Return to Whittle Wanderer

Bluecaster, Rawthey Gill, West Baugh Fell Tarn, Foxhole Rigg, Cumbria
[ 16.8 km] Wed 06 Jun 2012

SD 5987 9598
I drove through Sedbergh then out along the A682 where last week many no parking signs had been placed on the grass verge to prevent the caravans travelling to the Appleby fair taking up residence. This week most of the signs had been defaced and only the posts left. I’m surprised they hadn’t all been taken as they’d make good firewood.
Before Cautley I turned right up the narrow lane towards Foxhole Rigg. Just after the junction I came across a caravan parked on the left grass verge and a tent adjacent which was part way into the lane. I just managed to squeeze past with my car. Then I came to a tethered horse grazing along the verge and standing across the lane. It was a while before it moved and I was able to get by. I parked at the end of the lane under a gloomy sky. Through the gate I walked to the buildings of Bluecaster Cottage.


Bluecaster Cottage

They are in good conditions but no sign of anyone having visited in a while. It looks like a weekend or holiday residence. I was soon on the track that I’d walked along last week but now is was very wet as there’d been a lot of rain during the last week and it was drizzling steadily now.


Wide view of Rawthey Gill from the old quarry workings

At the River Rawthey I didn’t descend to the bridge but continued along the path on the south side. The map shows a public path but it seems to peter out after a while. The reason soon became evident when I reached an area of spoil heaps and old workings. The map calls it Rawthey Gill Quarry and this is where the path ends. Across the river is a diagonal track leading up to Uldale House so presumably that is how they got the stone out.


old quarry buildings

I continued past several spoil heaps and the remains of huts then the path became rather narrow and the bank became steeper. I was approaching the waterfalls and had to take extra care because of the wet and slippery ground. The waterfalls were worth the struggle to get there. The last one is the highest but I had a steep climb out of the river valley to get round it.


Rawthey Gill waterfall

the main Rawthey Gill waterfall

I stayed on the south bank as long as I could but with no path to follow it was hard work. I decided to cross over for a while then crossed back just before Rawthey Gill Foot. This is where I’d planned to head up Baugh Fell. As I squelched up the soggy hillside I was soon in cloud and wondering if this was such a good idea.


Rawthey Gill in the pouring rain

There was no alternative route so I had to stick with it. It was a steady plod with no difficulties. A lone tall cairn ahead told me I was heading in the right direction and as the gradient levelled off I soon saw the waters edge of West Baugh Fell Tarn in front of me. With the restricted visibility I couldn’t see the other side so just followed the shore for a while then headed off to the west to start my descent.


nothing to see at West Baugh Fell Tarn

The first feature I reached was Far Askew Gill where I turned to the north to cross Caphill Moss. I was now just below the cloud and could see some of my surroundings. As I headed north I noticed that the map shows 3 paths heading up from the west then stopping. The reason seems to be old mine workings which were serviced by the paths. Spoil heaps and sink holes indicated old shafts.


North view from West Baugh Fell

In the Historical Society Library in Sedbergh are references to old coal shafts in the area but the coal quality was low. Taythes Gill was a deep and interesting but no obvious way out at the other side. I stayed high and crossed fields to the track to Taythes. I turned left and descended to the buildings of Foxhole Rigg. There was nobody about but two cars were parked there.


Foxhole Rigg

There is supposed to be a public footpath here heading down to Ecker Secker Beck but there was no way-post or any sign of it. Reluctantly I continued down the lane to the main road where I turned right to join the bottom of the Bluecaster Side access lane. The caravan was still there but the tent had been packed away. Two men were hitching up the horse to the caravan and I hoped they’d be gone by the time I drove back down the lane.


about to set off

I walked up the lane to my car and the end of the walk. I drove home via the lane along Fell End and was pleased to see that a new sign had been fixed to the site of the old Quaker Burial Ground.


Quaker Burial Ground at Fell End