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Hobbling in the Howgills

Hobbling in the Howgills


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:28 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Randygill Top, The Calf

Date walked: 23/10/2019

Time taken: 5.75

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 1024m

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I've had quite a few trips to the Howgills over the years but one thing I've never done is walk in to the high ground from the North. The scenery is certainly less dramatic from this aspect but the slopes are also easier. I set off my usual time and arrived at the hamlet of Bowderdale before day break for an overdue visit to these wonderful hills.

For the second walk in a row the early start was rewarded with a great sunrise as very dramatic pre-dawn light lit up the clouds all kinds of reds, oranges and pinks.

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Glorious Sunrise from Bowderdale

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Red sky in morning?

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More subtle colours

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A fiery start to the day

With the drama over fairly quickly I set about plodding gently upwards, a little cow avoidance was required but it was all easy going and we soon made it to the open fellside past the intake wall. Here more typical Howgills scenery of the beautifully eroded gills, cascading down the eastern flank of West Fell came into view. My attention was also drawn towards some strange clouds formed over the Eden valley which looked lovely in the soft morning light as my faithful hound Hughie and I, made our way to the first top of the day.
Hooksey is one of those very odd names in the Howgills that seem very out of place, who or what is a Hooksey :? It's also worth noting that on the OS map it isn't necessarily the name of the fell as it appears quite a way form the nondescript summit. I do often wonder just what the local guide said to the pioneering OS men at times which led to some things appearing on maps and then seemingly being set in stone.

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This way to the hills

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The road becomes a track

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Soft light over Ravenstonedale Moor

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First sight of some typical Howgill's scenery

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Sunshine back in the Dale

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Some terrific cloudage

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Light breaking over Green Bell

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Some locals

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High Howgills from Hooksey

The wind was quite insistent at this point so we dropped down towards Leathgill Bridge to have a spot of breakfast with the bulk of Randygill Top looming ahead. Those of you who read my reports may recall an idiots day out back in July where not only was I thwarted by my own lack of planning but also had my heels ravaged by some new lightweight boots. Well I've got the bloody things on again today and once again they are doing their worst. :evil: A bit of hunting around in my pack turns up some blister plasters :D Job sorted then! and we are soon romping our way up to the the cairn on Randygill Top where the sun blasts through those early morning clouds to warm the otherwise chilly day.

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Fellside Textures

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Over to Green Bell

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Looking back to Hooksey

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Green Bell from Randygill Top

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Randygill Top

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Hughie on Randygill Top

My plan, such as it was, involved dropping down into Bowderdale at this point. The temptation of continuing on to Kensgriff and Yarlside being a pure fiction as a man must know his limits. :wink: I employed my usual method on England's Northern hills of finding a trod going roughly in the direction I wish to go, then following it. This led to a fairly exhilarating descent down to Bowderdale Beck on what was at times an unfeasibly steep path. Arriving at the beck I realised I had to then cross it, a bit of searching for a suitable place saw me go for it and end up getting my feet wet but more importantly, my blister plasters.

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Alignment

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Yarlside and Kensgriff

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Heading off Randygill Top in bright sunshine

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Sheepfold

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Bowderdale Head

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Headlong plunge

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Sky and Fellside

Once across I started the steady climb up the relatively gently rising path towards the Calf. It soon became apparent however that all was not good in the foot department. :( The sensible thing to do would be to turn around and make my way back along Bowderdale as level/down hill was OK, but being a stubborn so and so I carried out a bit of patching up and hobbled on towards to a deserted and really quite chilly summit of The Calf.

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Bowderdale Head panorama

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Lovely Light in Bowdwedale

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Cautley Crag

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Layers

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Wild Boar and Swarth Fells

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Haway dad get a move on!

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The Calf

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Towards the Lakes from The Calf

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Chilly on The Calf

Thankfully the lions share of ascent had been done by now so the nice easy walking towards Hazelgill Knott was a relief compared to the agony of climbing The Calf. :shock: For the only time during the whole walk I crossed paths with another walker along here, looks like the Howgills are still a mid week sanctuary for those of a misanthropic tendency then. :D
I decided upon reaching the unmarked and unremarkable summit plonk myself down on a mossy lump and have lunch. Hazelgill Knott is quite central in the Howgills so the views are excellent, and I enjoyed a fine repast sitting with my infernal footwear off my poor feet, trying to forget about the three and a half miles or so back to the car.

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Looking down Langdale

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But is it art?

