BB1327 : Beyond The Calf

Wednesday 14th August 2013

Four Kirks and a Pulpit.   That was to be the title of today’s outing.  Expecting heavy cloud cover on the fells, I had planned a low level route around the Lune, taking in four of the area's small churches plus Fox’s Pulpit.  However, the day proved better than expected and the cloud on the top of the Howgills was slowly lifting.  A more adventurous plan was needed.  

Approaching the Howgills

Even so, we still parked at the first kirk, Holy Trinity, founded 1685, in the strung-out hamlet of Howgill.  A feature of this lovely little church are the ancient exhortation boards. I don’t what they are really called but that seems a fair name for them.

Thou shall do no manner of work

Sounds good to me!

Holy Trinity, Howgill


Close by, is one of the old red telephone boxes, founded much later and, surprise, has not been unfounded.  It has not been converted to a library or a greenhouse; it remains a working phone box as John was able to prove.

The revised plan kicked off with a fairly steep climb up Arant How, following which was a seemingly more gentle approach to Calders and The Calf.  

The distant Calf from Arant How

Normally, like most Howgillers, on reaching The Calf (the highest point of the Howgills) we have either returned to Sedburgh or headed east to Cautley.  Today we decided to do something never before attempted on a BOOTboys outing:- to continue north over White Fell Head and Busk Howe, a pleasant grassy sort of ridge with surrounded by the many folds and drops of these fells.  

Looking back to The Calf

I was slightly taken aback by the size of the descent to the col before climbing up to Breaks Head.  

From there, it was an easy stroll to Fell Head where we found a solitary individual having his lunch.  He was a Sedburghian and this was his favourite part of the Howgills.  

You can understand why.  Much less frequented than the southern part but with views over the strangely arranged valleys and hills to the north and east plus a great vantage point for the western vista.

The folds above Longrigg Beck

Unfortunately the air quality was not terribly good so distance views were not as sharp as they might have been but, excepting a couple of intensely pesky wasps, you could appreciate his reasoning.  Had it not been for those wasps we might have joined him there for lunch but instead we pressed on to the lower cairn and a wasp-free venue.

The M6 from Fell Head

Thereafter, it should have been an easy descent to the bridle path and road that led back to the car.  

However, progress was made substantially more difficult by John plying me with logic puzzles.

I suspect that once upon a time I could have solved at least some of them without too much difficulty.

Today, my half-addled brain was struggling so it was a relief to arrive back at the car where the examination ended.

Comitibus :  Howgill

Looking back to Brown Moor and Fell Head

On the return to John’s house, we passed the no longer active, tiny church of St Gregory, the second of the four kirks planned for a bad weather day.  As he (John, not Gregory) had never previously found it open, we popped in to see the fine stained glass windows.

The Howgills, with their a deep valleys, gentle noses and mostly shortish tufty grass, coupled with the absence of walls and fences, make an excellent walking area.  And venturing beyond The Calf proved that the north-western side is just as pleasant as the southern and all the better for being less frequented.  There remains a lot more beyond The Calf that we have never visited.  One day we must put that right.

Don, Wednesday 14th August 2013





Wednesday 14th August 2013

Distance in miles:

9.2 (Anquet / Harvey's)

Height climbed in feet:

2,670 (Anquet / Harvey's)



Other Features:

Arant How, Calders, The Calf, White Fell Head, Busk Howe, Breaks Head, Fell Head


Don, John Hn



BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1327 .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be quite up to date - see: Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see: BB Log.


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