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Bowland & Pendle Walks

Hawthornthwaite Fell

Date: 2nd June 2012
Distance: 10.2 miles
Ascent: 1639 feet
Time: 4 hours 45 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SD632511

Walk Summary:
A nice walk along the quiet valley of Langden Brook before a long pathless return on the quiet moors of Hawthornthwaite Fell and Blaze Moss.

Route Summary: Sykes Farm - Langdale Brook - Langden Castle - Fiendsdale - Greave Head Clough - Hawthornthwaite Fell - Holdron Moss - Top of Blaze Moss - Trough of Bowland - Sykes Farm

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Rhodedendron near the water works
Langden Brook
Looking down to the Langden Valley from the upper path
The grandiosely named Langden Castle
A brand new FP sign courtesy of the Peaks & Northern Footpath Society
Fiendsdale Nab
On the path climbing up above Fiendsdale Water
Cotton grass on Fiendsdale
Looking along the fence towards Greave Clough Head
Seagulls on Hawthornthwaite Fell
The collapsed trig point on Hawthornthwaite Fell
The view of Blaze Moss from Holdron Moss
Looking down to the road as it crosses the Trough of Bowland
The Grey Stone of Trough
The limekiln alongside the road in Losterdale

Walk Detail: The forecast for the day was decidedly iffy so I decided to head for one of the few places it looked like there may be a chance of some sunny weather - the Forest of Bowland. Certainly when I arrived at the starting point of the walk it looked like I'd made the right choice as the sun was shining and there were sizeable patches of blue sky overhead.

Starting from the parking area just south of Sykes Farm I first walked along the broad track passing the water works and then south along the valley of Langden Brook. This was a section I'd been particularly looking forward to as the valley had made a big impression on me when I'd first visited it over six years before.

For a bit of variation part way along I took the steep path that climbs up to the site of an old quarry before dropping down to the main path just short of Langden Castle, a rather grand name for a squat building with a corrugated metal roof.

From Langden Castle onwards the rest of the route was entirely new to me. I especially liked the point where the track turned into a narrow path and, having forded Langden Brook, climbs out of the valley above Fiendsdale Water on its way to Fiendsdale Head. I didn't carry on along the path all the way to the latter but instead struck out across some fairly thick heather aiming for the fence near the 434m spot height on Fiendsdale.

Once I'd arrived at the fence it was then a simple case of following it all the way to the top of Hawthorthwaite Fell. Along the way I passed thousands of seagulls who, for over a mile stretch either side of Greave Clough Head, were congregating on the moors. It was quite an unusual site, I've never seen so many in one place and it actually felt quite intimidating.

I finally arrived at the top of Hawthornthwaite Fell to find that the trig point had toppled over in the peat. Having since checked a trig enthusiasts website it seems this happened sometime in the summer of 2010. While it was a shame to find it like that I was amazed at how deep the concrete foundations were and could only imagine the amount of erosion that must have occurred in the surrounding peat to make it fall over.

After eating my lunch next to the trig I continued east along the fence over Holdron Moss and Blaze Moss heading for the road as it crosses the Trough of Bowland. By this time the blue sky and sunshine had long since gone and it had turned grey and murky. The ground underfoot was quite rough and with little in the way to enjoy in terms of a view this section became a bit of a dull trudge.

It was with some relief that I finally arrived at the road which, after a brief inspection of the Grey Stone of Trough (an old Lancashire / Yorkshire boundary stone), I then followed all the way down through Losterdale and back to the car.

I'd really enjoyed the early stages of this walk, it was just a shame that the lack of views later on made the rest of the walk a slog with little in the way of reward. On the whole probably not a route I'd recommend to the more casual walker.

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