My first mission was to establish which county they were in. It seems most of them are in Cumbria but they do appear to straddle the border into Yorkshire. Certainly all of the way markers around Cautley Spout were Yorkshire Dales markers. Whomever they "belong" to they're incredibly pretty and have long caught our eye as we've made our way north on the M6.
We parked up near the Cross Keys Temperance Inn; a 400 year old building with an interesting history. It used to be a licensed bar but in 1902 the landlord drown while trying to save an inebriated customer from the nearby river. Relatives of the customer then bought the bar at auction before reselling it with the licence to sell alcohol removed from the deeds, since which time it has been a Temperance Inn. They serve food and soft drinks though when we popped our heads around the door it was already rather packed and, temperance bars not being my natural habitat, we moved on.
The path along Cautley Holme Beck is an open and pretty ramble; perfect for families and if you're after an easy stroll with stunning views then this is a great spot. The path winds along to the base of the falls with stunning views back across the valley.
|Approach to Cautley Spout|
|Frogspawn ponds along the way|
|View from Cautley Spout|
Once at the base of the falls the path steepens considerably and it's a sharp but enjoyable hike to the top of Cautley Spout, Englands highest waterfall with a drop of 198m. The excellent views all around are the perfect excuse for regular stops to catch your breath. Once at the top of the falls the path continues to rise, though much more gently, leading you out onto the main summit route to The Calf and it was at this point, as we were blown sideways, that we christened them the Howling Howgills, though it turns out we're not the first people to do that!
Around you tempting ridge walks disappear in every direction; it's the sort of place I could happily potter around on for days at a time. To start off with we headed north along White Fell Head, Bush Howe and then onto the cairns at Fell Head. The views in every direction are stunning; the Lakeland Fells, Ingleborough, the Yorkshire Dales and even Morecambe Bay away in the distance.
Retracing our steps back to The Calf we continued onwards past Bram Rigg Top to Calders; from here there are clear views along the valley to the Kent Estuary and the viaduct at Arnside. Heading away from Calders along the fence boundary towards Great Dummacks the going got a little boggy but the suction from the bogs at least gave us a little purchase in the face of the howling gales.
|View from the top of Cautley Crag|
Arriving at the top of Cautley Crag the path is narrow and not for the fainthearted; the crags drop away dramatically to the river valley far below, but the views were absolutely stunning as we made our way back towards Cautley Spout. I can honestly say that with the wind blowing hard against our faces and the sun high in the sky it really was the perfect afternoon to be out on the fells.