A super walk in the Howgill Fells climbing Arant Haw via Castlehaw and Winder before returning via Arant Haw’s Nab ridge, Seat Knott, Crosdale Beck and Lockbank Farm.
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To celebrate our wedding anniversary (23 years!) Lisa and I treated ourselves to a night at the recently refurbished Black Bull hotel in Sedbergh. We had a superb balcony view of Winder from our room and it was an obvious destination for a walk the next day. Winder on its own would have been a fairly short walk so I planned this route continuing up on to Arant Haw followed by a descent of the latter’s Nab ridge.
After a fine cooked breakfast at the hotel we set off along the Main Street. Turning briefly left on to Long Lane we then took a small track alongside Westwood Books. This small lane is Castlehaw Lane and after heading uphill for five minutes we arrived at kissing gate on our right. This gave access to a short permissive path leading up on to Castlehaw itself, the former site of a Norman motte and bailey castle. The views back down to Sedbergh were largely obscured by trees though there was a nice smattering of harebells at the top. Little is known about the site, the Out of Oblivion website does contain some information.
“The earlier low cloud had now gone and we enjoyed a superb walk along Arant Haw’s west ridge. All too soon this ended at the 515m spot height on Nab where there was a tiny pile of stones.”
Returning to Castlehaw Lane we passed some buildings to cross over Settlebeck Gill at a footbridge. Climbing up alongside the stream we soon crossed back over to join a broader path that leaves Sedbergh at Joss Lane. Another 40m or so of ascent brought us to a gate leading on to open access land. Here we had a choice of ways, the most obvious of which was a good path leading to the head of Settlebeck Gill. After a brief discussion we decided to take a more direct, albeit much more steeper route. Although not marked on the map this path is fairly clear and although it is tough going it offers some magnificent views of Sedbergh, Garsdale and, to the south, the Lune valley.
After crossing over a bridleway we continued our direct route at a slightly easier gradient to reach the summit. Unfortunately our arrival coincided with some low cloud which temporarily obscured the views. We weren’t in any rush though so we hung around for a while for the sun to come out again.
From Winder we turned to head north-east on a grassy path, descending gently towards the col with Arant Haw. At a bifurcation in the path we continued up on to Arant Haw, also known locally as Higher Winder. After the earlier climb up Winder this section didn’t feel as steep as it looked. We were also able to stop now and again to admire the views back to Winder and down into the small valley of Crosdale.
The top of Arant Haw is marked by a small cairn and a wooden post. The views had now really opened out to include Calders to the north and a magnificent prospect of the western hills of the Howgill Fells including Fell Head. The earlier low cloud had now gone and we enjoyed a superb walk along Arant Haw’s west ridge. All too soon this ended at the 515m spot height on Nab where there was a tiny pile of stones. With options to descend to the south-west or north-west we decided to take the latter. The path continued all the way down to the brilliantly named Swang Head with more great views of the western side of the Howgills including White Fell Head and The Calf.
Upon reaching Swang Head I made a brief diversion on to the shapely knoll of Seat Knott before returning to a good path heading south above the intake wall. We followed this pretty much most of the way back to Sedbergh enjoying lovely views of the Lune valley. A particularly nice moment came when we crossed Crosdale Beck and had a great view back up Crosdale to Arant Haw.
Continuing on the path briefly became less distinct as it passed through an area of bracken before reaching a good track which led down to Lockbank Farm. Passing through the farm we navigated our way through a flock of sheep in the farmyard to reach Howgill Lane. Turning left on this it was then a simple walk back into Sedbergh.