A Triptych of Howgill Summits.

Start. Sedbergh (Back Lane).

Route. Sedbergh (Back Lane) - The Folly - Main Street - Howgill Lane - Lockbank Farm - Winder - Green Mea - Swere Gill Well - Hobdale Scar - Knott - Sickers Fell - Ashbeck Gill - Soolbank - Settlebeck Gill - Joss Lane (Sedbergh) - Main Street - Back Lane.

Notes. The Howgill Fells, the forgotten hills, overlooked by many fell walkers on their way to the many peaks of the Lake District or limestone scars of the Dales of Yorkshire. For the connoisseur of hill walking the Howgill Fells are the place to come, the ascents are steep, the ridge lines wide and grassy, gills cut deep into the mountains massif and there’s lots of quiet hidden corners to explore. This walk visited one of the most popular tops, Winder before leaving the main trod to pay homage to two less frequented summits, Knott and Sickers Fell.

Our day started in Back Lane which is actually the main road through Sedbergh, via The Folly a narrow alley cutting through back yards between houses and Main Street we made our way to Howgill Lane, this in turn guided us passed the community hall and playing fields to the access lane to Lockbank Farm. Yellow arrows directed us through the farm yard onto the open fell side, with the final intake wall to guide us we walked north, grid reference SD 647 927 marked the end of a green trod descending the steep slopes of Winder, this we ascended. The climb was steep getting the legs and lungs working early, we ascended in the lea of the hill and didn’t we know it as we crested the summit. Apart from a trig point and view indicator the wind ripping out of the north was freezing, on went a couple more layers before continuing.

Continuing meant following a good trod north-east across the coll at Green Mea then onto the main path traversing these rolling fells, we continued ascending passed Swere Gill Well as far as Hobdale Scar. Here we turned south leaving the main path joining a lovely green trod, the path was steep, it descended over Hobdale Scar, drops into Hobdale on our left were precipitous, the slopes of Sickers Fell gentler to our right, just as well we planned to climb them later.

After a long descent followed by a short sharp ascent we topped out on Knott, a small cairn greeted us backed by staggering vistas, after drinking them in a while we re-traced our steps to a path junction passed earlier. This path another green trod ushered us to the summit of Sickers Fell, with the wind ripping across the summit we didn’t hang around but descended to the west and the shelter of Ashbeck Gill.

Once in the beck bottom we joined a path that is possibly the best I’ve ever trod in the Howgill Fells, narrow, little used, solid under foot, fantastic vistas, the walk out was stunning. This narrow path clung to the 1120ft contour, out of the confines of the gill then across the steep slopes of Crook, we traversed Soolbank before loosing height as we dropped into Settlebeck Gill. On the opposite bank a path descends back to Sedbergh, we descended with it into Joss Lane which in turn guided us between housing depositing us in Main Street, all that remained to pick our way back to the car.

view route map.


One of Sedbergh's sleepy corners, The Folly.

A wonderful view over Sedbergh and the Frostrow Fells bursts upon the senses as you start ascending Winder.

Taking a breather (one of many) on the steep ascent, looking across Rawtheydale to the rolling bulk of the Middleton Fells.

Awesome views across the Lune Valley.

There are many wonderful views to be had from this fine climb, in sunlight and shade Firbank Fell backed by Lambrigg Fell with the wind farm, across the horizon the Lakeland Fells.

Dappled light over the Lune Valley seen over the Nab the west ridge of Arant Haw.

On the descent to Green Mea looking to the flat top of Wild Boar Fell with Swarth Fell to the right.

Between Baugh Fell and Aye Gill Pike, in shadow the valley of Garsdale.

Rain washes the Lune Valley, seen from high above Settlebeck Gill.

Breathtaking views over Winder as far as the Morecambe Bay coast, look closely there's a few Howgill connoisseurs on the hill.

Sickers Fell on our to do list today, backed by Baugh Fell.

Adventures for another day, Wild Boar Fell, legend tells us the last Wild Boar in England was killed on it's slopes just across the valley, there is a tusk claimed to be the last boar caught on the fell kept in the Kirkby Stephen parish church.

Above Hobdale Scar looking across the deserted ridge lines of the Howgill Fells.

A magical view over Hobdale to the steep waterlogged slopes of Baugh Fell.

When sunlight dances across the valleys and over the many ridge lines the Howgill Fells they are a magical place, looking to Sickers Fell backed by shadowed Aye Gill Pike with a wonderful play of light in Dentdale.

Viewing Crag Hill and Middleton Fell from the summit Knott.

The threat of a storm.

Looking to Calders with a rainbow over Hobdale.

Deep cut Ashbeck Gill with stunning views over the green fields of Rawtheydale to a shadowed Aye Gill Pike.

Sue stops to admire views from one of the finest paths in the Howgill Fells.

We've been there, Sickers Fell with Knott to the right.

Traversing the steep slopes of Crook, enjoying every step.

A wonderful composition of landscape, green fields and hedge rows with a striking mountain backdrop.

Same view from a little further along the path, from left to right, disappearing out of shot Aye Gill Pike, right a bit, mighty Whernside, the flat top in the middle being Crag Hill with Middleton Fell in shadow to the far right.

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