Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sallows & Sour Howes

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Route: Jesus Church, Church Bridge, The Howe, Garburn Road, Garburn Nook, Garburn Pass, Sallows, Moor Head, Sour Howes, Backstone Barrow, Garburn Road, The Howe, Troutbeck

Date: 25/01/2015
From: Troutbeck

Parking: Roadside parking opposite Jesus Church
Start Point: Troutbeck
Region: North Western Fells

Route length: 5.3 miles (8.5 km)
Time taken: 02:18
Average speed: 2.3 mph
Ascent: 473m
Descent: 482m

Wainwrights on this walk:
Sallows (516m), Sour Howes (483m)

Additional summits: None

Other points of interest: Garburn Road, Backstone Barrow

Having a week off work is a wonderful thing, allowing planning of adventures in far off lands or, in my case, the far off Lake District. Sadly, the weather rarely tends to follow suit and, after having arranged the time off, presented us with a fairly deary few days. Despite this we managed to do a couple of decent, if not wet walks on the fringe fells of the Lakes. The first of these would be a quick trip over Sallows and Sour Howes.

You may remember I've visited Sallows previously while completing the Kentmere horseshoe. An unremarkable if not forgettable fell that, combined with its partner Sour Howes, presents a fairly untaxing morning out. We'd picked a route for a cloudy, wet day that would take us the the summit of the Garburn Pass before crossing the peaks of the two fells and returning to Troutbeck, our starting point for the day.

We parked on the road adjacent to the church in Troutbeck, the unusually named Jesus Church. The origin of this Church is lost, but it certainly existed in 1506. Instead of the usual dedication to a patron saint, it has the unusual name of ‘Jesus Church’. The whole Church was dismantled and rebuilt in 1736, and a major restoration took place in 1861.
Trout Beck
A short distance from the church is Church Bridge which carries the road over Trout Beck, the river that gives the valley and the village its name. Here, a long bridleway links Troutbeck to Garburn Road, a pass that ultimately connects Troutbeck to Kentmere. For now, the views for pretty reasonable and extended as far as Troutbeck Tongue squatting at the head of the valley. As we climbed higher though, we reached the base of the overburdened clouds and spent the rest of the day wallowing through the greyness.
The foot of Garburn Road is marked by a new sign
The lane leading up to The Howe
A gloomy Troutbeck
Wansfell in the murk
Troutbeck Tongue sulking at the head of the valley
Garburn Road
Garburn Road and Troutbeck
The lane winds on
The route to the Garburn Pass is very easy, following the often walled lane for the entire length. The route links Troutbeck and Kentmere by crossing the lower ground on the ridge between Yoke and Sallows. This is another centuries old route used by the Drovers and the Packhorse trains.
Approaching the murk
Some icy patches added a small element of treachery
After ploughing through the clag for a number of miles we reached said link between Sallows and Yoke and turned off onto the wild fellside. This short section presented the only real challenge of the day, a short yet steep and grassy climb up onto the summit of Sallows (also termed Kentmere Park and Applethwaite Common on Ordnance Survey maps).
Garburn Pass from the slopes of Sallows
Climbing Sallows
The summit of Sallows
We paused in the wind at the summit, only really confident we had made it thanks to the fact I'd been here before when the weather was much nicer. We set a bearing to the west and tracked across open fellside to a prominent drystone wall that runs right to Sour Howes. Following the route here is straightforward and a path running parallel to the wall leads directly to the summit. It also avoids losing any height by skirting the large coombe of Wardless.
The wall we followed to Sour Howes
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The path skirts the top of a large combe
Once again, we were only confident we reached the top thanks to the GPS. It turns out that the top (according to the spot height on an OS map) bears absolutely nothing. No cairn. Not even a pile of stones. To add to the confusion, a prominent hummock a short distance away does have a small cairn on it. I'm of the opinion that this has been mistaken for the summit thanks to its isolation but I stand to be corrected.
The summit of Sour Howes
Not the summit of Sour Howes
We passed another group of determined walkers as we made our descent back across Applethwaite Common to  the Garburn Road once again. They'd been lucky enough to be around the previous day when the weather was glorious. No such luck today. The rain was well and truly set in now.

We crossed the top of a rocky outcrop called Backstone Barrow before we arrived at the track, a pair of ladder stiles waiting for us to climb over the walls. A very noticeable path leads from the summit of Sour Howes down to the Garburn Road, none of which is marked on the maps, certainly my editions at least. Back on the road, we retraced our morning route back to Troutbeck and the car for a brief dry off. The day wasn't over yet.
Backstone Barrow
Crossing Garburn Road
The walled bridleway on its way back to Troutbeck