Thursday, 9 June 2016

A Herd of Sleeping Elephants

The Howgills had long been a target of mine after countless trips past them to the northern Lake District and Scotland and with John and Anne Nuttall describing a route to tick all seven Nuttalls, I decided to make an attempt to complete all seven summits in one day and also to tick one of my #trail7summits objectives – The Calf.

Cautley Spout


Paths from the Cross Keys Hotel ease their way to higher ground with good views of Cautley Spout ahead if you.   The cliffs of Cautley Crag provide a contrasting landscape to rolling hills of the high tops and ridges that will come to dominate the day.  A faint path to Yarlside from Bowderdale Head was the first significant climb of the day leading to a vista of endless rounded summits.  The descent towards Kensgriff was a knee-jarring prelude to some easy promenading before the climb to the next Nuttall summit of Randygill Top.

Yarlside summit

Kensgriff and Yarlside

The path down to Bowderdale gave me a good view of the next ascent on the route – over Hazelgill Knott – and I didn’t fancy it at all as it was just a “short-cut” before another descent to gain the start of the walk up to Fell Head.  At the beck I got the map out to gauge my options and decided to walk up the bridleway leading up to the plateau of The Calf and leave the two Nuttalls of Fell Head and Bush Howe to another day, probably starting from the Howgill side of the fells.

The steady path reached a pool on the plateau and I spied some walkers heading for The Calf from the north-west and noticed that Bush Howe might be an easy tick, so I skirted the plateau and the path led directly to the nondescript summit of Bush Howe and its pitiful cairn.  The path to the TRAIL 100 summit of The Calf was an easy walk and I carried on towards Bram Rigg Top, making a beeline across the heather slopes to find the cairn – even less significant than the one topping Bush Howe.  Finding it amongst the grass was a bit of a challenge and in poor visibility it would be very hard to trace.  Bram Rigg Top has got to be one of the poorest summits I’ve ever reached.

The Calf summit

Calders, the day’s day’s Nuttall, was quickly ticked and I turned to traverse the edge of the Great Dummacks plateau before taking a direct aim over Lattera towards Cautley Beck.  The Nuttall’s route down takes in Cautley Spout but I wanted the shortest way back to the car, even though my knees didn’t thank me for it !