The waterfall of Cautley Spout is a fine way to approach the Calf, the highest place on the Howgill range. The CRoss Keys Temperance Inn makes an obvious starting point.
In the late 1970s a very young Jonathan used to visit his brother who was at school at Sedbergh. All I remember about those trips was having a family ‘tea’ at the Cross Keys inn on the Sunday as we returned. Later I viewed the Howgills more from the M6 as I sped north to the Lakes but I was not attracted by what I saw, albeit from a distance. However time passed and I could ignore the area no longer. I have now climbed the Calf via Cautley Spout twice in quick succession it was so good that I wanted to explore further.
Cautley Spout is the largest waterfall in England (a few claim this title) with a fall of 650 foot. Walking up the valley the falls appear as a great gash in a wall of rock and made me ponder how I was going to get up. At the top of the Spout I crossed the stream and took the intermittent path which skirts the crags of Cautley. This is far and away the best route to the summit of the Calf – the direct route being tedious in the extreme once the top of the Spout is reached. The Calf itself is nothing special but the descent via Bowderdale is somewhat spooky. I am not sure why I find Bowderdale spooky but it is, the first time I was there darkness was starting to fall and as I really did not fancy an extended stay, I ran!
These are lonely hills but there are compensations in this; the sense of freedom being one and the horses which greet you on the valley floor being another.
The Calf and Calders are 2 of the Dales 30 Mountains
For those, like me, who are obsessed with ticking peaks Yarlside is a steep 700 foot haul from Bowderdale, for those who care less about the summits forget it!
We walked over Great Dummacks today from the A 683 ( parked near to the church by St marks Band B) then skirted the top of the crags and down Cautley spout. The weather closed in on the tops which are quite exposed, and we were blasted by hail, although we had the good fortune of being wind assisted as the prevailing wind was at our backs. Visibilty was not bad and there was a sprinkling of snow on the hills all around which made the experience all the more atmospheric. The spout was in full flow and did not disappoint as we descended into the valley below. Fantastic glacial landscape, redolent of the Highlands, especially with the weather. A brilliant day, all the more poignant as we had done this walk 34 years ago with school. We will go back in the spring and do the same walk in reverse.
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