The Calf & Cautley Spout: A hike in The Howgills
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Join Outdoor Lads for a Christmas mountain walk in The Howgill Fells. Being lesser known than the neighbouring Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, these fells are often quieter with a remote feel.
This is a walk of two halves, with the first section, starting in Sedbergh, being on lower ground, following the Pennine Journey trail along the River Rawthey. However, the walk suddenly gains elevation as we walk up Cautley Spout and on to the top of the fells. We'll then follow the Dales High Way trail over the summits of The Calf (676m) and Calders (674m) before dropping back down to Sedbergh.
Points of interest on the route:
The Pennine Journey Trail: This long distance walking trail is a recreation of one of Wainwright's journeys. The section we'll follow takes us along the River Rawthey, giving us great views up to some of the Yorkshire Dales' Fells and also through some protected woodlands where red squirrels live.
Cautley Spout: This spectacular waterfall is England's highest and becomes increasingly more impressive as we approach along Cautley Holme Beck, with the cliffs of Yarlside to the East and Cautley Craggs to the West. This is also the toughest part of the walk, with the trail up the side of the falls being unrelentingly steep. Though this steepness will give us plenty of excuses to pause and admire the falls.
The Calf: The final ascent to the summit of The Calf is nice and gentle after the slog up the waterfall. Once on the summit we'll be greeted with one of England's most expansive views; being able to see the Lake District's peaks to the North West and Morcombe Bay to the South West. To the North East we'll see the Pennines highest peaks, with the hills of the Yorkshire Dales to the South East. We'll head south from here, enjoying great views of the rest of The Howgill Fells
Dogs are welcome, though will need to be on leads if we go through any fields with livestock. There are also several stiles they may need lifting over.
Once finished, we can go to the nearby pub.
Message the event leader if you've any questions.
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Image / photo credits: All leader's own images - with permission for OutdoorLads to use and reuse.
What to bring
Water: bring plenty of water (~2 Litres)
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Day rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, they are comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely
Footware: ideally designed for hiking, sturdy trail runners are OK too.
Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters
Head Torch: Please bring a head torch, we'll likely be descending partly in the dark.
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: ideally no jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproofs: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Gloves: Windproof, or better still, waterproof gloves are the best choice, bring a spare pair if expecting rain
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Lunch: bring a packed lunch
Food & drink
Please bring lunch, snacks and plenty of water. As the weather may be cold, you may want to bring a flask with a hot drink or soup too. After the hike, there is a local pub where we can go for post walk refreshments