Sunday, 31 July 2011

A Day in the Howgills

Date:                 Saturday, 30th July 2011
Start/Finish:       Sedbergh, Cumbria
Distance:           10.6 miles (874m ascent)
Time Taken:       10 hours
Companion(s):    Mick and AJ

Route Map:

Mick was kind enough to invite me to tag along on this walk which he and AJ had already been planning so, arrangements were made for another car share and another early start to the day.  After a quick sprint around the block to direct a lost Mick and his car to my house, my gear was loaded into the boot and we set off on our way to Sedbergh shortly after 7 am.

The drive was pleasant and we made good time to arrive at our destination about 10 minutes early for our meet-up with AJ at 9 am.  The weather was already looking good and the forecast was set for it to be a bright, sunny day - in fact, we were a little concerned that it was going to get a bit too hot for comfortable walking on the big hills we could see from the car park!  However, we decided not to worry about that for now and, having said our 'Hello's' to AJ, we headed off to the local cafe for breakfast - yum yum :-)  (Thanks Mick!)

So, with our appetites fully satisfied and our route for the day discussed, we headed back to the cars to get geared up.  Our walk began at about 10 am with a stroll through Sedbergh, passing the Dalesman Inn, on our way to the hills behind Lockbank Farm.

We had a slight delay en-route through the farm as the sheep were being herded down from the hills and heading in our direction.  However, we negotiated the obstacle successfully and proceeded on our way with a seemingly never ending, and occassionally very steep ascent to the summit of Winder.  For some reason, there were a few photo stops on this ascent!

The views were amazing already, the sun was bleaching down on us but we struggled on (well, I struggled!) and finally made it to the top.

Leaving the summit of Winder, we could see the path ahead which would take us to the top of Arent Haw.

Looking back down the path on the ascent of Arent Haw with the guys looking over to the distant views of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.  (Looking to the right we had distant views of the Lakeland Fells.)

 The summit of Arent Haw.

.....and the guys finally made it too!


Looking across Rowantree Grains towards our next destination, the summit of Calders.

We continued on our way, stopping to take a few more shots of the wonderful views on the way...

Looking back to the views en-route to the summit of Calders...

....the path ahead... the summit cairn.

From here, we headed across Bram Rigg to ascend to The Calf (for some reason I didn't get a photo of this summit!) but then turned left to descend a few hundred yards to today's lunch spot - taking in the views north looking down the valley between Cable and Grains.

.....and a couple of foot photos!

Eventually, we decided to continue our walk and headed back up to The Calf and then retraced our steps to drop down to descend via the path down from Bram Rigg to Bram Rigg Beck.

I went a bit quiet at the beginning of this descent route as the narrow path traversed the side of Bram Rigg with a very long, steep drop down to the right.  Not sure if anyone noticed that I was scared to death or not but the encouraging banter coming from the guys behind me made me feel so much better - NOT!  (Something along the lines of how many times I would scream on my way down and I'm sure the camera was at the ready to capture the speedy descent - thanks for your support guys!!)

Anyway, sorry to disappoint guys but, I made it past the scary bit and the camera could come out again now that the shaking was under control :-)

Resting on the way down....

....then passing the remains of an old building....


Looking back ....

Approaching the crossing point of Bram Rigg Beck....

...and looking back again..

On the other side of the Beck....

Heading back now, we continued on our way around Swarth Greaves....

...and followed the path across the fields....

....looking back again....

Unfortunately, we ran out of path and had to head down through the farm at Birkhaw to join the road which would take us back to Sedbergh.  (Road is not my favourite walking surface but, I have to say that it was the quickest way back and it really was quite a pleasant road.)

Even more unfortunately, after a brief chat with a few cows....

.....we finally made it back to Sedbergh and our day in the Howgills had to come to an end.

It was a sad end to a wonderful day as we had to part company with AJ and head off on our way home (after Mick and I had a brief stop for liquid refreshment at the local cafe) and with niggling doubts in our minds about the condition of Mick's 'arty leg'.  Fingers crossed that it just needs a bit of a clean and that a replacement isn't required (which is apparently a long slow process by all accounts) :-(

Nevertheless, it had been a brilliant day, with brilliant weather and excellent company.  Thanks again guys!! :-)