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Looking along the ridge from Knott to Hare Shaw (bottom left of the photo) & the fells beyond
Looking along the ridge from Knott to Hare Shaw (bottom left of the photo) & the fells beyond

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Route No. 616 - Tuesday 5 April 2016
Tebay, Waskew Head farm, Weather Hill, Knott,
Tebay Gill, Tebay Gill farm circuit - 6km
Howgill Fells . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL19 Howgill Fells & Upper Eden Valley


Looking back over Tebay village at the start of our walk
Looking back over Tebay village at the start of our walk

My friend, Jim, and I are staying at a pub in Ravenstonedale to do a couple of short walks in the northern foothills of the Howgill Fells. That's all that my wonky knees will allow these days but we still manage to get a taste of the wild open feeling of the Howgills. This morning a wet weather front passed though and we drove to the village of Tebay next to the M6 motorway ready to start our walk just after 12 noon after an early lunch in Kirkby Stephen. We approached Tebay along the A685 from the east and followed the A685 into the village. At a sharp right hand bend we turned left off the A685 and then turned right up a narrow lane. About 100m along this lane we drove over a cattle grid at the start of the open land of the Howgill Fells and parked on an open area off the lane on the left at map ref. NY 619 044. There's a phone mast about 150m east of our parking spot.

Following the track to bypass Edge Farm
Following the track to bypass Edge Farm

The track down into Tebay Gill
The track down into Tebay Gill

A friendly local on the track up to Waskew Head farm
A friendly local on the track up to Waskew Head farm

We continued along the public footpath passing south of Waskew Head farm. The stony farm access track ended at the farm and from there it became a wet muddy track across the open hillside.

From our parking spot we walked along the lane by-passing Edge Farm and continuing to follow the public footpath along the left hand fork in the track heading towards Waskew Head farm.

Edge Farm to the left of the track
Edge Farm to the left of the track

Bridge carrying the track over Tebay Gill
Bridge carrying the track over Tebay Gill

Waskew Head farm to the left of the track
Waskew Head farm to the left of the track

Looking back near Waskew Head farm along the track we had just climbed from Tebay
Looking back near Waskew Head farm along the track we had just climbed from Tebay

Following a feint path up to the top of Weather Hill
Following a feint path up to the top of Weather Hill

About 100m beyond Waskew Head farm we turned right off the route of the public footpath and headed roughly south east to the top of the Weather Hill mound about 350m away. It was fine and clear so we could see where we were heading but if there's any doubt about the weather we would use a compass bearing to guide us.

The Howgill Fells are open access land with few official paths and the main navigational aid is the shape of the land. Our next objective was the small mound called Weather Hill at the start of a ridge running southwards. The public footpath goes around the ridge and drops down into Eller Gill.

Looking south along the ridge from the top of Weather Hill
Looking south along the ridge from the top of Weather Hill

Looking east across Langdale from Weather Hill
Looking east across Langdale from Weather Hill

Following the path along the ridge to the top of Knott
Following the path along the ridge to the top of Knott

Ahead of us along the ridge was the next summit called Hare Shaw(472m)(not to be confused with another Hare Shaw at the head of Bowderdale on the way up to The Calf). We stood there for a while just looking at the hills all around us.

At the top of Weather Hill the ground ahead falls away just a little before rising along the ridge to the next little summit called Knott about 1km away to the south. We followed a clear path along the ridge to the top of Knott (391m) at map ref. NY 630 022.

Following the path along the ridge to the top of Knott
Following the path along the ridge to the top of Knott

Standing on the top of Knott with Hare Shaw about 1km further south along the ridge
Standing on the top of Knott with Hare Shaw about 1km further south along the ridge

Heading in a westerly direction from the top of Knott
Heading in a westerly direction from the top of Knott

Crossing the rough fell side down to Tebay Gill
Crossing the rough fell side down to Tebay Gill

There was a narrow path to begin with, but it was soon heading off in the wrong direction and we headed down across the rough fell side. There were large beds of cotton grass indicating wet boggy areas and we picked our way between and around them until we reached the stream called Tebay Gill at the bottom.

From Knott we were going to head west down to cross Tebay Gill. In the valley bottom we could see a large area of tree planting with a strong post & wire fence around it. The fence was there to protect the young trees from livestock damage. We aimed for the upstream end of the fence and took a compass bearing just to be sure we kept on the right direction.

Crossing the rough fell side down to Tebay Gill
Crossing the rough fell side down to Tebay Gill

Picking our way through the boggy areas down to Tebay Gill
Picking our way through the boggy areas down to Tebay Gill

The wooden barrier spanning Tebay Gill keeping livestock out of the plantation
The wooden barrier spanning Tebay Gill keeping livestock out of the plantation

I was climbing up the steep bit as Jim followed the fence ahead
I was climbing up the steep bit as Jim followed the fence ahead

Continuing along a track around the plantation fence
Continuing along a track around the plantation fence

From there we followed the fence around the tree planted area, first up the steep hillside for about 100m and then contouring around the top edge of the tree plantation. Soon there was a path and then a good track following the fence.

We must have been reasonably accurate with our bearing and we reached the stream near a wooden barrier across the stream at the upstream end of the planted area at map ref. NY 624 022. The wooden barrier had a very sturdy bottom rail spanning the stream which we used to cross the stream.

Following the plantation fence above Tebay Gill
Following the plantation fence above Tebay Gill

Continuing along a track around the plantation fence
Continuing along a track around the plantation fence

Hardy fell ponies as we neared Tebaygill farm
Hardy fell ponies as we neared Tebaygill farm

The track heading back to Tebay near the end of our walk
The track heading back to Tebay near the end of our walk

Following the road back to our parking spot
Following the road back to our parking spot

The whole route was only 6km but it took us (well I'm the slow one) almost 3hours to walk. It was still early afternoon when we finished the walk and as planned we drove to Appleby and had a swim in the municipal swimming pool there before going to the pub in Ravenstonedale for our evening meal and a taste of their guest beers.

We continued along the track, now with a public footpath running along it, and passed Tebaygill farm on our right. We followed the track and public footpath along it from the farm back to the public road and the parking spot at the end of our walk.

A ruined barn next to the track
A ruined barn next to the track

The phone mast near our parking spot
The phone mast near our parking spot

Looking across Tebay to the M6 as we returned to our parking spot at the end of our walk
Looking across Tebay to the M6 as we returned to our parking spot at the end of our walk

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