Tuesday 12 April 2016. Linda is up in the Lakes for a few days so we met up today for a walk. The weather forecast wasn’t great so we gave Helvellyn a miss and drove across to the Howgills to do a walk up the side of Cautley Spout and on to The Calf, the highest point of the Howgills at 2,217ft. The walk was 7½ miles but had a total ascent of just under 2,500ft.
Given the poor weather, ours was the only car at the starting point at the Cross Keys; a former pub but now a National Trust Temperance Inn. The cloud base was low but it hadn’t started raining, yet! The walk in to the foot of Cautley Spout was fairly gentle but then the climbing began in earnest. It was 650ft up the side of the waterfall and I, for one, was glad when we got to the top. From here we made a short detour to see an art installation by Andy Goldsworthy in the form of a restored sheep wash/fold. Back at the top of the Spout, the climbing hadn’t finished and we then had another steep climb of 500ft or so along the top of Cautley Crags. It was shame that we were now walking in the mist which was combined with rain as the views down into the valley some 1,500ft below would have been impressive, so we are lead to believe.
A contouring path, becoming ever more waterlogged as the intensity of the rain increased, took us to Calders where we had a brief lunch stop at the cairn. Soon after, on the way to The Calf, we bumped into 4 walkers coming down off the hill. They turned out to be 3 guests and their HF leaders from Thorns Hall in Sedbergh. The trig point at The Calf was something of a turning point as it was all downhill from here. Initially following a well-defined path but then across open fell side until we hit the path at Bowderdale Head. On the way down to the foot of The Spout the clouds cleared briefly to give us a view of the waterfall and crags that we’d climbed earlier in the day. We then retraced our path back to the car having had a good soaking for the last couple of hours.
Spirits were improved by a stop for coffee and cake in Sedbergh before the drive back to our meeting point in Staveley.