Howgill Fells & Westmorland Walks
Date: 4th April 2010
Distance: 10.3 miles
Ascent: 2692 feet
Time: 6 hours 30 mins
Start Grid Ref: NY639053
A super walk above and into the northern Howgill valley of Langdale visiting numerous summits including Simon's Seat.
Route Summary: Gaisgill - Longdale - Cowbound Lane - Langdale Knott - West Fell - Hazelgill Knott - East Grain - West Grain - Simon's Seat - Middleton - Langdale Beck - Cowbound Lane - Longdale - Gaisgill
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Our original intention had been to climb Simon's Seat and Middleton with the possibility of also visiting Langdale Knott. In the end we not only visited the latter but also West Fell and Hazelgill Knott thus making it a horseshoe walk based around the Langdale Valley.
The walk did not start in the most promising manner as the paths out of Longdale were wretchedly muddy, we were also harassed by some of the local farm dogs. The enclosed Cowbound Lane was also a quagmire and it was with some relief that we gained access land proper.
By the time we reached Langdale Knott, which was an excellent viewpoint for the upper Langdale valley, we'd already decided to add West Fell and Hazelgill Knott to the itinerary which we did with a simple climb up on to the main ridge.
Unfortunately the weather took several turns for the worse at this point and between West Fell and Hazelgill Knott we had in succession, rain, hail, sleet and finally snow.
Once on Hazelgill Knott the weather started to improve and by the end of the walk is was fantastic. The steep descent from Hazelgill Knott down to Middle Grain was one we had done nearly 4 years before on our first visit to the Howgills. It was by Middle Grain that we also decided to stop for our lunch.
After fording both Middle Grain and West Grain we commenced the relentlessly steep climb up on to Simon's Seat. It was worth all the effort as Simon's Seat proved to be the latest in a long line of fantastic Howgill viewpoints. The Lakeland skyline was particularly arresting and one could clearly pick out a number of fells including Great Gable and Scafell Pike.
We descended via the Middleton ridge with the weather improving every step of the way. A particularly fine moment was arrival at the bridge over Langdale Beck just above the confluence with Uldale Beck.
After a nice jaunt along the beck side we eventually had to return to Cowbound Lane though fortunately we were able to avoid the worst section of it, there was still no avoiding the mud and detritus around Longdale though.
This was a tough but brilliant walk, the Howgills truly are fantastic.