Monday, 15 August 2011

Cautley Spout

Peter has been here before and wanted to revisit. We are both fans of The Walking Englishman, and with his help, Peter came up with a walk which included the waterfall and a wander around the Howgills beyond.  As usual, I had very little idea of what to expect, I just knew the word "climb" had been mentioned.
Cross Keys Inn is white.  We're going right at the bin.

We drove out and parked next to the Cross Keys, (the white building in the picture) which is a "temperance" non alcoholic inn  I didn't know such places existed.  It has it's own history here.

Over the bridge into another world
We took a path on the right, down some steps through the trees and across a little bridge over the river Rawthey.  For me it was like stepping through the wardrobe, there wasn't a lion or a witch to greet us, but it did seem like we had transported into another world.  And, as usual it just got better.  As always, plenty of sheep to see, and  several horses, grouped together and looking very fed up.  I don't think they're completely wild, but they seemed to roam freely.

We walked across the floor of the valley, (another one created by a glacier) towards the waterfall.  Like the bottom of High Cup, the ground is mostly wet, with loads of little springs appearing, rushing and bubbling to join the main stream, Cautley Holme Beck,.  The sounds of becks and streams and running water was constant from this point forward.  Wherever we went on this walk, there was the rush and bubble, trickle and gurgle of water near by.
We could see the Spout from way back, and it just got more and more impressive as we got closer. According to Wiki, it's the highest cascade waterfall above ground, falling a total of 650ft. Not deliberate, but we picked a really good day to see it because it had been raining for two days previous and there was plenty of water gushing over the top.

So, onwards and upwards, and upwards, and upwards.  It wasn't a real climb as there are steps most of the way.  But it is all the way up, steep and hard work.  And AWESOME.  I kept thinking, "How can anyone not be impressed by this?"  I could not stop taking pictures.   A photo can't capture the splendour of the falls or the views, but that didn't stop me trying.
The top falls at Cautley Spout.  Amazing
View from the top

Red Gill Beck

At the the top we continued the walk mapped out by the Walking Englishman, but we took a wrong turn. Very happily we decided later, because we ended up following Red Gill Beck and then Force Gill Beck to Bram Rigg Top.  And we loved it.  It felt truly wild and untouched.

From there we followed the "highway" (an obviously well used, gravelled path) to the trig point at the top of The Calf.  It felt like being on top of the world.  I knew we were high up, cos everything else was below us.  We could see as far out as Morecombe Bay on the West coast, across as far as Pen-Y-Ghent in the South East, with the Howgill Fells to the North and East of us.  Magnificent!
And the Howgills are magnificent.  The name Howgill apparently comes from Old Norse.  "Huagr" means hill and "Gil"means narrow valley.  And that is exactly what they are, a series of hills and valleys. They've been described as sleeping elephants.  If so, the sleeping beasts are covered in quilts - there aren't any real cliffs to these hills, they appear like rolls of dough.  But boy, are those slopes steep!  Even the sheep struggled to get up them. There is very little life about, just swathes of grass and sheep.....and water! You'd think it would drain off down the steep slopes, but no, we got wet feet up there too.  No matter, the views were breathtaking.
Walking on, we once again we took a wrong turn, or in this case a wrong straight.  That is, we walked little further along the top of the hill than intended and ended up getting down using the channel gouged out by some unnamed beck, mostly on my bottom.  (Not totally true, but we did need sticks to keep us upright, and they didn't always succeed in my case.)
From there we followed the beck up Bowderdale, with it's steep sides, to Bowderdale head, still with the sounds running water all around us.  Once at top, Cautley Spout was to our right and we descended back down the steep, knee crunching hill into the glacial valley of Cautley Holme Beck, finally arriving back at the little bridge, very tired, but very satisfied. Once at the car, even as we were taking our boots off, I said to Peter "We have to go there again".  Absolutely Class!
Info from Peter: Route & directions. and Peter's journal entry

1 comment:

  1. Hey up Dittzy Cautley Spout was the first route I took in the Howgills, its a tad on the steep side isnt it :) I then got lost bu tthen arrived somehow on the calf and went wow at the views there!

    Dave aka AJ :)