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Cross Keys, Swarth Fell, Bluecaster, Cumbria
[ 20.4 km] Wed 30 May 2012

SD 6981 9693
On my way to the start of today’s walk I passed through Sedbergh. It had only just gone 7am and things were already going on. The small market outside the Parish Church of St Andrew was already set up and ready for business. I stopped to take a quick picture and also inspected the metal plaque on the Library wall that had the details of the 2 market day Charters the town has for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But they don’t use the Tuesday one.
I reached the Cross Keys Temperance Inn, left my car and set off north along the A683. At Rawthey Bridge I turned right up the minor lane as far as the next right turn which heads for Uldale House. I followed the lane as far as the empty and dilapidated Farm and Barn of White Green which can be seen in a walled enclosure.

White Green

I could see it through the misty weather but decided to walk over for a closer look. I didn’t rejoin the road but continued east across the moor to another walled enclosure but this only had a ruin in it with just the door lintel in place. The mist was now thick enough to prevent any views so I crossed the deep Needlehouse Gill and headed up Uldale Gill hoping to find a path. I couldn’t see evidence of one on either side so just kept climbing upwards. Eventually I reached the saddle by the small tarn which I could only just see through the mist.

Small tarn in the mist

White Boar Fell and Mallerstang Common from Swarth Fell

My next objective was a small tarn at Windy Hills to the east of Swarth Fell. The ground was mixed and quite interesting in places. One area was a quaking bog covered with a layer of dry ground so as I walked on it the whole area bounced up and down. I did a quick retreat and walked round it. Approaching the tarn the weather cleared for a while and became quite warm in the sun. The tarn was deceptive and surrounded in an area of deep bog. I left it to head up the steep NE face of Swarth Fell. The first part is just a steep grass slope but higher up the last part was rocky and some were loose so I had to make a couple of diversions. Approaching the summit cairn I saw a lone walker just getting up after being sat down. He set off north without seeing me. I headed SE to meet the wall that descends down to Holmes Moss Gill. The mist came back and the temperature dropped. On the way down I walked across more wet ground to the ruin of Joseph’s House.

Swarth Fell cairn and White Boar Fell behind

Joseph’s House ruin

It was probably a shepherd’s shelter at one time but is now a ruin with no roof. I continued over Holmes Moss Hill which was variable underfoot and not good walking. At Rawthey Gill Foot I visited a previous old camp from a back packing trip then headed down the north side of Rawthey Gill. I kept to the river side to have a look at an old barn then reached a faint track that took me to Whin Stone Gill Bridge. Further along is Blea Gill Bridge then the farmyard of Uldale House and its many barking dogs. Over the door the stone lintel had the inscription IS HULL 1828. I stopped to photograph it as the farmer came out. We chatted for a while and he said the full name was Isaac Hull who was a master at the Sedbergh School. The house was re-built by him as a speculative venture as there was a possibility of the track to Garsdale being upgraded to a road. But it wasn’t. A Dales book said it was also a possibility the Settle Carlisle railway could come via Uldale but the dates don’t make sense.

Limestone like teeth

Uldale House

IS HULL 1828

I continued down the lane to the woods where I turned left down a steep track to the bridge over the Rawthey River. A nice track continued across Bluecaster and had nice views across to the Howgills.

Falls at the River Rawthey

I took a right path down to the road at Low Haygarth then it was only a short distance back to the car.

Wandale Hill to the right, from Bluecaster