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Looking back at The Calf

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Through the gap to Castle Fell and Mabin Crag

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Just give me the food!

Food over with I reluctantly pulled on the torture devices and set about getting back to the car. The ground so far had been very dry and firm underfoot but once on the seemingly endless West Fell the ground started to get a lot wetter and it was a never ending plod to the high point at the North end of the fell.

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Looking down to Langdale Knott

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Fell Head

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Light on Cobles - another of those odd Howgill names

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Randygill Top and Yarlside

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Sunshine on West Fell Summit

From the last top of the day it was a very easy wander gently downhill back to Bowderdale. It was warm in the lea of the Southerly wind and with the sun shining it was even possible to forget my poor feet for a while.

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Easy strolling

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A last look up Bowderdale

So a great walk, all said and done, apart from the obvious issue with footwear. Did the offending items get binned following this I here you ask? well no, new foot beds and some heel grips have rendered them useful and I have subsequently completed a couple of pain free walks. :D


The Calf and Randygill Top.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

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Re: Hobbling in the Howgills

Postby dav2930 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:57 pm

Shame about your choice of boots, JK, but otherwise looked a great day out! Those long northern ridges of the Howgills look enticing on the map, don't they? It's a pity Bowderdale Head is such a drop between Yarlside and The Calf, as it spoils the possibility of following the ridges in a high-level circuit. Fine walking all the same. Great photos as ever. :D
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Re: Hobbling in the Howgills

Postby trailmasher » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:06 pm

A fine walk on some very fine fells with your images portraying them at their best :clap: even the valleys are lovely and full of interest :) This is a walk that I have done quite a few times and I never tire of walking in the Howgills 8)
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Re: Hobbling in the Howgills

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:07 am

I really enjoyed seeing this area tackled from the North.

dav2930 wrote:...Great photos as ever. :D
. What more to say? It's invidious to single out any in particular, but at such a risk: I especially like: "Fellside Textures", "Alignment", "layers", "Looking down Langdale", "Light on Cobles" - and many many more actually, including the one of Hughie winking :wink: .

I smiled at your reflections on naming. I too have often wondered at the almost arbitrary way in which names seem to be plastered on OS maps, often some distance from the feature named. Fine if you know the name of a feature from some other source, but mildly irritating if you don't!!

On the boots question: I used to get blister a lot and tried many different boots. All changed when I started walking in reasonably robust trainers, in combination with 1000 mile socks. Indeed using the latter, even when I have to wear boots - ie when winter walking or scrambling in snow - I no longer get blisters. You might want to give them a try...???
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Re: Hobbling in the Howgills

Postby Fractral » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:05 pm

The howgills are a wonderful place to walk alone. The inner parts have a sense of remoteness I've never felt in the Lake District. Similar in some ways to the north penines, but less horribly unpleasant.
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Re: Hobbling in the Howgills

Postby jmarkb » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:42 pm

Nice report, and great photos (as always!). I'm very fond on the Howgills, having gone to school in Sedbergh, and having parents who retired to the area. Much drier/easier walking than most of the Pennines!

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Hooksey is one of those very odd names in the Howgills that seem very out of place, who or what is a Hooksey It's also worth noting that on the OS map it isn't necessarily the name of the fell as it appears quite a way form the nondescript summit


According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_generic_forms_in_place_names_in_Ireland_and_the_United_Kingdom the -ey suffix (from Old English haeg) denotes an enclosure, and I suppose Hook might be a person's name. This might explain why the name does not appear to apply to a summit? There is also a Pinksey on the other side of Weasdale.
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Re: Hobbling in the Howgills

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:04 pm

dav2930 wrote:Shame about your choice of boots, JK, but otherwise looked a great day out! Those long northern ridges of the Howgills look enticing on the map, don't they? It's a pity Bowderdale Head is such a drop between Yarlside and The Calf, as it spoils the possibility of following the ridges in a high-level circuit. Fine walking all the same. Great photos as ever. :D


This was indeed a fine route and one I'm recommend. Another issue with Yarlside is it's so ridiculously steep from just about any direction. I've dropped down to the saddle on the way to Kensgriff before, the thought of attempting to climb up that scree and grass slope doesn't bear thinking about :lol:

trailmasher wrote:A fine walk on some very fine fells with your images portraying them at their best :clap: even the valleys are lovely and full of interest :) This is a walk that I have done quite a few times and I never tire of walking in the Howgills 8)


Thank you TM, there is something about the Howgills that always feels very welcoming to me, huge number of possible variations as well.

