Saturday, 13 October 2012

Giants, Elephants and Ponies. The Howgills.
October 12th.

Living in the north east of England but having been brought up (but not born) in Lancashire we are familiar with the roads between the two.
 On one trip to my parents, when my girls were quite small we were driving down the M6 through the Lune Gorge when one of them pointed to a heart shaped wood on the side of the Howgills and announced it was a "Giants' Graveyard". On another occasion, driving north in the evening when the sun is in the west and bathes the range in a soft light the other one said they looked like a herd of sleeping elephants. And sometimes, if you look carefully and aren't the driver you can see some of the wild ponies that live on the  hills.
So you guessed right, today five gadgies (pun, vogel, halfmarathon, route and blog) are setting out to walk from Sedbergh. The name means "flat hill" and not, as you may guess, "Seds town"
 Sedbergh is a pretty little dales town, famous for its public school, founded by Henry VIII (Where Fowler of  Use of English taught for a while), its numerous bookshops, not quite Hey on Wye but getting there. It has a 12th century church, St. Andrews and used to be in Yorkshire but moved to Cumbria in the reorganisation of counties in the 70s. It is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park though, confusing!
 To get there from gadgie base, take the A69, south down the M6 to junction 37 and drive the few  miles into town. There is a carpark, £4.50 for a day, reduced psrking on Wednesdays for the market and several cafes.
  We chose the Howgills bakery for bacon butties. A choice of buns, we all opted for granary. Nice friendly staff, HP sauce in a bottle so old it almost had "cette sauce de..." on the label. We awarded four flitches as the bacon was rather on the cool side, although proper stuff and not the water injected plastic wrapped slices available in most supermarkets.
                                                      Sedbergh main street
                                      What a name for a shop. Fettle can mean work, repair or even break in
 The walk; Use map OL19, the Howgills and Upper Eden Valley. The car park is at GR659921.
We left the car park and walked east along the Main Street and Long Lane before  spotting a signpost pointing us on our way up Thorns Lane. This lane brought us to Underbank where we took the righthand footpath across fields past several beautiful late 17th century/early 18th century farmhouses.
                   Forgotten the name but it was built in 1712.
We followed well signed paths across rather muddy fields to Ellerthwaite at which point we had a break from clarts and walked a tarmac road which became a muddy green lane just beyond Thursgill. From here on the path,still muddy, looks down on the River Rawthey valley and ahead to the Pennines. When we reache the footbridge at Cautley Beck we declared a Herbiespot. There is no need to tell readers what we ate. Gadgies are so boring in their diet. However, Cautley Spout was in view to the north west.
We headed up Cautley Holme Beck. A notice board told us that there was evidence of an iron age settlement, which pleased Dave the archaeologist but moist and determined we continued up the valley. To the right, up a hillside were some ponies.
                     The black dots are wild ponies. I only had a compact camera.
 And finally we reached the steep but well built path up the side of Cautley Spout. There had been a lot of rain the previous day so the waterfall was in full spate and we stopped frequently to admire it.
                              Cautley Spot from the path.
                          Looking down the spout from the top.
At the top of the spout we followed the left hand stream (Red Gill Beck) and passed a work of art, a reconstructed sheepfold by Andy Goldsworthy. Why didn't he put it in the Tate Modern where more people could see it? Alright, don't tell me, I am a philistine.
Andy Goldsworthy's sheepfold.It represents the metamorphosis of the uplands from a place of natural contentment to a place where industry begins to sublimate man's desires. Each stone has been handcrafted by the artist to show the world that we can use nature to our mutual benefit.
 Onward and gently upward we reached the shoulder between Bram Rigg Top and the Calf and turned right for the short walk to the latter's summit and trig point. It was very windy but worth the effort. The views are magnificent. To the west the English Lakes, in the south west Morecambe Bay and the glow from Heysham Nuclear Power Station. Harry told me that when working at Parsons he had maderts of the generators for the power plants. And east we looked at the Pennines, the three peaks of Pen y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough clearly visible. Must be one of the best views in England.
       Dave explains the mysteries of a pedometer to Ben who is not wearing Rohan shades.
Retracing our steps from the summit we walked along the Land Rover track over Bram Rigg Top to Calders. We continued on the track as it wandered downhill and eventually found the footpath on the left which brought us down. (GRSD669954). If you do this walk watch out for it, it is not too obvious but  brings you down another pretty stream (Settlebeck Gill) and into Joss Lane and the town below.
 On the way home we stopped to refresh ourselves at The Lane End Inn on the A69. Robinsons Beers, including Unicorn, Blonde and 1892, a mild. The sort of beer us young lads drank in the back room of the Victoria Hotel Morecambe when we were 17!
The older lads awarded the beers three barrels, as driver I enjoyed the shandy, but we all agreed on one thing. This was one of the best walks for ages, why haven't we done it before, we shall find other Howgill walks1
For more details of the walk go to
The walk is called Cautley Spout and the Calf from Sedbergh on their site.

The Matrix LXXVII
                                                    steps                                miles
Higear                                        18259                             8.289
LBN                                           22848                             10.64
ASDAPED                                 22166                            10.41
LIDLUSB                                   23797                            10.5

OUTDOORS GPS has a bas day, map went wrong but said 9.7 miles. The Benbragometer said 10.2
and Dave measured the walk as 9.7, so 10 miles seems reasonable. Ten excellent miles at that.

Contains OS data Copyright.Crown copyright and database right 2012