Western Howgills

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Saunterings:  Walking in North-West England

Saunterings is a set of reflections based upon walks around the counties of Cumbria, Lancashire and North Yorkshire in North-West England (as defined in the Preamble). Here is a list of all Saunterings so far.
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49.  Lingmoor Fell - For the Best Medium-High View in Lakeland?

I have another question (after the one in Sauntering 43), this time one that any self-respecting follower of Wainwright should be able to answer: Which of his medium-high tops (to be precise, let’s say lower than 500 metres) enables you to see more of the other 213 tops than any other medium-high top?  Imagine that you have a friend who is not a fell-walker and doesn’t want to walk too high but wants to conquer one Wainwright top and to see, from that top, as many of the rest as possible. Where would you advise her to walk?

I haven’t given away the answer in the title because Lingmoor Fell is in fact second on the list of ‘medium-high fells with the most tops in view’. While you’re pondering over what is first on the list we’ll saunter up Lingmoor Fell. The fell is a rather sprawling area of ground that reaches 469 metres at its highest point of Brown How. It lies between Little Langdale and Great Langdale. We, however, did not tackle Lingmoor Fell from the central parts of either dale but from the village of Elterwater that lies at the foot of Great Langdale.

The reason for adopting this direction of approach is simple: this way, the best views would be gradually revealed ahead of us. On the walk up we saw Little Langdale Tarn, Wetherlam and Swirl How, and then the Pike of Blisco – and finally the sweeping amphitheatre of Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes. It was a little hazy on the day of our walk, so we could not see everything to perfection. We could not, for example, see Blencathra at all. However, we could make out a snow-dappled Scafell Pike to the left of Bowfell (which itself had a few dabs of snow), plus Loughrigg Fell, Red Screes, Fairfield and Helvellyn.
Brown How

Towards Brown How on Lingmoor Fell, with Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes beyond

Brown How2

The view from Brown How, Lingmoor Fell

I had anticipated that Langdale walkers would be attracted to the celebrated peaks, leaving the relatively unsung Lingmoor Fell to us. However, there were a fair number of people on its slopes, including several children and at least four grandparents. No doubt, families staying in Langdale find Lingmoor Fell a not-too-taxing challenge, as did we, although our walk back along the Cumbria Way through Langdale, on a warm day, proved a bit longer than necessary – but then every extra minute spent in this scenery is a bonus.

The other surprise on Lingmoor Fell was the view of the paths on surrounding hills. We couldn’t see any. My memory is that the path up, for example, The Band to Bowfell formed a wide, prominent, ugly scar but from Lingmoor Fell we could see no sign of it. The Fix the Fells path-repairers are clearly doing sterling work, ensuring that, from a distance at least, the fells look as they should, as if no human had ever set foot on them.

I am about to reveal – suspenseful pause, roll of the drums – the answer to my question, after these photos.

Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and Mickleden from the slopes of Lingmoor Fell


The Langdale Pikes

According to the description of the fells’ views by Wainwright – and who better to rely upon? – the lower-than-500m fell that provides a view of the most other tops (55) is Great Crag. Even our dedicated Wainwright followers may have difficulty in pinpointing where this unimaginatively-named top is. It is, in fact, in Borrowdale. For your delectation, here is the top ten:
	 1.	Great Crag (440m)	  55
	 2.	Lingmoor Fell (469m)	  52
	 3.	Latrigg (368m)		  48
	 4.	Barrow (455m)		  47
	 5.	Binsey (447m)		  46
	 6.	Walla Crag (379m)	  45
	 7.	Catbells (451m)		  44
	 8.	Grange Fell (392m)	  43
	 9.	Loughrigg Fell (335m)	  43
	10.	Armboth Fell (479m)	  42
However, quantity isn’t all that matters: we must consider quality too. It might be argued – and I would – that Lingmoor Fell provides the best medium-high view because it provides the finest platform from which to admire the Langdale Pikes, the Pikes, of course, providing an iconic image of Lakeland second only perhaps to the classic view of Great Gable and Scafell Pike from Wasdale.

    Date: April 17th 2019
    Start: NY332048, near Elterwater  (Maps: OL7, OL6)
    Route: SW, S, SW, W – Bield Crag – NW – Brown How on Lingmoor Fell – NW – below Side Pike – N, E, E on Cumbria Way – Elterwater
    Distance: 7 miles;   Ascent: 390 metres

The two following items:
     51.   On Wild Boar Fell
     50.   With the Lune from Kirkby Lonsdale
The two preceding items:
     48.   With The Grane
     47.   The 'Wild Desert' of Kingsdale
Two nearby items:
   141.   In and Out of the Lake District, in the Ennerdale Region
       9.   "The Prettiest Mere of All" Lakeland
A list of all items so far:

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    © John Self, Drakkar Press, 2018-


Top photo: The western Howgills from Dillicar; Bottom photo: Blencathra from Great Mell Fell