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At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Monday, 7 March 2022

A secret gorge

 Sunday 6th March 2022  - Hebblewaite Hall Gill  (east of Sedbergh)

(n.b. Ordnance Survey has spelling for the gill as above and for the the Hall as Hebblethwaite)

At last I head north again after spending months combing the non-industrial parts of Lancashire on my OS Sheet 103 Blackburn and Burnley trig point campaign.

I stopped to buy lunchtime munchies at the Spa petrol station in Milnthorpe.

Down to The Madman diesel has gone from £1.51 per litre to £1.72! I suspect that it may continue to rise. A pity we can't reincarnate John Wilkes Booth and send him off east on a more appropriate mission. Back on the road my attitude to driving sobered and I progressed at a steady 60mph in the nearside lane. With the modest amount of mileage I do I suppose I can handle that increase, but on top of the overall energy increases along with almost everything else I can see some stricter economy will be needed. Goodness knows how the less well-off will cope.

However, what joy to be heading into the dales on a blue-sky-sunny-morning. I had researched a good lay-by for parking at Straight Bridge and a short plod up the road had me off onto a track heading for Hebblethwaite Hall. A sign informed me of a local campaign to encourage red squirrels. As I approached the hall, which I never saw, the footpath skirting round farm buildings hiding the residence, I saw a grey run across,  but no sign of reds. One sees many attempts at reintroductions and/or conservation of areas for a particular rarity of flora or fauna but it is an uphill task dictating to nature.

When I identified this circular walk I knew that the map showed no footpath crossing from one side of Hebblewaite Gill at the far end. I continued on a pleasant track through woods with dappled sunlight and the impressive gorge of Hebblewaite Gill far blow tumbling in lively fashion over mini waterfalls. The track descended to the gill as the enclosing walls became narrower and steeper. What was now only a path turned sharply to the left and I was confronted by the gill tumbling out of an even steeper gorge and, wow! a dramatic fifty foot limestone wall on the left. Possibility for progress following the gill  look doubtful. I was able to climb on steep grass up the side of the big wall. I found myself uncomfortably close to the edge as I skirted over the top. I continued to follow the gorge on higher ground. Eventually the steep sides eased off to some extent and I was able to descend and cross the stream to start my return journey on the other side.

Whilst the return was still enjoyable much of it crossed squelchy fields and more muddy patches and that feeling of untamed terrain on the outward journey was lost.

It was great to be back in those northern dales, especially with the bonus of a notable discovery. I can see another possibility here following part of the outward route then heading north, but it would involve passing through what was for me the notorious Birks farm where I had one of the most unpleasant landowner encounters ever, but being forewarned I reckon I would be able to avoid confrontation.


Red squirrels ahead - what chance?


This may be Hebblethwaite Hall. This building is located within a hundred yards or so of SD 690 932 but is not shown on the OS map. The wording "Hebblethwaite Hall" is shown, but does not relate to the farm complex shown further east on the map. This impressive house is obviously old enough to have qualified for inclusion on the mapping so it is all a bit of a mystery.

This is the farm complex I refer to in my account above, but I don't believe it is the site of the hall. I saw no sign of a hall as I skirted the farm buildings.

Track now descending lower into the gill

Round the corner and WOW!
I climbed up the side on steep grass then over the top where I found myself uncomfortably close to the edge

Looking back down into the gorge. I walked further on until steepness eased then descended and crossed

Sunlight on the Howgills

I followed Clough River back to where it joins the river Rawthey and my car

Presumably a marker stone for the Yorkshire West Riding boundary?

Start/finish at Straight Bridge left centre


  1. Well found, I've not seen any mention of that gorge before.
    While you are scrambling about, I'm walking daintily through nature reserves.

  2. BC - that limestone crag looked just possibly sound enough to climb on.I wonder if any of your various sources have given it a mention?

    The entry includes a photo similar to yours.

  4. BC - You would be hard put to find a NEW secret crag these days. Thanks for the research.

  5. You picked a grand walk and you have me stumped on the tractor. Well done on both.

  6. Hi Alan - have you seen my German model Lanz Bulldog (circa 1936/9) a couple of posts back?

    Good to hear from you and thanks for the compliments.

  7. Hi Conrad. No I missed it but will check it out. The tractor is a Lamborghini 754. I had to look it up in my bible. I’ve never seen one in the flesh. Shame it’s in poor condition. Thanks.

  8. Alan R - Phew! Glad your reputation remains intact. I thought I may have to return to photograph more detail. As it happens I have a related walk planned that will pass by the Lamborghini again. My model Lanz was a great pleasure to build, especially getting the weathered colours to look authentic, and the rust on its two (for want of a technical word) chimneys.

  9. Just been back to your post with the Lanz. Absolutely brilliant job you have made of it. The two chimneys, the front one is the exhaust with what looks like a spark arrestor in the middle so that they don't set the crops on fire and the other one is for the air cleaner.

  10. Great stuff, Conrad, that was a lovely little outing.

  11. Alan R - I hope the tractor isn't going to set my mantlepiece on fire!


    Phreerunner - When you look on the map to find a new route you are never sure how it will be on the ground. This one didn't disappoint.

  12. That's a walk packed with interest - i have had to go up the road from Sedbergh to Ravenstonedale or K Stephen a few times recently and always been impressed with the topography of the 'eastern' side of that valley - much to explore , even as the angles lessen on the flanks of Wild Boar Fell.
    The geology map shows a surface fault at the angle of the gill where (I guess) the cliff stands - it certainly looks like a fault exposure, maybe smoothed by glacial action , hence the clean vertical faces and apparently sound rock.
    The Hall is indeed that farmhouse, not the (?) Victorian pile - quite long history - but very much altered and 'restored' , particularly in the C's 18&19th, so now looks much like many of the apparently ramshackle upland farmsteads of the area.
    Away from the volcanism of the Lakes, this area looks to have a more interesting and intimate character than much of the Pennines - the map shows a mass of faults and intrusions at the lower levels before rising to the plainer uplands, like the your gill and its hinterland - so should be plenty of interesting walks all the way, not only for the geologist !

  13. gimmer - It's interesting and gratifying to note that a particular post can appeal to various commenters from different angles. Thanks for the geology lesson.

  14. I was interested in that cliff and the contrast with the slope on the other side - the rock didn't look like the typical water eroded limestone of the Pennines - the info is all in the public domain (I failed the ultimate geology test when I was offerred a sackful of lumps of stone and didn't recognise them as prime lapislazuli - so bought only one small piece !)

  15. gimmer - ah well! lapislazuli is only defined as SEMI-precious.

  16. yes maybe - but a sackful would have made up for the missing carats! and anyway, it is more useful than gemstones: i was put off by the guy saying it had gold in it - which my test showed to be false (gold) - the rest was thus not history. To plagiarise and contradict Elliot , one can be too careful some days.