Wednesday 27th April 2022 - Blease Fell from Tebay
It is 8:15 a.m. I have just arrived in Tebay wearing shorts motivated by a balmy, warm spring day yesterday signalling time for me to put long trousers into hibernation but I have been sandbagged. My car gadgetry tells me it is only 2 degrees outside. There is no hurry and I remain cocooned in the comfy warm car and steal a cup of coffee from my flask at the risk of depriving myself later.
I am here to break new ground on a venture into the northern edge of the Howgills and see what I can see. The Old School is opposite my car and I wonder about its history because of a blocked up arch in the gable end.
Back home I have just Googled hoping for some academic treatise on that architecture. I find that this is now a guest house and it has more first page entries from every accommodation website anybody has ever heard of, and after five pages I gave up - no mention of its potentially interesting erstwhile life.
Off I plod up a tarmac lane climbing steadily. At the farm of Tebaygill there is a significant example of corrugated iron architecture in the shape of a barn with a curved roof. Skilful use of that material can produce characterful buildings - this one is only hinting at that possibility, but enough to catch my attention. They are obviously much prone to rust which I guess is a problem for their owners, but something I find attractive with that vibrant colouration.
The tarmac gives way to a rough rocky old lane and the surrounding terrain is that of tussocky pale green and fading yellow grass. No heather on this upland, and as I branch off on a quad bike track to follow the high ground walking is easy. The gradient is steady allowing for non-stop ascent so that when I eventually stop to look behind the view is surprisingly dramatic. I am looking down the long undulating slope back to Tebay, and off to my left I can see the M6 threading through the Lune gorge. The cars are like ants and I wonder if their journeys are more purposeful than those of the industrious insects.
Further on I get a new elevated view looking up the whole length of Borrowdale (not the Lake District one) and I can even see through to the old A6 Shap road. Borrowdale is one of my favourite locations. I discovered it years ago by chance rather than recommendation from elsewhere. One's own discovery from exploration is part of the raison d'être for for this business of walking and absorbing the landscape.
My furthest south finds a jolly little cairn of white stones on Blease Fell, located to obtain the best view of the Lune gorge with it eponymous river, the railway and the M6 all fighting for space. Further to the left I am looking into the heart of the Howgills with Carlin Gill prominent and the deep cleft of Black Force. That was the scene of an exciting day with Bowland climber in September 2019 CLICK HERE
I spend a while looking at the contrast of timeless hill country against modern intervention thrusting and intruding. I move to slightly higher ground following my GPS eventually having its cursor over the Ordnance Survey spot height on the map ( 474m.)
Quad bike track has to be vacated for a cross country trek over mildly tussocky terrain to soon join another track leading to Hare Shaw (472m.) Once one has gained height in the Howgills many subsequent summits can be visited by gentle ascents.
From Hare Shaw it is downhill all the way back to Tebay, but I stop halfway for a sandwich, coffee and nibbles. Up until then my hands have been cold even with a pair of modest gloves but at last the sun has made some impression, so much so that I find I have extended my lunch stop by nodding off for a while. There has been nobody about all the way - all is peace, and the only sound comes from the odd skylark.
Well that's some more new and worthwhile ground explored and my early start has left time to make a long promised visit further north to my friend Gimmer, who comments here, we have known each other from schooldays, I shy at saying exactly how many years ago!
The Old School (guesthouse now) with the record number of accommodation first page entries in Google I have ever come across, I gave up after five pages.
|Ty[ical of much of hill country scenery. Perhaps the advent of quad bikes has reduced the need for storage facilities and the like in the more remote parts of these sheep rearing hill farms|
|Extensive tree planting in Tebay Gill|
|The quad bike track now left for a less well defined version|
|Walking was on an easy gradient and I was feeling fit and it was longer than usual before I stopped to look back at my outward route surprising me by its extent|
|Borrowdale. The light was dingy. This could be a better photo on a day of more amenable weather|
|This unsightly stuff carried on over a few hundred yards. If it had been effective for the quad bikes I suppose it might have some justification but it was apparent that such was not the case.|
|This and next - the Lune Gorge and the M6, Blease Fell cairn in the foreground, and next but one looking to the left...|
|...into the heart of the Howgills - Csrlin Gill and Black Force. This one for BC|
|On the way back. That must be the Solway in the distance|