A super walk from the Fat Lamb Country Inn up on to Harter Fell before returning via the limestone height of Fell End Clouds and Stennerskeugh Clouds.
|Parking:||Fat Lamb Country Inn|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
With a pass for a trip to do a full bank holiday weekend of walking I finally decided, after much indecision, to base myself somewhere near Ravenstonedale. I had a number of walks I wanted to do in the surrounding Howgill and Orton Fells so it seemed a good base. Despite waiting until only a couple of days beforehand to book somewhere I managed to get the last available room in The Fat Lamb.
Wanting to do a walk direct from the hotel I came up with this route. One of the walks I had on my to-do list was to visit the limestone ridges of Fell End Clouds and Stennerskeugh Clouds. By modifying what would have been a short walk I added to the route Harter Fell, a hill in the north-east corner of the Howgills, which I'd not visited for quite sometime.
"My arrival at the top startled a couple of sheep happily munching grass by the cairn. A few minutes later it was my turn to get startled when a Galloway cow lumbered past me."
Setting off from the pub I walked across the beer garden at the back to take the public footpath. This circled around the tiny Crossbank Nature Reserve to continue on to Lockholme Hall. Past the hall a short path led to an enclosed lane, turning left on this bridleway I passed Lockholme Farm to reach a pleasant tarn. Although the tarn is not named on the map there is the name 'Paradise' nearby. Hence I decided to name this Paradise Tarn.
The track continued on, passing a new development of luxury lodges (with hot tubs!) at Artlegarth to reach the minor road leading to Adamthwaite. Turning left on this I enjoyed a pleasant climb on the road with Harter Fell ahead of me. As I climbed higher the retrospective views encompassed Ash Fell, Crosby Garrett Fell and beyond to the North Pennines.
At the top of the road a cross is marked on the map. I didn't see any sign of this but there was a clear quad track climbing directly up to the top of Harter Fell. This was fairly well graded and as I neared the summit the views of the Howgills just kept on getting better and better.
My arrival at the top startled a couple of sheep happily munching grass by the cairn. A few minutes later it was my turn to get startled when a Galloway cow lumbered past me. Slightly detached from the main mass of hills the summit panorama was superb and included the Howgills, Wild Boar Fell, the North Pennines and even distant Carrock Fell in the northern fells of the Lake District.
Moving on from the summit I initially ignored the quad track heading south in order to ramble over to the steep slopes above Five Gills. From here there was superlative view looking down the Rawthey valley. Making my way back to the quad track I continued to follow this until it dropped more steeply to reach a faint track above Adamthwaite.
Turning left I followed this track a short distance before turning left again, on another quad track, I crossed the 330m contour on Murthwaite Rigg to reach a track. Passing through a gate this dropped down to High Sprintgill. Continuing on I passed Low Sprintgill to arrive on the main road by a small Methodist chapel that is now up for sale.
Crossing over the road I climbed up the byway to reach the narrow road known as The Street. Turning left I walked along the road passing the lovely house at Cold Keld. A few minutes later, with the road now unenclosed, I took a grassy track on my right. After a quick look at a limekiln the track slanted up to the right. Just as it began to level out I turned off left to climb up to a rash a limestone near a lone tree.
From here I followed an interesting little trench of limestone up on to Fell End Clouds. The following mile or so of walking over Fell End Clouds and the fine ridge of Stennerskeugh Clouds was pure delight. In the shadow of Wild Boar Fell this little oasis of limestone deserves to be much better known.
Finally at the northern end of Stennerskeugh Clouds I dropped down to reach a track. Turning left I followed this down to an enclosed lane leading to the rather grand house called The Street. Following the minor road round to the left this house even had a couple of crenalleted towers hidden in the trees alongside the wall.
After a bend in the road I took a track leading across Cote Moor at the next bend. This soon brought me back to the main road. Turning right it was then a 5-10 minute walk back to The Fat Lamb. For the most part there was a good verge on the left hand side of the road but in the final stages care does need to be taken as cars can travel quite fast down this stretch of road.
This had turned into a fabulous outing. The weather had been fantastic with lots of sunshine interspersed with cloudier spells. Visibility was excellent throughout and I'd really enjoyed the contrast between the steep grassy slopes of Harter Fell and the limestone wonderland of Fell End Clouds and Stennerskeugh Clouds.