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Howgill haul + a Cold side serving
by stig_nest » Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:17 pm
Date walked: 10/05/2015
Time taken: 9.2
Distance: 27.6 km
Ascent: 1800m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Having surveyed the graceful lines of the Howgills from the comfort of my car whilst pootling up the M6 for a number of years I thought it was time I actually paid a visit with my boots. The Howgills have a good collection of Hewitts and as such should make for an enjoyable day. but how to make a circuit of them?
There's the challenge of the Howgills. The two eastern hills, Yarlside and Randygill top are separated from the rest of the group by the deep cleft of Bowderdale . Having given it much thought I elected to attempt the following route.
Arriving around 8 am, (the early start from Shropshire meant the motorways were quiet) I set about finding somewhere sensible to park and was directed to a very handy spot by a local farmer. I parked at the entrance to Beck Foot gr630958 and set off up the very quiet lane to Beck House.
Passing through the farmyard the fun almost immediately started, the path seems to just vanish. Keep an eye on the map and you wont miss the dog leg over the stream (like I did). Now in rough meadow the hills now looking tantalizingly close I recrossed the beck and headed up mainly pathless slopes to Whins End.
The climb up from here looked and was a bit of a lung buster. But there was a worn route up and aside from the gradient it was relatively easy work as it turned out, though the cairn at the top was a most welcome sight. Having caught my breath I carried on to the true summit of Fell Head. Hewitt number 1.
Todays weather wasn't really what I had ordered but at least it wasn't raining. The views by now had opened up Northwards and given it's fairly isolated position the vista was suitably rewarding.
The next leg of the journey certainly looked on paper (laminated paper) a fair bit easier and so it proved to be.
Firstly visiting the highest point of the group The Calf, then on to Calders. Again the views matched expectations.
The onward route now took me further away from the car and significantly downhill. Yarlside already looked a brute from my vantage point on Calders. There were no serious thoughts about baling out though so on and down I went.
Around the point marked Hare Shaw on the map I left the path to bottom out at the head of Bowderdale and then having given it a cursing survey just went at the beastie that is Yarlside.
I didn't really have a plan on how to tackle this steep pathless climb, I just gritted my teeth and made steady progress, weaving between tufty bits and taking the odd breather to turn around and marvel at the spectacle of Cautley Spout.
The summit of Yarlside couldn't really come soon enough but arriving at the top I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a nicely formed cairn, just an untidy jumble of stones. I suppose anyone coming up here has spent enough energy getting here and doesn't have a spare hour or so to build a sturdy pillar!
My next objective Randygill Top now lay about a mile North and at a similar height. Howeve,r to get there I first needed to traverse Kensgriff. To get to Kensgriff involved a descent off Yarlside which if anything was steeper than the ascent. I stopped just shy of the col for a lunch break, enjoying the peace and relative shelter from the wind which had by now picked up quite noticeably. I felt pretty good at this point, Knowing that the toughest climb was now behind me and although I still had the long walk out from Randygill the legs felt pretty good, so onwards.
Kensgriff was dispatched quickly enough, a nice little summit which is totally dominated by its two loftier neighbours, and then the climb up the grassy slopes of Randygill Top soon led to the fifth Hewitt of the day.
My return leg was simple enough - get back to the car!
However, there was a valley to recross and a steady climb right over the top of The Calf before I could start the final descent. 250 m descents are where possible, avoided by me. I don't mind the climbing - indeed my legs seem to revel in it, but there was more walking planned for the weekend and as such keeping re-ascent to a minimum seemed wise. There was no getting around this one though - so down into the very pretty Bowderdale I returned before heading back up along the flanks of Yarlside and winding my way back up to The Calf.
In many respects The Calf is the least impressive of the Howgill Hewitts. The summit area is fairly flat with no immediate drops. There's probably a fairly large pool up here on times but this was dry today. The trig point is in pretty good condition and it's notable that it is the only triangulated Hewitt up here. I'd say the star of this group has to be Yarlside. It's one of those aloof mountains which allows no easy route of ascent and to include it in any round requires a significant up and down. I like hills like this, You really feel like you've toiled for the right to stand at its summit.
My way back to the car was now relatively straightforward. Just as well as the wind was now reaching Cyclonic proportions!
Looping around onto White Fell I picked up the old bridleway and followed it steadily down to Long Rigg Beck. All the tops becoming more and more impressive as the height was lost. Fell Head in particular was towering from this vantage point.
Fording the beck I continued round heading for Castley Farm. Just short of the farm I startled a buzzard who showed his displeasure by subjecting me to 3 or 4 close swoops.
The final section now on tarmac was as straight forward as it gets and no sooner was I back at the car the kettle was on - Tea up!
Having changed and realising that I'd still got a good few hours of daylight left I nipped further up the M6 to visit the most Northerly of The Pennines Cold Fell.
I had got there and parked up by ten past six. Being a cheeky swine I saved a good wodge of time by driving up the track to the hamlet of Howgill and parked discreetly at the side of the track.
On the map there appears to be a half decent path up onto the open fell. This initially was the case, however having crossed the stream the track then promptly disappeared into a reedy marshy section. It reappears shortly afterwards and continued up the hill before gradually becoming little more than a quad bike track through increasingly wet terrain.
The heather got heatherier and the boggy bits got boggier but having picked up the fence a beeline was then made for the summit.
The wind which had been blowing all afternoon showed no sign of abating.Thankfully though it had brightened up somewhat and the sunshine over the Solway Firth was a highlight of what is a very fine view. The summit has a large cairn and trig point and has a feel of being far more remote than it is. It's a bit of a shame it was such a wet route which I now had to reverse and something of a surprise given the hills Hewitt status, Which way do people normally climb Cold Fell ? (which by now had been renamed cold and wet fell).
I was back at the car by 8 pm and having recharged on tea and into dry clean clothes again headed for my overnight at Cow Green.
Stats are combined figures.
Howgills walk - 1430m of ascent, 21.3k, 7hr 40 min including breaks.
by trailmasher » Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:54 pm
by ChrisW » Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:23 am
by Broggy1 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:09 pm
I climbed Yarlside by the mentioned "even steeper side" - it's pretty vertical but dare I say easier to go up than go down!
As for Cold Fell - I used your route of ascent but actually started in Halbankgate so varied the descent route along the fence over the two small hills nearby (Talkin Fell and Simmerson Hill). This seemed a nicer route on the whole than the ascent route. and the two smaller hills were actually more interesting.
by 37201xoIM » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:24 pm
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