The Calf, Howgill Fells

The Howgill FellsThe Howgills are one of the forgotten walking areas in England. Separated from the Lake District by the Lune Valley, the Howgills lie mostly within the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and offer fine views of the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales. The Howgills are a small group of distinctive bare, dome-shaped hills with steep sides. Unlike the Lakeland fells there are few crags and not many walls or fences. Many of the fells are connected by wide, grassy ridges with almost deserted deep valleys between. The Calf is the highest top in the Howgill Fells and can be climbed from Sedbergh to the south, by way of Cautley Spout from the east, or up the long valley of Bowderdale from the north. The Sedbergh ascent is the most popular, and has the distinction of being on good paths all the way. The summits increase in height as you head north from Sedbergh – Winder at 473 metres, then Sickers Fell at 498 metres, Arant Haw at 605 metres, Great Dummacks at 663 metres, Calders at 674 metres and finally The Calf at 676 metres. A good starting point for the ascent onto the fells via the Cautley Spout waterfall is The Cross Keys, a 400-year-old Temperance Inn, situated on the River Rawthey. This is believed to be the only pub in England without a liquor license. In 1902 the landlord died trying to save a drunken visitor who had fallen into the river right behind the pub. In the resulting flurry of guilt, the family of the drunken man (he survived) bought the inn and wrote into its deeds that it could never sell alcohol again. It’s been teetotal ever since. However, if you have a meal the landlord allows you to bring your own alcoholic drinks without a corkage fee! Cautley Spout is a magnificent sight and lies just a mile east of The Calf. After walking up the path on the side of Cautley Spout Tongue follow Swere Gill to the Calf. Despite the fact that it is the highest point in the Howgills it is also perhaps one of the least clearly defined in terms of shape. From here you can enjoy walking on one of the many ridges that radiate from The Calf.