FOR a 'top of the world' feeling climb six summits on the northern Howgill Fells, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. This linear walk makes use of the Western Dales Bus, a community venture run entirely by volunteers. The walk should not be undertaken in adverse weather conditions and even in good visibility it requires the use of a map and compass.

Travel to Ravenstonedale by car - or bus from Kirkby Stephen - and catch the 9.41 or 11.51 Western Dales S5 (Thursdays only) bus to Wath. Start walking from the A685 junction to Bowderdale and Wath, map reference NY 683 050, nearest postcode CA17 4LX.

Instead of navigating yourself you could join me on Friday, May 11, on a guided walk with transport provided from Kendal. This walk is one of 20 events in the three-day Kendal Walking Festival. For further information about the festival and to book a place visit


Distance: 9.5 miles with 2,200 feet of ascent

Time: 5.5 hours

Terrain: open moorland

Maps: OS Explorer OL19.


1 From the A685 junction walk down to below the flyover and onto the lane signed Scar Sikes. Keep straight on where the track bends left and walk up a stony track, continuing southwards. The track becomes grassy on the way and follows the line of a fence on the left. Follow the path up to the summit of Hooksey. This is a long steady three-mile climb involving 1,100 feet of ascent.

2 Descend into a valley (Leathgill Bridge) and immediately go straight up the other steep side to Randygill Top. Both the descent and ascent are on steep grassy slopes. At 2,036 feet above sea level, this is the highest point of the walk. From the summit turn left and follow the path directly to Green Bell. Keep straight on to Knoutberry. From here, the summit of Knott can be seen directly ahead and Harter Fell to the right. The distance walked so far is five miles. The remainder of this walk involves one more climb (of Harter Fell) but it may be shortened from here: it’s just over two miles to Ravenstonedale down a footpath via Wyegarth Gill and Kilnmire.

3 To continue the walk, head due east to Knott, keeping to the right of a fence. At the summit of Knott turn right and descend south eastwards to the left side of a road bridge in the valley below. For a second chance to shorten the walk turn left and follow the road to Ravenstonedale. To climb Harter Fell turn right, cross the bridge and follow the road up to the top of the slope. Turn left on a grassy track leading to the summit (total distance 6.5 miles).

4 From the summit turn left and walk generally northwards. There is no footpath so pick the best route avoiding boggy areas (beware of hidden holes) initially using a distant tarn as a visual reference. Lower down the slope turn to the left (west) around the side of a fenced area and cross Par Gill at the safest place you can find near a headland 50 yards south of the fence. Ascend steeply to meet the road. Turn right and follow the road into Ravenstonedale. Pronounced 'Russendl' in local dialect, this unspoilt picturesque village contains many attractive historic buildings, including two pubs.

Next week: Ratherheath and Cowan Head

NB: restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.