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Cautley, Great Dummacks, The Calf, Sickers Fell, Cumbria.
[ 14.4 km] Tue 31 Jul 2012

SD 6984 9694
I had an easy drive to Sedbergh then on to the Cross Keys Inn at Cautley. The sky was overcast when I set off and I was hoping for some sun as the weather forecast had predicted some. I crossed the River Rawthey by the footbridge then followed the path towards Cautley Spout. I didnít follow it far as I took a left branch which crossed Cautley Holme Beck by a footbridge. My first objective was to climb the ridge by Pickering Gill and up to Great Dummacks. Passing though a gate I came to open fell but the map didnít show a path heading upwards so I had to make my own route. There was no path so at first I had to negotiate some horrible wet ferns but then they cleared and I had fairly clear, though steep, ground the take me upwards. It was a pleasant ridge with improving views as I got higher.

The view from the climb of Great Dummacks

Wide view of Cautley

Andy Goldsworthy sheepfold

The impressive Cautley Crag was to my right and when I got to the flat summit of Great Dummacks I turned north to follow the top ridge of Cautley Crag for a while. I soon started to descent to Red Gill Beck as I wanted to visit the wonderful reconstructed sheepfold in the valley bottom. Itís no ordinary sheepfold as it is one of a series that were designed by Andy Goldsworthy and has an artistic stone cone build in to one corner. I reached the sheepfold, which Iíve visited a few times before, then crossed the beck and up the steep slope of Great Force Gill Rigg. Crossing the head of Swere Gill I came to the main path which made the going much easier. I followed it up towards ĎThe Calfí summit, passing a small tarn on the way. There was sunshine on the distant fells but none where I was.

The School bus passing 'Rough and Ready'

Wide view north from 'The Calf'

The views were clear though and still impressive as the Howgills have distinctive rounded hills. Approaching the summit trig post I was surprised at the adjacent tarn. It was almost empty and surrounded by a muddy area. Iíve never seen it other than full and overflowing. I took the path SE and headed towards Calders. The path was considerably improved some years ago and is now good enough to ride on a mountain bike. Over Calders is a steep descent which is loose stones in places so I took the grass to the side. One interesting thing I was a small collection of stone sets at the side of the path. A person or more likely persons unknown must have carried them up to place together in a small area.

Stone sets by the path

In the distance I saw the first people of the day. As I started up the slope towards Hobdale Scar I met them going the other way. Just after I left the path and headed off across open ground to traverse the steep east side of Hobdale Scar. Hobdale Gill far below looked very impressive. The gradient eased across Sickers Fell and I started to follow a old green track which wound down towards Knott. The summit cairn on Knott gave a wonderful view of Baugh Fell and Wild Boar Fell. The descent was pathless and very steep for a while. I reached a wall and followed it to a gate then into open ground. Through another gate I descended to the vehicle track to Fawcett Bank. The track is unsurfaced, very narrow and seems inadequate for na occupied house. Fawcett Bank is a well maintained house and occupied, not the weekend second residence that is becoming all too common. The path continues through fields but was very wet in places and sometimes so bad I took a parallel route through the field. It was about a couple of miles back to the footbridge over Cautley Holme Beck but seemed longer because of the bad ground. I was now reversing the start of the walk Iíd done earlier. Just after 1pm I got back to the car.

Fawcett Bank