<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Lakeland walk - The Howgill fells from Tebay

PUBLISHED: 00:00 01 April 2015 | UPDATED: 16:37 19 January 2016

Tebay walk

Tebay walk

Keith Carter

Tens of thousands of people thunder past the Howgill Fells every day, but Keith Carter says there are good reasons to stop and explore

Tebay walk Tebay walk

I used to look longingly at the Howgill Fells as I travelled north on the M6 as it carves its way through the Lune Gorge. Their rounded curves and dimpled folds caught the changing shadows and dusting of snow as the seasons changed and I longed to be up on them rather than stuck behind the wheel of a car.

Once I began to explore them they quickly became a second favourite after the Lake District fells, the walker’s paradise. Sometimes Sedbergh would be the starting-point, either up onto the ridge via Winder or along the valley to Cautley Spout then onto The Calf. These hills scarcely exceed 2000ft and their slopes are gradual and mostly grass. You can walk all day without having to scramble over rocks, the views are sublime and the weather conditions usually manageable. As they say, what’s not to like?

Tebay is the ideal starting-point for a walk in the northern Howgills which is the subject of this walk to the summit of Blease Fell if you can call it a summit since in common with all the hills in this group the tops are rounded and cairn-less. Park in the area known as Mount Pleasant opposite The Old School, once the Youth Hostel, now a café with independently run accommodation. Go in for a coffee after your walk, it’s rather good.

Take the lane beside the Old School, passing a group of garages then rising away from the village on tarmac at first. Keep right at each of two forks in the lane, the second one with a fingerpost indicating left to Weather Hill and right to Tebay Ghyll. The OS map shows a farmhouse called Tebaygill and a stream called Tebay Gill, the word ‘gill’ coming from the Norse word meaning a deep cleft or ravine. The spelling ‘ghyll’ seems to have been invented by Wordsworth, believe it or not!

M6 Tebay walk M6 Tebay walk

Once past the farm the track becomes easier, levelling out at an old barn. You can see your way ahead right up the fells ahead. To the left the land falls away to the gill and has been planted with young trees. The idea is to populate these lower slopes with broadleaf trees such as oak, ash, rowan and alder which in time will form a forest similar to nearby Borrowdale (not the same as the better-known dale of the same name in Lakeland).

Gaining height, the view down the Lune Gorge opens out and we can see how the river, road and railway have all taken advantage of this natural gap through the hills. The Lune will find its way down to Lancaster and flow into Morecambe Bay at Glasson Dock, a lovely river, beloved of fishermen. This view from the top of Blease Fell is stunning and you can sit on the grass and savour it for hours.

The return is over the adjoining top to Hare Shaw and Knott, no more than mounds really and also free from piles of stones or cairns. Lake District walkers will be familiar with the heaped up stones on every summit however insignificant but you won’t find the same tendency in the Howgills due probably to an absence of loose stone lying about and few quarries. These hills were open to common grazing and were never subjected to enclosures.

Descending from Blease Fell requires some care in route-finding since there are no obvious paths, only a number of faint tracks through the grass, many of which lead nowhere. The farmers do use quad bikes here though so you can find wheel ruts in places but never really following a usable line. The descent is due north over Hare Shaw from which point by looking to the distance you should be able to see where the M6 curves to the left heading north. Take this as your general direction but avoid drifting too far to the right. Several faint paths present themselves but where a choice needs to be made, take the left hand option.

As you lose height, your path becomes more evident and in places seems to be the start of a genuine track but then fizzles out again, dodging boggy patches then coming to the edge of a cliff. Below us is the ruin of Gelstone, a long-abandoned farmstead where we turn right to follow a wall down past a second ruin then a third, this one with three concrete buttresses which speak of an attempt to stop the gable from collapsing sometime in the past. We come to a stony track climbing the fell, the access to the farm on the skyline, Waskew Head, still occupied I think. Turn left, cross the packhorse bridge over Tebaygill Beck and follow the track back to the village.

Compass points

Area of walk: The Howgill fells from Tebay

Distance: 6 miles

Time to allow: About four hours.

Map: OS Explorer OL19 Howgill Fells

Refreshments: The Old School, Tebay

Access: Not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs

Further reading: Walks on the Howgill Fells by A. Wainwright


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 09:41

Rebekka O’Grady and photographer John Cocks meet some of the new independent businesses calling Southport home

Read more
Monday, February 12, 2018

How many of these local landmarks can you recognise?

Read more
Quiz Spring
Friday, February 9, 2018

Plans for around 600 new houses to be built in pretty Wyre village

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

John Lenehan toasts the re-opening of a Lancashire engineering landmark and notes an invention to revive any walker.

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kirkby Lonsdale sits on the spot where Lancashire, Yorkshire and Westmorland meet, making it a great base to explore the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. All these walks start of within a ten mile radius of Kirkby Lonsdale, making them a perfect day trip for anyone staying close to the historic market town.

Read more
Kirkby Lonsdale
Monday, February 5, 2018

From businesses selling banjoes to bridalwear from a former New York costume designer, Colne is a town for all seasons. Mairead Mahon reports.

Read more
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lake District walks dominate the top ten of Britain’s 100 list.

Read more
Lake District Lake District Walks
Friday, January 26, 2018

Barrow was built on hard graft but there’s plenty of beauty to be found as well, as Mike Glover reports


Read more
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Despite its bad reputation, the cuckoo has been a great and clever survivor in the wild. However, numbers have dipped since the 1970s. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates this iconic spring bird.

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Many of us are frustrated by our inability to swim well. Sarah Hill did something about it and now helps others. She spoke to Roger Borrell.

Read more
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Celebrate the historic waterways of Lancashire with one of these canalside walks that allow you to enjoy the countryside and witness echoes the the county’s industrial past.

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Their football clubs both wear navy blue and white strips, but how well can you identify landmarks in Bolton and Preston?

Read more
Preston Bolton Quiz
Friday, January 12, 2018

Spring is not too far off and that’s the time when the birds start getting noisier in our woodlands. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates a couple of the stars of the Dawn Chorus.

Read more
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

John Lenehan selects a relatively gentle walk to blow away the post-Christmas cobwebs

Read more
Ribble Valley Walks
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search