Discovering the Howgills

I’ve not been able to blog much recently, moving house has taken over my life for the last few months. Thankfully I’ve still been able to get outside regularly.

Saturday’s adventures come from the Howgills, I’ve often looked at this area on maps and thought “I must go there some day” but I’ve never made it until now.
What an area for walking, I see 3 people all day and the rest of the time I had it all to myself 🙂

Starting from the lay by near the Cross Keys outside Sedbergh I took the path to Cautley Spout but instead of heading up to the falls I headed up the short, steep climb to Bowderdale Head. At the top of the climb a large grass valley opened up before me, surrounded by imposing hills. It was beautiful, such a remote and peaceful place.

Following Bowderdale Beck through the pathless grass to the foot of Ram’s gill where I broke for lunch. Sunny day, blue skies, stream flowing next to me and birds singing. The perfect lunch spot. Life definitely doesn’t get much better than this.

It was at this point that it became apparent that I’d clearly bought Crazy Matt out for the day as I decided not to follow the nice easy path upwards but instead opted for the more direct route.
Straight up Ram’s Gill.

Had a look, yep this seems like a great idea.

It was hard work. My legs were burning. My feet were begging to have somewhere flat to rest.
It seemed to go on forever but I got to the point where turning back just wasn’t an option so ploughed on.
Eventually the gradient became much less steep and I was just on a gentle slope upwards through bog towards the Dales High Way. I was overjoyed to be in bog and no longer have my legs screaming at me that they were going to kill me while I slept tonight.
Joined the Dales High Way and headed to the summit of Hazelgill Knot for some absolutely stunning panoramic views.

Then headed back the way I had come to the summit of The Calf. I just didn’t want to come down, it really is so beautiful up there.

Crazy Matt then turned up again and said “This descent looks interesting”. I know what “interesting” means but I still thought “yeah let’s go for it”

Dropping down by Force Gill Beck and Red Gill Beck towards Cautley Spout. A lovely walk, stream flowing beside me, sun in the sky. I’d clearly made the right decision.

Then I get to Cautley Spout.
“Ooh that’s a steep drop”

The path down by the waterfall is probably called “Suicide Drop” and it may well have had a sign up calling it that but the sign dropped into the abyss years ago.

It was steep, near vertical would describe it best.
The drop down the waterfall to the right certainly made sure my whole focus was on getting down.
My knees screamed at me.
Hands were used, a lot.
It was slow, slow going.

I was so happy when I finally made it to the bottom.
I’m not sure I want to repeat that descent anytime soon but what a fantastic day out.


3 thoughts on “Discovering the Howgills

  1. Fantastic accessible area with a base in Sedbergh where there is a great choice of accommodation and a growing ‘buzz’ in the Town with the Black Bull ready to open in 2 weeks time to join the superb Howgills Barn and Howgills Apartments offering great walkers and cyclist facilities


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