Simon’s Seat & Uldale
If you’re fed up of those eroded paths in the Lake District, Roger Butler suggests you head over the M6 and make for the Howgills.
Following the extension to the Yorkshire Dales National Park, all of the Howgill Fells now benefit from the recognition and protection they have long deserved. Wainwright famously compared these empty rolling hills to a huddle of squatting elephants, though he also thought their deeply folded dales looked a bit like a pair of soft velvet curtains.
Rough velvet might be the best way to describe the walking here, with miles of wiry grass, little in the way of heather and more than a few boggy hollows. The Lake District, rising just across the M6, suddenly seems a world away and this long wriggling route explores some of the best scenery as well as peering into dramatic empty valleys which run north to the River Lune. It also avoids some of the better known ascents which start on the south and east sides of the range.
The Howgills will blow away any cobwebs. The walking is exhilarating but straightforward; there are no crags or nasty scrambles and the undulating uplands mean you can simply stride out, swing your arms and whistle into the wind. However, do beware of mist and cloud. Many of the fells and their interlocking spurs look remarkably similar and poor visibility has the ability to confuse. Make sure you pick a clear day and you will probably remember this walk for many years to come.
Sunshine and shadows in the Howgill Fells.
View north towards the ridge known as Breaks Head from the descent to Blakethwaite Bottom.