An Icing Sugar Day on the Howgill Fells.

Start. Sedbergh.

Route. Sedbergh - Joss Lane - Hill Farm - Settlebeck Gill - Soolbank - Crook - Arant Haw - Green Mea - Winder - Lockbank Farm - Howgill Lane - Sedbergh.

Notes. Come take a wander with me onto old Wainwright's herd of sleeping elephants, we should enjoy fine views of both the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, we'll walk these quiet fells to a sound track of frozen snow under foot and the cry of the lonely mountain bird carried away on a cool breeze. Don something warm and accompany me into the forgotten hills.

My day started in the thirteenth century market town of Sedbergh, a short walk along Main Street lead to Joss Lane, Joss Lane in turn guided me to a fell gate, I passed through said gate to start my assault on the Howgill Fells. Through a small paddock I walked to join Settlebeck Gill, after crossing the final intake I descended into the deep cut gill, forded the beck then scrambled up the opposite bank, I was now on the lower slopes of Soolbank the southern facade of Crook. Crabbing between sheep track and faint path I attacked the steep slope, through snow and dead bracken I climbed to reach the summit of Crook. This hill may have been christened Crook, it may only be 1500ft high but you won't feel cheated, the views are staggering, I drank them in a while before crossing boggy ground to access the main trod crossing these wonderful fells.

A good path now guided me above Ashbeck Gill and Hobdale Scar to the north end of the Arant Haw ridge, I joined said ridge to be greeted by a biting wind blowing bad weather in from the west, the hills of the Lake District were already veiled in dark snow bearing cloud. From the summit I descended through deep snow, crossed the coll at Green Mea before ascending Winder. The summit welcomed me with a trig point, view indicator and heavy snow, the tiny stuff that fills every crevice. I immediately descended to the west before swinging south to access Lockbank Farm. To my disappointment a notice forbid entry, a gate bard the way, the access wouldn't be open again until June. I think when one of the main exit points to the hill is closed, warning notices should be places on the fell allowing walkers time to change routes, as I had no intention of following the intake wall up yet more slopes and had better things to to untill June. I wandered unchallenged through the farm, gave the farmer a cheery smile before stepping onto Howgill Lane to start the short walk back into Sedbergh.

view route map.


Seen from Hill the saddle above Green Mea with the slopes of Winder to the left and Soolbank the right.

The Middleton Fells over Sedbergh seen from the final intake.

Settlebeck Gill one of many deep cut gills found in the Howgill Fells, to the right Crook.

Ascending Soolbank en route to the summit of Crook, looking to Holme Knotts over Settlebeck Gill.

Winder under a light dusting of snow.

Viewing Arant Haw from the summit of Crook.

Looking to Knott with the flat top of Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell across the skyline.

The summit of Crook provides a fine view point, Baugh Fell across the valley of the River Rawthey.

Sickers Fell across the divide of Ashbeck Gill.

Soaking up views over Sickers Fell.

The dark bulk of Baugh Fell backed by Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell, seen from the approach to Hobdale Scar.

The tentacular ridges of the Howgill Fells seen from the path to Arant Haw.

A wonderful view from the Arant Haw ridge, the Lune Gorge backed by the Shap Fells.

Looking across the low lands of South Cumbria with heavy weather sweeping in from the west.

Winter conditions on Fell Head seen from near the summit of Arant Haw.

On the slopes of Arant Haw looking over Knott to the Middleton Fells.

Firbank Fell under darkening skies.

Winder with sunburst over the Lune Valley.

Looking down on Rawthey Dale and Garsdale with Baugh Fell to the left and Aye Gill Pike the right.

Descending Winder under a dark cloud.

The passing storm, the fells can be a magical place after heavy weather, looking over the Frostrow Fells to the Middleton Fells.

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