 metres from the side of The Calf. Cautley Crag looking high beyond the waterfall with a light dusting of snow...
 HowgillFellsTrek062.jpg
Baugh Fell also looking impressive on this day...
 HowgillFellsTrek067.jpg
Looking back up the valley towards a snowy Cautley Crag and the edge of The Calf...
 HowgillFellsTrek075.jpg
 HowgillFellsTrek077.jpg
The path crosses the Cautley Holme Beck here via this well made footbridge, beneath the profile of Great Dummacks...
 HowgillFellsTrek078.jpg
The pathway continues now across much lower ground...
 HowgillFellsTrek079.jpg
Heading back towards Sedbergh here. I was well pushed for time at this point, and in order to get back to the bus I needed to pick up the pace a bit!..
 HowgillFellsTrek080.jpg
I did make back in time for the bus, just. By the skin of my teeth just, but I did! Overall though a magnificent walk taking in some great fell walking across these, for me, newly charted fells. I would strongly recommend walking in this area. I certainly mean to return, perhaps when the bus isn't on a winter time table and you can relax a bit more in regards to time. Sedbergh itself is a pretty little village, well worth a look at, if anything for the pubs that are dotted amongst its old streets. 
 There is something about walking in wintry conditions that makes a fell walk so much more appealing and this walk will have me drawing new routes up in the area for a while now. I have a fondness for the Howgill Fells and I cant wait to return! Thanks for reading :)
Post a Comment