Saturday, 11 August 2012

Green Bell & Randygill Top

Green Bell & Randygill Top

6.6 miles

 As the walking day was to start late and the forecast was for very good visibility, we thought we'd 'bag' another couple of Yorkshire 600s in the Howgills. They appear as rounded hills on the skyline, as opposed to the jagged, craggy silhouettes of the Lakeland Fells. They almost seem neglected, as the long distance footpaths of the 'Coast to Coast' and the 'Dalesway' eschews them. Sedburgh, a stoppover point on the 'Dalesway', provides a gateway for the Southern Howgills should long distance walkers wish to be lured away from their main objective. To the west, the M6 carries the walker to the lakes. I wonder if they realise what a jewel they are missing out on.
Path up Pinksey

We parked to the side of a minor road between Newbiggin-on-Lune and Weasdale. We took a bearing from the road at a fingerpost, as although a footpath was signed, there was no evidence on the ground up Pinksey. It was somewhat soggy underfoot. We paced and timed our progress, eventually linking up with a less than convincing track further uphill. Two figures were ahead of us on the skyline.
Howgill ponies

Much to our surprise, we were greeted by two friendly Howgill ponies. Sadly, we had nothing to offer them, but they seemed happy with their lot munching on the hillside grass. Our route took us below the highest point on Stwarth, where we had our first proper view of the first objective.
Towards Green Bell

Heading due south, we could see a clearly defined path through the rough grassland. Typically, the trig point of Green Bell couldn't be seen until we had virtually reached it. Perhaps the olympic spirit had subconsciously got to AB, but uncharacteristically there was a raising of the arms in triumph as the summit was 'bagged.' Our lunchtime spot gave us great views of other Howgill tops. 
Green Bell trig point

We headed off south-east along a clear way, quickly losing height before the gentle climb up to the cairn on Randygill Top.
Randygill Top cairn

A couple of photos and we headed off down to Leathgill Bridge - a grassy col linking Randygill Top with Hooksey. From here we had a good view of Leath Gill as it joined Bowderdale. It was only a short pull up onto the highest point on Hooksey, taking a path which followed the centre of the broad ridge. Descending all the time, we reached a corner in a stone wall. (The edge of access land) It was a little soggy in places as we followed the wall boundary through a metal farm gate until we came to a minor road at Cow Bank.
Path up Hooksey taken from Randygill Top

From enclosed fields, we could hear the buzz of a tractor collecting up rolls of hay. As we headed along the road through the tiny hamlet of Weasdale, our presence was acknowledged through an open farmhouse door as friends stood chatting. 

We had passed only one other walker.
The fells had been ours for the day - so lucky.

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