River Rawthey and Uldale Force

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Perhaps I should say something about the meticulous planning which goes into my post-work, evening walks; indeed into all of my walks. Since it was almost two months ago, I can’t recall this in exact detail but it goes a little something like this:

Me: “Oh, none of the kids need ferrying around tomorrow do they, I could go for a walk after work.”

TBH: “You could.”

Since we will have been either already in bed at this point, or on the way there, I won’t have done anything about this nascent plan. The following morning, on my way out of the door, possibly even on time for once, I remembered the projected walk and hastily grabbed a few bits and pieces – a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, some shoes, my rucksack which hopefully would have my waterproofs in it, my camera, a water bottle, maybe a packet of nuts and a collection of maps. The maps are a constant – OL7, OL2, OL19 and OL41 – my way of keeping my options open, or, to put it another way, of putting off making a decision.

On this particular occasion, I still hadn’t made up my mind when work finished. I asked a colleague in the staffroom, who I know to be a keen walker herself:

“Where should I go for a walk this evening: Lakes, Dales, Howgills or Bowland?”

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So it was that I found myself pulling into the the little car-park near Rawthey Bridge on the eastern side of the Howgills, with the intention of having a walk up to Cautley Spout, but when it dawned on me that the east facing slopes of the Howgills had already seen the last of the sun for the day, I decided to head the other way instead.

I took the old road (seen above), above the River Rawthey, across the slopes of Bluecaster and into Uldale.

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I had the idea that I would follow the river all the way up onto Baugh Fell, which I’ve never climbed before. But my plans are always fluid – I’d also wondered whether it might be possible to divert into Whin Stone Gill and follow that up towards Swarth Fell.

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These waterfalls put me off that plan however. That second fall could probably be scrambled, but it looked wet and vegetated and not the least bit inviting.

So: carry on up the Rawthey. This little fall….

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…looks like it might be a bit off an impasse, but in fact there’s a well used path which goes around to the right here, just above the rocks on the edge of the photo.

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Just above there is Uldale Force, which deserves to be better known than I suspect it is. It’s a fair sized waterfall, and the cliff curves around to either side for quite a way. I’m not sure that my photos really do it justice. I used to come this way up onto Wild Boar Fell quite often and I always wondered whether this was a collapsed cave.

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Again, this can be circumvented on the right, although the ground is very steep, and if I had the kids with me I would go back first and then up, if that makes sense.

I followed the Rawthey a little further but the sky had clouded over and my enthusiasm was waning: perhaps a 10 mile round trip on Baugh Fell was a bit ambitious for an evening? Besides – Holland were playing Argentina in the semi-final. I climbed up to the path which would take me down past Uldale House and to the minor road which I don’t seem to have entirely squeezed into the map below.

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I was home in time for the second half, despite dithering for a good 15 minutes on the way down, trying fruitlessly in the poor light to photograph a pair of grey wagtails.

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River Rawthey and Uldale Force

9 thoughts on “River Rawthey and Uldale Force

  1. I watched the whole Holland/Argentina game and would far rather have been walking those slopes and falls. Beautiful. So much still to see. Isn’t life wonderful!

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      “So much still to see. Isn’t life wonderful!”
      Cantankerous old curmudgeon though I am, I hope that’s pretty much the manifesto for my blog.
      Cheers Simon!

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      A walk this way and to Wild Boar Fell is a great – there are no paths for much of it, so progress can be slow and the ground between the Rawthey and Swarth Fell (something Moss, Holme Moss?) is extremely wet. I used to come down via Sand Tarn and over the limestone area below that – Hen Cloud?
      No – I checked the map: Holmes Moss and Fell End Clouds. But the walk I did is also a good one.

  2. I won’t have enough time to visit this wonderful place on my next trip to Cumbria. fortunately I travel the Lakes in a different way thanks to your blog.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Thanks David. There’s so much of the Lakes to explore and this is a long way off the beaten track. Enjoy your next visit!

  3. I’ve definitely done part of this walk with you and some of your teacher friends many years back – just after we’d come back from the Ecrins I think. I remember it as fine walk by the waterfalls and this trip confirms it

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Yes – it was with Chris and Ruth, I remembered it when you reminded me. It’s a storming area – I need to go back again. When would be a good time do you think?

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