The highest peaks of the Howgills cry out to be walked from Sedbergh. Their rolling flanks sweep down to the edge of the village offering soft green folds that draw the eye skywards. At the heart of the range is a cluster of flat topped peaks which are linked together by rounded ridges that offer easy high-level walking mixed with ever changing views. The highest point is The Calf which is comfortably reached by making the well-graded ascent from Sedbergh, first across the flank of Winder and then up over the broad shoulder of Arant Haw. This ends the main climb and from here elevated ridge top walking leads over the great flat topped expanse of Calders and Bram Rigg to the perky trig point that marks the highest spot.
Most people having reached The Calf generally return the way they came, however in doing so they miss one of the best bit of The Howgill Fells. By descending to the Northeast a lonely path brings you close the top of Cautley Spout. A steep path then leads down the fellside to the north of the waterfalls to give you a close encounter with the most dramatic feature in the Howgill Fells.
Grade: Time / effort 3, Navigation 3, Technicality 3
Start / Finish: Sedbergh (GR SD 656 921)
Distance: 10.7 miles (17.2km)
Time: 6-7 hours
Height gain: 800m
Terrain: village lanes, fell paths, grassy summit, steep fell path, waterfall and valley bridleway
Maps: OS Landranger 97 & 98, OS Explorer OL19.
1. From the centre of Sedbergh follow Howgill Lane for 550m to a turning on the right. Turn onto it and follow the lane to a gate that opens on to open fell. Join the bridleway which zig-zags first northwest then northeast across the south flank of Winder. The bridleway is then followed to the broad col (dip) on the northeast side of Winder.
2. At the col turn right on to the main bridleway and follow it northeast over Arant Haw, Rowantree Gains to the flat summit of Calders. The bridleway then turns north northwest and is followed across the rise of Bram Rigg Top to the trig point on The Calf.
3. From The Calf the paths are less defined so if visibility is poor and you have any doubts about the onward route the best option is to retrace your steps to Sedbergh. To continue head northeast from the trig point, first along the rounded summit ridge then down the steepening slopes to the shoulder at Hare Shaw. Continue descending northeast over Hare Shaw down the slopes to the deep col at Bowderdale Head crossed by the Cautley Spout Path.
4. Turn right on to the Cautley Spout Path and follow it southeast alongside Cautley Holme Beck. As height is lost Cautley Spout comes into view high on the crags to the right. Once down in the valley follow the path to a junction with a bridleway. Ignore the path to the Cross Keys, instead turn right onto the bridleway and follow it south to cross Cautley Holme Beck.
5. The bridleway is then followed above the River Rawthey to join a track at Fawcett Bank. Join the track and in turn follow this to the minor road at Thursgill. The road is then followed down to the A683. Turn right on to the A683 and follow it into Sedbergh.
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