Sedbergh to Ravenstonedale


The weather forecast for this Sunday in April 2013 was not good. MWIS forecast gale force winds in the Lake District. However, I decided to see what conditions were like and if necessary return to Sedbergh and walk to Ravenstonedale using the bad weather route of the Dales High Way. I'd already walked this low level section as part of my East Coast to West Coast walk so didn't really want to repeat it.

THE Dales High Way leaves Sedbergh uphill through the town...

....and along a lane to reach...

.....Hill Farm where the path up to the fells begins.

It's a steady but gentle climb by the side of Settlebeck Gill...

....along a good path.

The way ahead to the ridge... obvious and easy.

Having reached the main ridge the wind wasn't as strong as I'd expected so I decided to press on. The hill ahead is Winder which... bypassed on the east. Still no serious wind.

Unfortunately, I was soon in the cloud so views were limited.

The various way marks along the route point to the main Howgill summit at The Calf.

The path is broad and there's no chance of loosing the way even in mist as it falls and then rise over Arant Haw.

Over to the west one of the Howgills' deep side valleys can be seen.

At Rowantree Grains the path follows an enclosure fence as it starts the climb... cairn at Calders (674m). Somewhere about this point the wind suddenly became really ferocious, lifted me up of the ground and I ended up lying in the depression by the side of the path. I thought about returning to Sedbergh, but it was obvious that I'd be fighting a southerly gale the whole way. Knowing that wind speeds often drop noticeably just over the lee side of the ridge, I moved about 20 metres away from the path to the east and battled on.

Eventually, I arrived at the trig point on The Calf (676m)...

....and began the descent path. Fortunately, the wind speed was much lower here and hardly impeded walking at all.

There's a small tarn near the junction of the paths down into Bowderdale and over the main Howgill ridge. The both join up again - I'd considered dropping down into Bowderdale but as the wind wasn't a problem I decided to continue along the ridge. About half of the tarn's water was frozen solid to a depth of several inches.

From now on  the path isn't always very clear but in wet conditions it was obvious that the places where there was standing water was where the path went! This proved an infallible method of navigation.

The path continues along the ridge..

....and a glance back reveals that the clouds have lifted slightly, although the summits remained covered all day.

The path heads uphill again towards Hazelgill Knott (578)

.....whilst the head of Bowderdale is over to the east.

There's a final pull uphill to reach West Fell (542 m)

Once finally on the downwards slope the Lune valley appeared out of the mist.

The ridge path drops down to the wall near the clumps of trees...

...where the valley path that is the alternative Dales High Way comes down Bowderdale.

The path now follows the wall.. reach a gate...

....and then along a farm track....

.....before joining a paved road,,,,

,,,,which leads down to the bridge at the hamlet of Bowderdale.

Over to the south the cloud has begun to lift over the Howgills.

The lane drops down to pass under the A685 main road (this is actually on the embankment of the old Kirkby Stephen to Tebay railway). Beyond the road the way goes through the hamlet of Wath..... climb uphill to..

....reach the junction with the original main road.

The old road is followed for the next mile or so towards Newbiggin-on-Lune.

An old farmhouse bearing the date 1684 is passed..

.....whilst over beyond the trees the old Newbiggin station can be seen..

....and the remains of the bridge parapet.

The road drops down to the A685. The Dales High Way turns left at this point but, as I was going to Ravenstonedale to spend the night, this added about another mile or so to the walk both today and the next.

The village of Newbiggin-on-Lune doesn't have a pub or shops...

....although there is a bus stop.

The old main road is followed for a short distance.. where it joins the Newbiggin bypass. At this point Cumbria County Council have built a foot/cycle path that avoids walking along the main road.

It's a pleasant end to the walk..

....although it runs out on the approach to Ravenstonedale

The King's Head Inn was my accommodation for the night - quite expensive but very pleasant.

The alternative Dales High Way low level route between Sedbergh and Ravenstonedale can be found on my East Coast to West Coast walk pages although it is reverse order starting at Kirkby Stephen and following the route from Ravenstonedale to Sedbergh. Click on link below.