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The Calf and Yarlside

The Calf and Yarlside


Postby colgregg » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:01 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Calders, The Calf, Yarlside

Date walked: 17/04/2011

Time taken: 5

Distance: 11 km

Ascent: 2606m

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I have long neglected the Howgills, prefering to head past to the Lakes or opting for a walk in the Yorkshire dales instead. Today however I rectified that situation by doing a walk that ranks amongst the best I've done outside the Lakes.
I'll start by saying that the weather was excellent throughout with the sunshine for most of the day.
I parked up at the Cross Keys inn at Cautley and walked the level mile to the base of Englands highest series of waterfalls with the impressive Cautley Crags to my left and the steep slopes of Yarlside's Southern slopes to my right. It is here that the hardest part of the walk begins. It is a steep 700 ft climb up the path which closely follows the waterfall to where the stream levels out above Swere Gill. From here you can take your pick as to which way to go to get to the summit of the calf with many following Red Beck gill to Calders before heading North to The Calf. The best option in my opinion is to follow the path along the top of the crag, with fantastic views to the valley below the Spout, until reaching Great Dummacks. From here it is a level walk west for half a mile to the summit of Calders and my first Hewitt of the day. In perfect conditions the views would be far reaching but the haze stopped me seeing Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland Fells. In fact anything more than around 20 miles away was either a silhouette or non existant but hey, let's not get picky!!!
From Calders (2211ft) to the Calf the path is excellent it being almost wide and even enough for a car to use and in next to no time I was on the summit of The Calf at 2,218 ft. The summit commands an extensive panorama, although foreground detail is obscured by the extreme flatness of the plateau. A twenty-mile skyline of the Lakeland peaks can be seen, as well as the Yorkshire Three Peaks and many of the nearer Howgill Fells.
It is also from here that you get to appreciate the complexity of the Howgills. In a relatively small area there are many ridges, hidden valleys and summits to be explored.
Having stuffed myself with country slices I headed off the summit to the North East on the path which eventually leads into Bowderdale. As I wanted to include Yarlside In the day I made a beeline down the steep but easy slope to Bowderdale Head before an equally steep 600ft re-ascent to the ridge path which took me to the unassuming summit of Yarlside at 2096ft. That was the hat trick of Hewitts for the day. On a warm sunny day there's I've always had a reluctance to leave the last summit of a walk. It marks the beginning of the end of the challenges Ive set and every step is a step back to the realities of everyday life, often forgotten about when wandering the hills. After a final look round at the route I'd taken I made the steep descent North to the saddle seperating Yarlside and Kensgriff. Others might disagree with me but I found Kensgriff to resemble Great Gable's Wasdale face in a way, It even had it's own set of crags below the summit. The path back to Cautley followed what I term as a "mid level traverse" under the Eastern slopes of Yarlside in a beautifully secluded valley through which the interestly named Backside Beck flowed, 600ft below me. This is a lovely mile of level walking and I stopped several times along the way just to sit there and take in how quiet it was. Perfect silence, even the sheep were quiet. Having just experienced walking heaven I was now overlooking Cautley and the valley leading up to the Crag and spout so I took ten minutes out to savour the view before dropping down to the path and the car.
Those wanting to reflect on their day over a pint will be out of luck as the Cross Keys is a Temperence Inn so no alcohol is served but you can get a cuppa and a meal. Those who wish for something stronger must head for Sedburgh or the Fat Lamb which is 6 miles up the road toward Kirkby Stephen. As it's easier to get your foot out of a giant clam than get me to pay over the odds for a cup of coffee I just waited til I got home before downing several coffees in quick succession.

New_Route(5).gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


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Cautley Spout, lower fall

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Cautley Spout, upper falls

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Cautley Crag

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Bowderdale

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Cautley Crag from Bowderdale Head. If Cautley crag's Western slopes were as steep as it's other faces it would be regarded as one of the finest hills in England. In reality it is merely the abrupt end to the flat upland area of Great Dummacks which, despite it's height, cannot claim to be a Hewitt that accolade belongs to Calders a level half mile to the West.

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Kengriff
colgregg
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Re: The Calf and Yarlside

Postby Red Peak » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:34 pm

Nice report, colgregg, and some great photos. The Howgills are a seriously overlooked range of hills when compared to the Dales and the Lakes, which makes them ideal if you want a bit of peace and quiet away from the crowds. Sounds like you had a great day.

I didn't realise the Cross Keys was a temperance Inn! An inn that doesn't serve alcohol? Doesn't that make it just a cafe then? ... :lol:
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Re: The Calf and Yarlside

Postby canisp » Tue May 03, 2011 9:42 am

That looked a fine day out. I followed a similar route when doing these hills and thought the path along the top of the crag gave great views, my one regret was doing the walk during a dry spell which meant i didn’t see the falls at their best :(
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Re: The Calf and Yarlside

Postby tango » Tue May 03, 2011 3:47 pm

A nice report, i done these hills summer 2010, and it was an excellent day out, over 20 odd kms! and not a soul to be seen, I walked up the side of Randygill Top, phew what a killer :shock: .. that is 1 of those hills where you take the view in under duress!!!. cheers
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Re: The Calf and Yarlside

Postby colgregg » Tue May 03, 2011 6:17 pm

I've got to return to do Randygill as it's a Hewitt and will probably do it via Weasdale and Green Bell, throw in Kensgriff and back via Bowderdale or the ridge to the East. Also need to do Fell End but it would make a very difficult walk do do in one go. I met no one after leaving the Calf and As I said the walk back from Yarlside was as near perfection as you could get.
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Re: The Calf and Yarlside

Postby tango » Wed May 04, 2011 1:20 pm

Yeah i did all those hills in 1 go & it was a nice day, even know i was breathing out of my butt on a few of them!!!, The Howgills were a set of hills i had been looking at for a long time, i kept driving past them on the M6, So 1 day of i went and bagged them!! jolly good had by me & the mutts :D
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Re: The Calf and Yarlside

Postby Crawler » Thu May 12, 2011 10:52 am

Haven't been to the Howgills for years either. Did a similar start to yours but then came down over either Knock or Winder to Sedbergh - never saw a thing! Must get back there
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Re: The Calf and Yarlside

Postby ChrisW » Thu May 12, 2011 7:41 pm

What a cracking bunch of hills that until now were well off my radar....not any more though :wink: Great report and photos of a cracking wee walk :D
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Re: The Calf and Yarlside

Postby colgregg » Thu May 12, 2011 11:55 pm

ChrisW wrote:What a cracking bunch of hills that until now were well off my radar....not any more though :wink: Great report and photos of a cracking wee walk :D

Glad to have given you some inspiration to visit them it really is excellent walking. I hope you get there before long and are as impressed as I was. In fact I may well be paying another visit this weekend so eyes peeled for a report pending.
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