Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Yarlside & The Calf

Yarlside & The Calf

To the heart of the Howgills 

12 Miles

Several years ago we had reached The Calf, the highest point in the Howgill Fells at 676 metres, from Sedbergh. Today, though, I wanted to reach it from the northern side of the Howgills taking in Bowderdale, Yarlside and the Andy Goldsworthy sheepfold and cairn above Cautley Spout. The weather was set fair, cold but fine, with a forecast that suggested better weather later in the day.

Having parked at Bowderdale I set off up the bridleway which goes the full length of Bowderdale, and indeed to The Calf. My route was to cross the beck where Hazel Gill joins it and ascend the ridge of Yarlside. It was three miles to my turning point but Bowderdale, without having the wow factor of the Lakes, does have a quiet solitude which is tranquil and calming.
Yarlside from Bowderdale
Yarlside, my first target, was straight ahead and having crossed the beck and taken a compass bearing, headed straight for the top! After a steady pull which afforded good views of Randygill Top and Kensgriff I reached the cairn.
Yarlside summit cairn
Views could be had of Wild Boar Fell, Swarth Fell and Baugh Fell and in the distance the Three Peaks. Also evident was the onward route to The Calf. It was cold at the top (638 metres) so I moved down to a col and descended to a sheltered coffee stop overlooking Cautley Crag and Spout.
Cautley Crag & Spout
I made a steep descent back to Bowderdale Beck, crossing over and climbimg above Cautley Crag, into Red Gill. The views down Cautley Spout were spectacular in the improving weather. A thin track took me to the next objective, the Andy Goldsworthy washfold with built in cairn. This large sheepfold is only accessible on foot but well worth the effort as it is a wonderful example of the genre. There were even sheep grazing by it!
Andy Goldsworthy sheepfold & cairn
My route from the fold was clear, straight up to Bram Rigg Top, which has the main route from Sedbergh to The Calf running across it. On reaching this track I turned in a northerly direction and reached the trig point on The Calf’s summit. There were excellent all round views of the Lakeland fells in the west this time, along with the Lune Valley. This was the lunch spot but it was a brief one as the wind was bitterly cold. 

The Calf trig point
My return route was a ridge walk above Bowderdale in the east and Langdale in the west.
Although the path was very clear, it was wet and slippery in many places, showing the extent of the rainfall in the summer. The views over to Yarlside, Randygill Top and Green Bell were outstanding with the sun fully out now, and my earlier climb of Yarlside obvious to see. 

Yarlside ridge
The roller-coaster route went up and down  Hazelgill Knott and West Fell, which afforded excellent views back to Cobbles and The Calf.
View to Cobbles & The Calf
 I soon reached the wall from where I had set off down Bowderdale and retraced my steps to the car.

The 12 mile walk (2500 feet of ascent) showed the best aspects of the Howgill Fells. In good weather it is easy to make progress and get to know the lie of the land. The views from the summits are excellent.  The access land arrangements mean that the walker can go virtually anywhere without too much difficulty and the peaceful solitude of quiet walking is blissful! A return to another part of this quiet area will be soon!

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