Hare Shaw, Uldale Head and Blease Fell

Walk date – 31st March 2024

Distance – 8.4 miles

Weather – sunny and dry, fair weather cloud, gusty east wind


A good weather day on Easter Sunday usually means a very busy day on the Lake District fells with all the attendant parking difficulties so we opted for a walk over some of the Howgill fells today. The Howgill fells don’t attract the huge numbers of visitors on a holiday weekend that the Lake District does which makes it an ideal place to walk in relative solitude and simply enjoy the peace and quiet. A short drive takes us from the Eden Valley down the A6 to Shap and from there through Orton and on to Tebay where we began today’s walk. Not many folk around in Tebay this morning, probably the result of the clocks going forward an hour, so we parked up easily, gathered up our stuff and started out for a very enjoyable day in The Howgills.


Tebay – Waskew Head – Weather Hill – Knott – Hare Shaw – Archer Moss – Uldale Head – Blease Fell – Powson Knott – Tebay

From our parking spot at the bottom of the hill we begin by walking up the tarmac access lane while keeping a lookout for the path which will take us over to the farm at Waskew Head. All is quiet back there in Tebay, is everyone having a lie-in this morning?

On the access track to Waskew Head farm now and we have reached the old bridge crossing Tebaygill Beck. The track, which begins with tarmac but eventually turns rough, stony and deeply rutted, leads eventually up to …..

….. Waskew Head farm. Whether it is a working farm or not we don’t know but the whole place is in a bit of a state. If you zoom in and look on the left side of the shot, next to the tree is a building minus its roof and with only the one gable end wall still standing. We couldn’t get a close look at the farmhouse but the assorted nearby buildings looked very ramshackle and run down and the open land around them was full of old vehicles and vehicle parts. The access path we were using passes by the gate to the farm and on the gate was a large notice letting passers-by know that it was private property and asking them to keep out. Its a very odd place indeed. We’ve just left the main path, which continues on into Eller Gill between Hare Shaw and Rispa Pike, and begin making our way up Weather Hill. There were several quad bike tracks leading from the path but it doesn’t really matter which one is chosen as it eventually becomes clear which one leads over to Knott as the next photo shows.

Walking over Weather Hill with Knott and Hare Shaw in the distance.

The view back along Weather Hill as we head towards Knott. The walk across reminded me very much of the walk across The Pen up to Loadpot Hill. It has the same sort of open terrain, quad bike tracks over rough grassland, with plenty of boggy bits, which rises steadily up to its eventual high point.

From Knott a look ahead towards the next high point which is Hare Shaw.

Looking westward from Knott. Across the middle foreground are the lower slopes of Blease Fell which will be our return route today. Between us and them is Tebay Gill and on the skyline are, from L to R, Whinfell Beacon, Old High and the tree covered slopes of Mabbin Crag.

From Knott we carry on up to Hare Shaw. We are gradually becoming more windblown as we gain height and lose the protection of the higher fells to the east of us.

Still following the quad bike trail up to Hare Shaw with the lower slopes of the fells below Fell Head beginning to put in an appearance.

Looking back towards Knott as we reach the summit plateau of Hare Shaw.

The view westward from the summit cairn on Hare Shaw. With the sun backlighting the fells to the west there was no point in trying for any shots in that direction. It was also very windy up here so we didn’t linger.

A look over towards Blease Fell as we leave the summit area of Hare Shaw and keep a lookout for any hint of a path down over Archer Moss.

A look back at Hare Shaw while J studies  …..

….. the lay of the land between us and Uldale Head. We can clearly see the quad bike trail over to Uldale Head but there’s no clear track that we can see over on this side.

There being no clear route that we could spot we used a mix of sheep trods and drier grassy areas to make our way down. I took this shot of Rispa Pike as we were descending.

After crossing the very wet area between Blease Fell and the lower slopes of Uldale Head we are back on the quad bike trail and making our way up to Uldale Head. These lower slopes are blocking the gusty east wind and the climb up in the warm sunshine soon has us unzipping our jackets. Here’s a look back at Blease Fell, with Greyrigg just behind it. The M6 passes between the two fells but its not visible in the photo.

Blease Fell (L) and Hare Shaw (R) are way behind us now as we continue the climb up to Uldale Head. In strong sun and still protected from the wind we grow steadily hotter until …..

….. we reach the airy summit of Uldale Head where the east wind makes its presence felt again and where I’m having trouble keeping my balance as I take a few shots from the summit.

A cloud shadow moving rapidly across Rispa Pike as the strong wind pushes the clouds along …..

