Parking: Lay-by at Howgill Church
Start Point: Howgill Church
Region: Howgill Fells
Route length: 11 miles (17.7km)
Time taken: 03:57
Average speed: 2.8mph
2000s on this walk: Fell Head (643m), Bush Howe (623m), The Calf (676m), Bram Rigg Top (672m), Great Dummacks (663m), Calders (674m)
Additional summits: Arrant Haw (605m), Winder (473m)
Other points of interest: Craggstone Wood
Route: Howgill Church, Gate Side, Beck House, Beck Houses Gate, Whin's End, Fell Head, Windscarth Wyke, Bush Howe, The Calf, Bram Rigg Top, Calders, Little Dummacks, Great Dummacks, Rowantree Grains Fold, Arrant Haw, Winder, Craggstone Wood, Howgill Lane
The Howgill Fells provide the link between the fells of the Lake District and the high hills of the Yorkshire Dales. Sitting between the two national parks provides unprecedented views across both. The Howgill Fells are home to a number of steep-sided hills, huddled together as if being crowded into a corner. Wainwright described them as looking like a herd of sleeping elephants and I rather like that.
The fells are home to 8 of the highest Yorkshire Dales peaks and this walk covers 6 of them in an 11 mile loop. What better way to really get the ball rolling on my aim to climb all 40?
I was really looking forward to this walk as I'd never been to the Howgills and they've been a bit of a mystery to me until now. My first real glimpse of the hills came as I was travelling along the main road through Garsdale. A large lay in next to the road (which I assume is there so people can stop to capture the view) allowed me to pull over and snap the picture below.
|The Howgill Fells from the A684|
The day started with beautiful sunshine as I arrived in Blandsgill to park at the small church as recommended by a number of other walking blogs. For me, parking on a Friday morning wasn't a problem but there is only space for a few (3-4) cars so I'd recommend arriving early on a weekend.
|The car park at the church looking 'busy'|
|Fell Head from Brown Moor|
|The steep path up Fell Head|
|The summit of Fell Head and the ridge around the head of Crooked Ashmere Gills|
|The view down Crooked Ashmere Gills. Fell Head is on the right, Bush Howe on the left|
|The path up to The Calf and just be seen at the top of the picture|
|On top of The Calf, photo courtesy of my trusty little tripod. The Lake District can be seen in the background.|
|The Lake District from The Calf. The Scafells can be seen just left of centre on the skyline|
|Bram Rigg Top from The Calf|
|The summit of Calders with Arrant Haw and Winder in the background|
Calders marked the sixth and final Yorkshire 2000 on this walk but there were still two more summits to cross before the walk was finished; Arrant Haw and Winder.
|Panorama from the summit of Calders. The Yorkshire three peaks can be seen on the skyline to the left. Arrant Haw and Winder form the hill in the centre|
|The summit of Arrant Haw|
|Marker pointing out the visible features of the landscape|
|Trig point and marker pillar on the summit of Winder|
|Me atop Winder before the descent back to the car|
I had a fantastic time walking the western Howgill Fells and found my experience to be the same as many other peoples. Fantastic views and not a soul around. Despite being reletively small hills, the Howgills are unique in their character and appearance, rising as jumble of steep sided grassy mounds without a rock or crag in sight. Just as the Lakes could be seen as a paradise for climbers, the same could be said about the Howgills for walkers.