23 November 2017

Sssssh! Don't Tell Everyone

The Howgill Fells, that huddle of smooth sided hills that nestle between the grandeur of the Lake District and the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, is one of the north’s best kept secrets. 
The Howgills

They are often overlooked as a walking destination in favour of their better known neighbours, but on a clear, dry day there is nowhere that I’d rather be, away from the crowds and alone with the curlews and Fell ponies.
Fell ponies on the Howgills
Dennis and Jan Kelsall share my love of this landscape as their guidebook book Walking in the Lune Valley and Howgills clearly shows. This is the 2nd edition of the book they first wrote in 2012 and it celebrates the inclusion of much of the area into either the Lake District or Yorkshire Dales National Parks. It includes 40 day walks of between 3 and 11 miles in the catchment area of the river Lune, stretching from its emergence near Newbiggin-on-Lune and flowing for some 50 miles to the Irish Sea below Lancaster. 

To the east of the river lay the Howgill Fells and the Forest of Bowland and it is in these areas that there are some of the finest walks in the book. Base yourself in the lovely market town of Sedbergh and you can tackle anything from a strenuous circular climb over Winder, Calders and the Calf to a gentle stroll around Dent.
Dent village
There are also clusters of walks in the north around Orton and Tebay where there are fine examples of limestone pavement, and further south in remote little Barbondale. 
The limestone pavements of Great Asby Scar
The final section of the book takes you along the Lancaster canal and out to the Lune estuary were you can see the remains of Cockersand Abbey and explore Glasson Dock, still active after over 200 years, although mainly with pleasure craft these days.

The book is published by Cicerone and is in their distinctive style; pocket sized with 1:50,000 extracts of OS maps to accompany each route description. Directions in the text are enlivened by the historical and geographical snippets that add interest to any walk.

If your walking in the northwest has been concentrated on the Lakes and Dales then this is the book for you.  But sssssh! Don't tell everyone or they'll all want to go there.

Walking in the Lune Valley and Howgills by Dennis and Jan Kelsall is published by Cicerone, ISBN:978 1 85284 916 0 price £12.95

I was sent a free copy of the book to review. The photographs in this review are my own.