….. a close up of one of the deep gills the Howgills are noted for. On the left of the gill is Docker Knott with Simon’s Seat right behind it. Docker Knott continues on to Over Sale, Simon’s Seat continues on to Weathercalf Moss, and both trails eventually lead up to Breaks Head. The fell in the distance, behind the col, is Hazelgill Knott. On the extreme right of the skyline is Yarlside …..

….. the view over to Hand Lake with shaded Middleton just behind it. West Fell forms the bulk of the skyline …..

….. Yarlside is now over on the left and the rest of the skyline is taken up by the ridge line leading to Bush Howe and Fell Head. That’s where the two routes from Docker Knott and Simon’s Seat lead to, which I mentioned previously, …..

….. Bush Howe and Fell Head and between the two are more of the Howgills characteristic deep gullies. The path below us leads down to Blakethwaite Bottom and then up to Docker Knott …..

….. Fell Head and more deep gullies followed by …..

….. more deep gullies on Fell Head’s lower slopes …..

….. and finally, the view west across Greyrigg and Blease Fell from Uldale Head’s summit cairn. Having had a good look around we are now thoroughly wind blown so we dropped down back along the path to a little sheltered shelf of land we had noticed on the way up to have a break and something to eat. As we were downing our packs and getting settled a solo walker and his dog also came along and we exchanged greetings. He carried on his way, we settled down with sandwiches and coffee and spent the next twenty minutes or so doing nothing but eating sarnies, drinking coffee and …..

….. admiring the view below, although this shot was taken after our break when we were much lower down. The hazy fells on the distant skyline are, to the left of the v shaped notch, the Coniston fells, while to the right of the notch is the group of fells which includes Scafell Pike, Bowfell and Great End. AW detailed all of those in his Book 4 and placed them in his Southern Group. A zoom in will show Great Gable appearing over to the right of the southern group.

Blease Fell and Hare Shaw are back in view as we descend the lower slopes and make our way over to …..

….. the very wettest part of Archer Moss. Liquid water rather than just squelchy or boggy vegetation, so finding the best way across is a matter of deciding how much wet you can tolerate. We walked some distance over to the right before we found a spot to cross, even then we ended up with wet boots.

Climbing the slopes of Blease Fell now so I took a look over towards Uldale Head, on the left, with Fell Head right behind it.

The summit cairn on Blease Fell and the great view along the Lune gorge through which pass, in chronological order, the river Lune, the railway line and the M6. We’re back in the gusty east wind again.

Greyrigg and the M6 from Blease Fell top.

The fabulous view below us.

Looking back to Fell Head from Blease Fell top.

The M6 below us, the telecomms mast on Greyrigg over on the left, the tree covered Mabbin Crag to the right of centre and just above that is the top of Great Gable with Ill Bell’s top prominent to the right of it.

Leaving Blease Fell summit with a sunlit Hare Shaw alongside us.

Looking back to Uldale Head from the fenced off area although why its fenced off I have no idea.

This is always an enjoyable section, a good tramp down towards Powson Knott in the sunshine.

A look back up at our route down Blease Fell where we met a couple of walkers on their way up. A zoom in will show them heading up the path.

A look along the other Borrowdale as we’re passing by.

Still tramping down and now heading towards a sunny Powson Knott.

Beyond Powson Knott now and heading towards Roger Howe. Before the path forks across Roger Howe, over to the left and with a zoom in, it might be possible to spot a tiny dark speck in the distance.

It is a small and well constructed cairn which has a numbered, metal plate on top …..

….. on which the number is marked. What its original purpose was we don’t know for sure but one possible explanation could be that it was used as a surveying point when the route of railway, or the M6, was being planned. We don’t have an explanation other than that. The cairn itself is certainly quite old and built in a traditional style and is situated on the western side of the fell.

Looking back at the fell ponies grazing the slopes of Powson Knott.

A longer view of Powson Knott and the fell ponies as we cross Roger Howe.

The view to the north as we walk down the tarmac lane back to Tebay. The M6 winds its way past what we call Hill 401, that’s the heather clad fell over towards the left, with the green slopes of Crosby Ravensworth Fell just in front of it. The car is parked towards the bottom of the hill so that’s the end of today’s walk and what a lovely day of weather we’ve had to do it in. We were in two minds whether to do this walk on Sunday or wait until Monday, so we’re relieved that we opted for Easter Sunday because today, Easter Monday, despite the forecast for the good weather to continue, the overcast skies and rain showers have returned and the rest of the coming week isn’t looking very promising either. Ah well, its been a good day and its a lovely drive back home along quiet country lanes where a cuppa is always on the menu.