Alteknacker wrote:I really enjoyed seeing this area tackled from the North.

What more to say? It's invidious to single out any in particular, but at such a risk: I especially like: "Fellside Textures", "Alignment", "layers", "Looking down Langdale", "Light on Cobles" - and many many more actually, including the one of Hughie winking :wink: .

I smiled at your reflections on naming. I too have often wondered at the almost arbitrary way in which names seem to be plastered on OS maps, often some distance from the feature named. Fine if you know the name of a feature from some other source, but mildly irritating if you don't!!

On the boots question: I used to get blister a lot and tried many different boots. All changed when I started walking in reasonably robust trainers, in combination with 1000 mile socks. Indeed using the latter, even when I have to wear boots - ie when winter walking or scrambling in snow - I no longer get blisters. You might want to give them a try...???


You are too kind, I'm quite partial to Alignment myself from this days shots. Many thanks for the sock recommendation but as I always use lining socks I'm not sure they would present much different, still probably get a pair or two however, you can never have enough good socks. The problem was the total lack of padding at the back of the heels which a set of heel grips which stick to the back of the boot looks to have solved. :D
I do wish I could get away with walking shoes/trainers but without the support of the boot my ankles tend to suffer quite badly on rougher ground.

Fractral wrote:The howgills are a wonderful place to walk alone. The inner parts have a sense of remoteness I've never felt in the Lake District. Similar in some ways to the north penines, but less horribly unpleasant.


I agree entirely, there are places in the valleys where the rest of the world is so far from sight and sound that It may as well not exist.

jmarkb wrote:Nice report, and great photos (as always!). I'm very fond on the Howgills, having gone to school in Sedbergh, and having parents who retired to the area. Much drier/easier walking than most of the Pennines!

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Hooksey is one of those very odd names in the Howgills that seem very out of place, who or what is a Hooksey It's also worth noting that on the OS map it isn't necessarily the name of the fell as it appears quite a way form the nondescript summit


According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_generic_forms_in_place_names_in_Ireland_and_the_United_Kingdom the -ey suffix (from Old English haeg) denotes an enclosure, and I suppose Hook might be a person's name. This might explain why the name does not appear to apply to a summit? There is also a Pinksey on the other side of Weasdale.


Many thanks for your kind words. Fine information to unlock a mini mystery, I suppose Leathgill Head would be a better name for Hooksey in all honesty.
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Re: Hobbling in the Howgills

Postby past my sell by date » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:35 pm

Fractral wrote:The howgills are a wonderful place to walk alone. The inner parts have a sense of remoteness I've never felt in the Lake District. Similar in some ways to the north penines, but less horribly unpleasant.

Great report lovely pics.
I used to regularly go from Rassendle via Green Bell, Randygill top, back to the col before Kengriff to descend into Bowderdale - Calf, Calders, Arant Haw and down Settlebeck gill to Sedburgh. I always felt when I dropped into Bowderdale that it was amazingly remote there :D :D
Great area and (thankfullly) very under appreciated. Never saw anyone til I reached the Calf
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Re: Hobbling in the Howgills

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:45 am

past my sell by date wrote:Great report lovely pics.
I used to regularly go from Rassendle via Green Bell, Randygill top, back to the col before Kengriff to descend into Bowderdale - Calf, Calders, Arant Haw and down Settlebeck gill to Sedburgh. I always felt when I dropped into Bowderdale that it was amazingly remote there :D :D
Great area and (thankfullly) very under appreciated. Never saw anyone til I reached the Calf


Many thanks, Green Bell is a fine view point, I remember great views of both the North Pennines and the Lakes when I visited. There is a small pasture at Blakethwaite bottom over the west side which feels totally cut off from the world. I recall standing there in total profound silence. So good places like this still exist so close to home.
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Re: Hobbling in the Howgills

Postby Christo1979 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:54 pm

Thanks for a great report, and some stunning photos! A shame about the footwear, but the views look marvellous and remind me of my (so far) only trip to the Howgills earlier in the year. The red morning sky is something else.
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Re: Hobbling in the Howgills

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:58 am

Christo1979 wrote:Thanks for a great report, and some stunning photos! A shame about the footwear, but the views look marvellous and remind me of my (so far) only trip to the Howgills earlier in the year. The red morning sky is something else.


Many thanks, the conditions more than made up for any temporary pain.
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