Where is this walk?

The Lonely Howgills

October 11, 2019

The Lonely Howgills describes the main walk down the spine of the Howgill fells. This walk climbs steeply to Winder, on to Calders and the Calf before returning along the flanks of the Howgills to Sedbergh.

The Walk

Walking along the Howgills is like walking in the Far Eastern or Northern fells of the Lakes. I coined the phrase The Lonely Howgills because of the sense of freedom and release that walking (with or without company) along the long, wide ridges give. It is a real joy. The hills may look uninteresting from a distance, as they have no rocky outcrops or dramatic summits, but the long grassy ridge have excellent long distance views over the Eden Valley and into Lakeland proper. The geographical location also means that they are often ignored. The M6 cuts a deep pass through the Howgills but motorists rarely stop and explore its delights, preferring the more famous and dramatic lands to the west.

Sedbergh (the town of the Howgills) calls itself the Book Town with good reason. The most fabulous range of second hand book shops exist and it is definitely worth a browse in one or two of them. The walk itself contrasts the wonderfully straightforward walking along the high plateau with a return on an excellent lower fell side path above the River Rawthey. Between these two distinct phases to the walk is the dramatic waterfall at Cautley Spout, reputedly the highest waterfall in Britain. Whether it is the highest it is certainly dramatic and adds considerably to the walk. I certainly feel I now know and appreciate the appeal of this unspoilt part of the country.

The Calf and Calders are 2 of the Dales 30 Mountains


Resist the charms of the Cross Keys Temperance Inn which is at the foot of Cautley Spout. However return to try the cakes another day.

The Lonely Howgills is one of the best 20 walks in the Yorkshire Dales.

Navigation Tips on the Howgills

Its unusual for our uplands to not have any boundaries (walls/fences/hedges) to aid navigation. The fell wall as it is called in the Howgills case is very low, only one rogue fence exists higher up.

  • Craig says:

    Epic walk, loved it on a cold but perfectly clear day. I agree that way down Cautley is steep as anything

  • Sadie & Michele says:

    We started at the Cross Keys Inn. A Really great walk even in the rain. The walk started off wet and cloudy but ended dry and clear. A steep route up following the waterfall but after that the walking was easy. One to be repeated. Thoroughly recommend breaking the walk with a coffee and cake stop in Sedbergh before the last 4.5 miles back to the car.

  • Oli says:

    This was brutal ! I am in so much pain and cramp ! Must have another !

  • Mark says:

    Great walk in the Howgills, not sure if we went correct way down from Cautley Spout, was very steep. Second half was very wet and boggy underfoot. Thanks for a great web site and inspiration for getting out there.

  • AlanI says:

    Hi, not sure I understand your description of ‘easy walking throughout’ as the decent from Cautley Spout is anything but easy and even harder than the ascent.

    • Maxwell says:

      Hello. What is the disadvantage of doing the walk the other way round please? Just trying to save my knees coming down Cautley Spout!

      • Jonathan says:

        It is a steep path down Cautley Spout but it is also steep off Winder if you reverse it. The Howgills are steep on all sides but brilliant walking on top.
        I prefer this way round as the high ridge to the Calf in the walk and therefore when I am enjoying the walk the most, it also heads north so the views are usually better. The lowland section after Cautley I enjoy less (still very interesting) so I prefer to leave it till later.

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