The other week we walked from Ravenstonedale to Green Bell on the northern side of the Howgill Fells.
Now, sensible walkers take a circuitous route from the village, via Knoutberry.
We went for it direct, through a mile or two of rain-soaked boggy moor grass, wending our way across some very miry moorland.
Who dares… sploshes…
It was a bit like some of those trackless bits of Dartmoor, where you leap from tussock to tussock and fight the worst kind of clinging vegetation.
When I was younger I used to cross miles of that sort of Dartmoor terrain without even noticing. Sadly, my energy levels and muscle recuperation are not quite what they were. So now I feel the pain on harsher ground.
So I recommend that you don’t take the direct route unless you are trying to burn off excess fat or giving your leg muscles a good workout. Be sensible and do the recommendations in the various guide books.
Mind, if you like moorland birds our route is worth a go, for this is a land of curlews and snipe and enough others to delight the heart of any twitcher.
And there are some lovely ponies which you might be lucky enough to see, very much like the illustration Wainwright provided in his book on the Howgill Fells – AW must have seen their ancestors.
A steep slope from Knoutberry (a local name for cloud berries) leads up to the summit of Green Bell. It’s all worth it when you get there, for the views are very fine. Glorious vistas over the Howgills, the Eden Valley, the Pennines and the Lakeland Fells. Grand wild country.
Not far away is the source of the River Lune, which gives Lancaster its name.
We headed back along a better track from the summit, heading north to Stwarth (yes that’s the correct spelling) and High Greenside.