Talk to people about Cumbria and they will automatically think of the Lake District and nothing else. Yet for the walker there is another aspect of the county to the east of the M6 motorway that is wild and wonderful and uncrowded. This walk takes you to the highest point of the Howgill Fells and then descends along one of its western spurs to a quiet lane.


Start: Sedbergh Joss car park close to the National Park Information Centre.


Fact file: 

Distance:  9 ½ miles 15k


Time:     4 - 5 hours


Summary: Strenuous


Map: OS OL 19 The Howgill Fells & Upper Eden valley


Map by kind permission of the Johnston Press



1. From the car park turn right onto Joss Lane and keep on it bearing right through a residential area


to reach a wooden gate leading out to fields.


Now on a farm track keep ahead and then turn left above a farm to start to climb alongside Settlebeck Gill to the right of a wall. Go through a small wooden gate and keep ahead. After a metal kissing gate


the path reaches the open fellside.  The way ahead is clear -


a wide stony track leading above the deep gully of the gill. (There is a viable path by the gill but sooner or later you will have to climb out of it). The track climbs along the east flank of Winder to the left and after ¾ mile begins to level out as it reaches the broad expanse below Arant Haw.


If you are in a peak bagging mood you can walk over this hill


which at 605m is a little below 2000ft. The main track however skirts it to the east.


As it dips to a col the track is joined by a fence on the right and then climbs up to the next top - Calders 674m and then turns north west to reach Bram Rigg Top 672m. This quick succession of summits is achieved without too much effort as the track at this point is the equivalent of the M6 motorway which on a clear day can be easily picked out to the west. From Bram Rigg Top the wide track leads up to the Calf and its trig point - 676m or if you prefer 2220ft in old money.


2. For the keen walker this is one of the great hills of England. It has a commanding view of the whole range as well as a huge sweep of the north west of England. After a well-earned rest retrace your steps back towards Bram Gill Top but before the track starts to climb bear right on a faint path. This soon becomes more defined as it reaches the top of a spur


and continues the descent westwards. After 1000yds it arrives at the ruins of a sheep fold then soon bears left to drop to Bram Rigg Beck.


Ford the stream and climb up to a track bearing right to reach it. This soon curves to the left


below Swarth Greaves on a broad grassy track. As it turns south it joins a wall coming up from the right and then after a set of double gates


continues in the direction of a small conifer plantation. Before you reach it turn right through a wooden gate


to head downhill on a farm track leading to Birkhaw.


Keep ahead through the farm to join its drive


down to Howgill Lane.

3. Turn left. The direction is simply given - keep on the lane until you reach Sedbergh. It's an hour's walk but there is little traffic. In less than a mile there is a junction


- keep left. The lane takes you to the centre of Sedbergh.


Turn left onto Main Street for the car park.