More time in the Socially Distancing Howgills

Date walked: 31/05/2020

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 16km

Ascent: 950m

We've been looking at the Howgills as somewhere new to explore for a while now, they are similar to the hills in the Southern Uplands to look at but on a smaller scale, every time we see them from the M6 we keep promising ourselves a day out in them sometime.

We had an exploratory foray in them a couple of weeks ago after the lockdown rules had been eased a bit (there's a report in my blog) and found them pleasant to walk in, not wanting to go too far from the car at the time we managed to spend enough time getting a feel for them.
When studying the map afterwards there were a couple of tops we could have included if we were fitter, Rispa Pike and Hand Lake so, on this occasion, I wanted to try and include them on a slightly longer route :D

I chose the area around Carlingill Bridge as the start point, there's a few convenient parking spots on the side the road as you head south from the bridge, we parked around SD625995

When we arrived there were about six cars already parked up, so it was busier than it was two weeks ago, there were no cars at all last time. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky, it was warm with a slight cooling breeze. We got ready for the off.

This was our planned route and, just for fun, a steep start up Blease Fell just to get the legs warmed up :lol:

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

ImageP5310025 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

Tops visited on our day out:-

Blease Fell
Hare Shaw
Rispa Pike
Hand Lake

A view to Weasel Gill from the car

ImageP5310024 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

We crossed Carlin Gill at around SD627998 and headed up along side the fence, there's a slight path so we weren't walking through the emerging bracken. About 30 or 40 meters above where the fence takes a sharp left turn a path appears running across the hillside and heads up above Grains Gill, you can see it from the road, so instead of a pure direct assault as I'd originally planned, we followed this path, it was becoming too warm for anything "direct" today :lol:

Views from the traversing path, Carlin Gill and Fell Head

ImageP5310026 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr


ImageP5310027 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

Weasel Gill

ImageP5310028 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

We left the path a bit further on and headed westish towards the top of Blease Fell, this was not as steep and, as it turned out, it hardly added much distance to the route.

On the top there were good views of the bigger Howgills and across the motorway to Grayrigg

ImageP5310029 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

ImageP5310030 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

ImageP5310032 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

Our next target was Hare Shaw.

ImageP5310031 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

There are good paths/Quadbike tracks all over the Howgills, on days like today there's no problem seeing where they go and the way to Hare Shaw was no exception :D

On the way over there was a group of the locals taking it easy, the first of a few we saw during the day.

ImageP5310035 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

Hare Shaw summit

ImageP5310038 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

On the top we could see our next objective, Rispa Pike

ImageP5310040 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

The Northern Pennines

ImageP5310041 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

and Grayrigg again

ImageP5310042 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

Our planned route over was via Archer Moss

ImageP5310039 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

and heading for the little tarn and the nearby sheep fold marked on the map, the terrain was easy going and enjoyable although if it hadn't have been so dry lately I reckon we'd be squelching our way over judging by the amount of dried out bog moss we were walking over :lol:

We found the little tarn and sheep fold (no photo :roll: ) and then headed for Rispa Pike which was easily identifiable from here.

Unlike a lot of the tops in the Howgills which only have a little cairn to mark their summits (lack of stones lying about I think :wink: ) Rispa Pike has a massive shelter on its top (well, not massive, massive but big enough :lol: ) so it does provide a spot to sit down if you want.

ImageP5310044 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

Our next target was Middleton, not too obvious from Rispa Pike because the shoulder of Hand Lake obscures it a bit, but you can just make it out and it looked a fair way off, especially via the route I had planned :roll: :lol:

ImageP5310047 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

From the shelter we headed for Uldale End then steeply down to the sheepfolds by Uldale Beck.

View up Uldale Beck

ImageP5310048 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

We had a snack by the sheepfolds and then crossed the meeting point of Uldale and Churngill Becks and started to head up Middledale End.

Sheep fold

ImageP5310051 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

The walk up Middleton is steady and fairly easy going so we plodded on, the views are nice too :D

ImageP5310052 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

Up towards Middleton

ImageP5310053 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

And back

ImageP5310054 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

our descent route to the sheep fold

ImageP5310055 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

we soon reached the Trig Point.

ImageP5310056 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

The view from the top is pretty good, we could see the hills we were on a couple of weeks ago and our next objective and Mittletons neighbour, Hand Lake.

ImageP5310058 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

We could see the Lakeland mountains too

ImageP5310059 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

ImageP5310060 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

From the trig we set off down the broad ridge to point 476 on the map then headed down a very steep section to meet
Churngill Beck. Once at the beck we stopped to have lunch. While we were sat there we really got the sense of being remote, all we could hear was the water, the birds and the odd gust of wind moving the vegetation around us, it was really relaxing.

Lunch Views

ImageP5310066 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

ImageP5310067 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

After lunch we headed up the hillside to the saddle between Hand Lake and Docker Knott, my left knee was beginning to feel a bit sore so it was a bit of a struggle, once up it had eased a bit so we carried on to the top of Hand Lake.

ImageP5310069 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

Cairn 8)

ImageP5310072 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

From the top of Hand Lake we could make out the traversing path on the hillside above Carlin Gill and Black Force

ImageP5310073 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

Wide view from Hand Lake


It looked a bit of a trek, I was a wee bit concerned about my knee because it was a fair distance back to the car and surprised it felt as sore as it did, there was no discomfort at all on our way up Middleton so I can only guess it was our steep descent to our lunch spot that didn't help :(

We headed down to the saddle again then took the track down to Blakethwaite Bottom, had a look for Blakethwaite Stone but must have missed it then carried on to join the traversing path.
There was one little steep bit at the beginning of the path as it heads up above The Spout, however, from there on, it's easy going if a bit narrow but it gave little discomfort so I was happy :D

This path traverses the hillside above Carlin Gill, the view into the Gill is spectacular, really steep sided, not a place to trip up :shock:

ImageP5310083 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

ImageP5310084 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

This takes you around the hill to the saddle between Fell Head and Linghaw, from there it's a quick (but not today) up and over Linghaw and back to the car.

ImageP5310085 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

ImageP5310086 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

Carlin Gill

ImageP5310088 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

ImageP5310087 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

ImageP5310089 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

Afternoon views from the parking spot

ImageP5310092 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

ImageP5310093 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

ImageP5310094 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

and a well earned rest :D

ImageP5310091 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr

We had a good day, we really enjoyed it (except for me knee which is still objecting now as I write :lol: ), we are thinking of visiting the Eastern side of the Howgills on our next trip to see what the views are like from that side :D


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Comments: 3

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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
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User avatar
Location: Halifax, West Yorkshire
Occupation: Employed
Interests: Mountaineering, Photography, History, Historic Buildings and sites, all of Scotland
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: Helwith Bridge Inn
Mountain: An Teallach
Place: Isle of Harris
Gear: Paramo Windproof
Member: National Trust
Camera: Olympus/sony compact
Ideal day out: A good long walk taking in several summits,varied terrain and brilliant views.
Ambition: Compleat the Munros
Walk wishlist

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Sub 2000: 2
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