The Howgills are a sparsely walked range of mountains and the Northern Howgills less so. The broad grassy ridges are largely trackless, and the miles long, but the walking is easy and the views are excellent.
To the south of the A685, as it marches its way from the M6 towards Kirkby Stephen and Appleby, there is a vast area of high, largely trackless hills that go under the collective name of the Northern Howgills. Keep to the tracks on the high moorlands and the walking is superb, leave them and it becomes more of a struggle, positively an ordeal in places. Therefore the walk I have chosen sticks to the paths and bridleways and leads to the highest point in the area, Yarlside at 2096′.
This is a walk where meeting another person is unlikely. However the solitude and easy walking, coupled with the cries of the sky lark and far reaching views make this a highly enjoyable experience. Ravenstone is good place to start. Here the track gradually climbs on to the high plateau just beyond Green Bell and thereafter follow a winding course to the Marilyn of Yarlside. The return can be varied by taking the more northerly route towards Newbiggen on Lune; cutting across the fields to Ravenstonedale before the village is actually reached.
Yarlside and Randygill Top are two of the Dales 30 Mountains
It is worth continuing the walk to Yarlside because the views over to the Calf and the Sedbergh Howgills are very good.
The paths tend to fade in and fade out on the ridges. Initially follow the farm track from Ravenstonedale then there is a decent path on to Long Gill. From here climb to Knoutberry and Green Bell and then follow the ridge, with path, to Randygill Top and Yarlside.
Return to Green Bell and then take the broad ridge back. Whatever you do avoid Bowderdale.
I did this fabulous walk with some friends in September. The Howgills are lovely hills and we had it pretty much to ourselves. We stayed at Low Greenside Farm Campsite, Ravenstonedale, and we recommend it as a great base for walking in the area and a really nice friendly place to stay. Lots of info on local walks is available at the campsite.
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