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Looking over the Howgill Fells to the North Pennines
Looking over the Howgill Fells to the North Pennines

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Route No 82 - 24 June 2003
Carlin Gill & Fell Head - 10 km
Howgill Fells . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL19 Howgill Fells & Upper Eden Valley at 1:25000


Following the bed of Carlin Gill Beck
Following the bed of Carlin Gill Beck

Carlin Gill Beck
Carlin Gill Beck

Following the bed of Carlin Gill Beck
Following the bed of Carlin Gill Beck

As we approached the waterfall it looked as though we were coming to a dead end, but there is a way up (hardly a path) very steep on the left hand side of the waterfall. We made our way across the beck at the foot of the falls and using some well worn hand and foot holds, we climbed up a boulder and then a small steep shaley ridge for about 30m until we came onto a narrow path which led over the edge to the left of the falls.

The weather forecast for the north west of England was good so this morning my neighbour, Jim and I drove over to Tebay by the M6 and down the west side of the Howgill Fells to Carlin Gill at map ref.SD 625994.We headed north west for a few hundred metres over the rough grassy slope to the side of Carlin Gill Beck and followed the beck upstream on a narrow path, hardly more than a sheep track for about 2km to Force Brow. It's an interesting walk partly along the stream bed and includes some rough scrambling over the rocks.

Following the bed of Carlin Gill Beck
Following the bed of Carlin Gill Beck

Following the bed of Carlin Gill Beck
Following the bed of Carlin Gill Beck

Looking up Carlin Gill to Force Brow
Looking up Carlin Gill to Force Brow

Waterfall at Force brow
Waterfall at Force brow
Black Force waterfall
Black Force waterfall

The Blakethaite Stone
The Blakethaite Stone

Looking west down Carlin Gill
Looking west down Carlin Gill

We sat on fell Head and just l gazed at the hills laid out for us. To the north were the North Pennines with Cross Fell and Great Dun Fell and Little Dunn Fell (the one with a military radar dish on it). Then moving round to the west there was Blencathra on the edge of the Lake District and then the whole Scafell Range starting with Green Gable round to Scafell itself, then the Coniston Range. Out to the west was Morecome Bay and Haysham Nuclear Power Station. To the south were the Howgill Fells with the Calf facing us across a deep precipitous valley and beyond were the three Yorkshire peaks, Pen-y-gent, Inlebrough and Whernside. What a truly amazing place!

The path then continues along side the beck in a narrow valley for about another 400m until the valley opens out into a marshy area. Here we continued to the Blakethwaite Stone at map ref. SD 648999. It's not much to look at, just a fairly ordinary boulder, but it is an ancient boundary marker on the border between Yorkshire and Westmorland. At least it was until progress and the reorganisers took hold of the situation. From the Blakethwaite Stone we headed south east up the steep grassy hillside on to Over Sale and then along the ridge to Breaks Head at map ref. SD 654985. From there we followed the path to the cairn at the end of Fell Head at map ref. SD 647981. The scenery on this route is amazing all the way but as we gained more height the views become more and more incredible.

Looking down on the M6 from Fell Head
Looking down on the M6 from Fell Head

At last we had to leave the cairn on the end of Fell Head and begin our decent, heading north west for about 400m and then WNW for 900m before following the track down the spur back to our starting point. It's not a long walk, about 10km with about 550m of climbing, but it's a route where you need plenty of time to gaze around and take in the fabulous nature of the timeless place you're in. In our case we started walking at around 10.30am and got back to the car just after 3.00pm, in good time to call at the 'Pink Geranium' in Kirkby Stephen for a pot of tea and a toasted teacake on the way home.

The Howgill Fells
The Howgill Fells