Lonely Wandale Hill.

Start. Cross Keys, Cautley.

Route. Cross Keys - Backside Beck - Narthwaite - Wandale Farm (ruin) - Wandale Hill - Narthwaite - A683 - Cross Keys.

Notes. We’ve been set free, we’re allowed to travel, so long as we don’t stay overnight, what does that mean? the Lake District will be crammed with desperate walkers grabbing their much missed mountain fix. We needed somewhere quiet, not so frequented, I scanned the map sheet, Wandale Hill to the east of the main Howgill massif jumped out to greet me, lonely, aloof, few boots ever tread it’s hallowed turf. Come along if you like we’re Covid free and you can’t catch it from sheep.

We left the car in the small car park at Cautley, a footbridge spans the River Rawthey, we crossed to join a path running north east away from the crowds heading to Cautley Spout. This trod muddy in places guided us into Westerdale depositing us at a ford. The main channel looked deep, the rocks either side slippery, the water fast moving and, as we were about to find out bloody freezing. As they say there’s a first time for everything, I’ve been an avid walker forty odd years and never removed my boots and socks to ford a river, this was a first.

Once across, feet dried with a fleece I had in my bag, we ascended to Narthwaite to be greeted by a finger-post, a number of destinations adorned it's face, we favoured Adamthwaite. With a fairly good path under foot we wandered north, this path clung to roughly the 1.000ft contour, muddy in places lined with hawthorn, a route of old. After passing the ruins of Wandale Farm and a couple of other derelict farm buildings we left the path, ascended a good trod to find our route was halted by a fenced freshly planted tree plantation. We studded the map, weighed up our options before deciding to let the fence line guide us to the north ridge of the hill and easier ground.

Initially steep before turning along the contours of the hill, this row of wooden posts safely guided us onto the wide north ridge, we swung left, ascended over pathless ground to the summit, a small cairn with stunning views greeted us. After soaking them up and taking the obligatory photos we joined a faint green trod descending to the south. The easy descent that followed deposited us at a dry stone wall and ruinous sheep fold, a stile on our left was the obvious way to go but our route descended into Westerdale. With another easy to follow trod under foot we descended to be greeted by another path, this we followed along the edge of a dry stone wall back to Narthwaite.

Back in the farm yard it was decision time, brave the icy cold waters of Backside Beck or find another route, we opted to follow the farm access lane, the first section is a bridleway but when the lane swings right at a barn within spitting distance of the road it continues straight on to Murthwaite, what harm could two lowly ramblers do slipping down the final few yards, so long as we shut the gate, which we did. The lane ejected us onto the A683 just over half a mile from Cautley, the road walk wasn’t to bad, for a Bank Holiday Weekend with freedom to travel I thought it would be a lot busier, it was pleasant walking the song of the river relaxing, pleasant river bank scenery and, the boots and socks stayed on.

view route map.


Lit by the morning sun, the heather and scree of Cautley Crag.

A glimpse of Wandale Hill from the path into Westerdale.

Soaking in views up Westerdale before attempting a crossing of this....

....Backside Beck, it's a lot deeper than it looks.

Viewing Cautley Crag over the slopes of Ben End.

From Narthwaite views to Yarlside and Kinsgriff.

High above the Rawthey valley Narthwaite.

Over the riven slopes of West Baugh Fell, Baugh Fell rises into a cloudless sky.

Wonderful views from the lower slopes of Wandale Hill, the Rawthay valley with Crag Hill and the Middleton Fells across the horizon.

Above the valley of Wandale Beck viewing the shapely summit of Harter Fell.

Wild Boar Fell seen from the eerie ruins of Wandale Farm.

Another ruin and another view to Harter Fell.

Views over Murthwaite Rigg to Fell End Clouds.

Looking back to the ruins of Wandale Farm, Middleton Fell still dominates the horizon.

Viewing the vast extent of Baugh Fell from a perfectly good path that's about to end....

....but end it did, we traced this fence line to the north ridge, the views not bad though, across the skyline Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell.

Dappled light on Adamthwaite.

The summit Wandale Hill looking to Cautley Crag.

The stunning view north, over the rolling summits of Grere Fell and Green Bell the Eden Valley and distant Pennine's.

Our descent route, a non threatening path, easy on the joints with views to Cautley Crag.

Yarlside and the ridge of Kinsgriff seen over Westerdale.

Viewing the purple birch of Murthwaite Park.

The River Rawthey just north of Cautley.

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