Howgill Fells

What’s the best way to finish your training for 100 miles around London on the road bike next week? Answer: take your fat bike up into the mountains for some hike-a-bike!

I’ve never walked or biked in the Howgill Fells, but they’ve always been in my consciousness as some kind of Lakes-Dales hybrid where you tend not to find lots of people. Today was the day!

Beginning of the protracted hike-a-bike

Parking up in Sedburgh, its not long before the hike-a-bike begins, as height is rapidly gained. The weather over this side of the country was supposed to be nicer, but there was still a strong, cold easterly making the going hard. I walked up the last section with a group of four walkers who were doing the Dales High Way, and had been battered by the wind all week on the fells.

Height is gained rapidly
The views are amazing
Finally at the top of the Howgills on The Calf

On top at last, there was a promise of endless sweet singletrack descending Bowderdale. And there was. Some of it was a bit narrow, meaning extra care had to be taken to avoid clipping the pedals on the side. Some of it was a bit steep-sided, so the penalty for mistakes would be a tumble to the river. Amazing scenery, and after leaving the walkers behind on the top, not a soul in sight.

Miles of singletrack stretching ahead down the valley
Looking back to the descent
Almost out of Bowderdale

All good things must come to an end, and eventually I arrived at Bowderdale village. Using the back roads and cycle track, I made my way around to Ravenstonedale, where Liz and I spend New Year this year – happy memories! I could even see Wildboar Fell, which we climbed in the snow on New Year’s Day!

Strange clouds to the NE
Views back to Ravenstonedale
Roadie steepness on the way towards Adamthwaite

From Ravenstonedale the route takes the dead-end road towards Adamthwaite, taking the bridleway off towards Murthwaite. From here there is a succession of beautiful singletrack heading up then down all the way back to Sedburgh. 

I was up above that a few hours ago
Beautiful woodland singletrack

A long, hard mountain route, but given how dry it has been, conditions were perfect.

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