Calf Top, the new Hewitt
by poppiesrara » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:23 pm
Hewitts included on this walk: Calf Top
Date walked: 11/09/2016
Time taken: 3.5
Distance: 16.75 km
Ascent: 680m5 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).
Well, that rather moved it up the agenda, with the help of a good forecast for today. I thought I'd climbed all the Hewitts around there, and suddenly I hadn't! It's easy to tell yourself that the 0.02 ft (or a full quarter of an inch…) by which it now apparently exceeds 2000ft shouldn't make any difference, and to be sniffy about the 'list-ticking' mentality that makes it so. But most or all of us are like that really – no-one would be visiting Armboth Fell rather than the hundreds of other nondescript rises in Lakeland bogs if Wainwright hadn't honoured it, but plenty do now… And Calf Top is far better than that.
Barbon is a lovely village with quite a few walkers about, but not many of them are yet beating this path: the 'footpath' to Eskholme exists only on the OS map and not on the ground. But once into access land a decent grass track appears climbing up very steeply to the cairned hill above, fine views back over the Lune Valley and probably, with less haze, to the Lakes too. The next couple of miles over Castle Knott are more of a moorland trudge on a very broad ridge, but it's easy quick walking – much like the Howgills that rise nearby, generally firm grass and the wet parts sitting up as nicely obvious and avoidable puddles, bar a little stretch of proper marsh in the col. It's all much more pleasant than the neighbouring tops of Great Coum and Baugh Fell, and Calf Top itself is a fine distinct peak on the edge of the valley. Given how its new status had come about, I'd expected plenty of doubt about where the summit was, but nothing too far away from the trig seems nearly as high, and the ground a few feet the other side of the wall does actually look a little above. I plodded around there for a minute or two until fairly satisfied I'd touched that vital quarter-inch (although touching it too firmly might well knock it back under the mark!).
The hilltop is right on the edge of a pretty vertiginous-looking drop to Barbondale far below. While apparently navigable, it really didn't look at all appealing as a descent, and it's probably worth making a fuller walk of this, and following the flattish ridge north for a mile before trying. As you do, the views really open up to the northern Dales in a curve round from the Howgills and over Dentdale, and an easy dry and grassy descent over Combe Top is possible (cross the first stile seen at 663869, follow the wall left to the kink at 664872 and then strike out due east to reach a couple of easily-visible gates leading down to the footpath at 673870).
Having (damply) crossed the reedy headwaters of Barkin Beck there, the stream is a constant companion for the next four miles descending gradually down Barbondale – it's fascinating to watch it turned, by countless feeders coming down the fellsides, from a sluggish marsh to a broad and fast-flowing river, with lovely cascades lower down. The road I took is pleasant walking, very quiet and broad-verged, but there looked to be a passable path on the far side of the beck as an alternative; either way, the stoned bridleway through the mixed woodlands of Barbon Park and alongside the best parts of the river is definitely the right finish.
A really good Dales Walk, Hewitt or not, and even if they re-measure it next week a different way at least I can always say that I climbed it while it was a 'mountain'...
by johnkaysleftleg » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:40 am
It does look like a very welcome addition to the Hewitts however even if it is by the smallest of margins, a fine report of what looks to be a fine hill.
by Broggy1 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:54 am
I loved Calf Top when I did it (like you say very Howgillesque) and I'm glad it's got the recognition it needed - although I always feel for anybody who completes a list only to have a new top added - particularly if they can't walk anymore. I guess the list is the list while you are walking and you can't worry about things being added later?
The drop down into Barbondale is indeed very steep as you say!
by ChrisW » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:46 pm
by trailmasher » Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:43 pm
by stig_nest » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:37 pm
I'm glad you got up there and you've confirmed what we both suspected that Calf Top would be a worthy outing. I will hopefully find myself up there by the end of the year.
I've tried to make a habit of planning in any marginal tops whilst on my travels just in case they do get bumped up. They're invariably on another list so they all count!
I look forward to your next report.
by john923 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:03 pm