BB1026 : The Smardale Round

Thursday 1st July 2010


No, I hadnít heard of it either.  I knew I hadnít misheard Mardale because that had been our original plan.  Or to be more precise, to do the circuit of Haweswater partly with the intention of seeing how much of the old village of Mardale was now visible in the draught. However, when I looked at the morningís forecast on the BBC dynamic weather map it was clear that over the Lake District it would be a draught alleviating day but there would be little area east of the M6 and north of the Howgills that would be substantially dry. Bryan was tasked with coming up with a suitable route whilst I headed off to the closing down sale at our local garden centre.

Plant pots purchased to Margaretís satisfaction, and with Stan now picked up, we arrived at Bryan's to be told that Smardale was to be our destination.

Actually we parked at Newbiggin-on-Lune, a nice but strangely not photogenic little hamlet just off the A685.  

After passing through Friarís Bottom (somehow that doesnít look or sound quite right) we got our first glimpse of Smardale.

The first thing that struck us was that the sheep had been shawn.

In the lakes, sheering seems to be a thing of the past- presumably because the cost outweighs any return on the harsh wool of the herdwicks.  

Here it was a different matter. Rather than straggly unkempt looking creatures the ewes were boasting proud haircuts.

A Shawn Sheep

Smardale Bridge

Smardale viaduct

It was clear that there used to be a railway running through the valley- the viaduct was still there for all to see..  What was less clear was how it then progressed westwards to Tebay.  

The railway followed the upper line of trees

Once we worked it out, we continued over Smardale Fell, with Mallerstang Edge peering ominously over the horizon,  

Mallerstang Edge

We were, for a while, on a very well signposted section of the Oust to Coast Walk and dropped down under the Settle to Carlisle line into the village of Smardale, past the old hall.

Coast to Coast

Smardale Hall

In its day, Smardale must have been a trainspotterís paradise with the Settle to Carlisle line passing over the now defunct North Eastern Railway line.  Smardale even had its own railway station, now smartly converted into a modern house.

Smardale Station

Signalman's washing?

After crossing the ford at Scandal Beck we soon arrived at Crosby Garrett where, in the centre of the village was a conveniently located bus shelter with benches where we could take our lunch sheltered from what was a strengthening wind.

Settle to Carlisle line viaduct

Crosby Garrett Bus and Lunch Shelter

Comitibus: Scandal Beck ford

St Andrew's Church

Crosby Garret looked a pleasant village with a stream running through the middle, St Andrew's Church high on the hill and many newly renovated buildings.  

Not all had had the renovation treatment however!

After lunch we followed old lanes eastward

I do like these old lanes, there is a sense of history in them- you wonder about the folk that have travelled them generations before.

TLC needed

Old lane number one

Old lane number two

We crossed a high meadow to reach Potts Valley- Potts itself being a now ruined farmhouse.

Upper Potts Valley

Great Ewe Fell, Howgills behind

Lower Potts Valley

Progress up the valley was hampered by what was a strong, but thankfully not cold, headwind from the south.  

Emerging out onto the fell we could see the Lake District and the Howgills covered with clouds.  The air was damp- it was almost as if the wind was bringing us spray from the nearby rain showers.  Yet at the same time, the sun was shining and we were worried that we had not creamed up!

We summited Great Ewe Fell, as much as anything so that we could say we had climbed something, then dropped down, rejoining the Coast to Coast path, past Bents Farm, via Brownber, under the old railway and back to Newbiggin.

Tower House, Brownber

The Old Railway Bridge

It had been an interesting walk in limestone country, indeed it could easily have made a section of the Westmorland Way.  And it was quite the most successful place to be in terms of weather.

Don, 1st July 2010


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1st July 2010

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:




Other Features:

Smardale, Great Ewe Fell

Wainwright Countdown:

Don & Stan: 6, Bryan: 7 (all unchanged)


Bryan, Don, Stan

If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1026.

To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights see: BB Log.



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BOOT boys

This page describes an adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as often as possible!

As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.

As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an item of footwear but is in memory of Big Josie, the erstwhile landlady of the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day 1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!

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Home Page










2010 Outings

BB1001 :
The Most Perfect
 Winter Day
Thursday 7th January

BB1002 :
 Potter Fell
Thursday 14th January

BB1003 :
A Snowy Equipment Test

Thursday 21st January

BB1004 :
Leave It To The Professionals

Thursday 28th January

BB1005 :
That's A Lyth Record
Sunday 31st January 

BB1006 :
Reasons To Be Cheerful
One, Two, Three
Thursday 11th February

BB1007 :
Can You See Clearly Now?
Thursday 18th February

BB1008 :
In Memory Of
Thomas Williamson
Thursday 25th February

BB1009 :
Almost a Mountaineer!
Wednessday 3rd March

BB1010 :
The Beginning Of The End
Thursday 11th March

BB1011 :
The Free Men on Tuesday
Tuesday 16th March

BB1012 :
We'll Get Them In Singles,
Thursday 25th March

BB1013 :
The Fools on the Hill
Thursday 1st April

BB1014 :
The Windmills on the Moor
Wednesday 7th April

BB1015 :
By Lake, Ridge and Wainwright
Sunday 11th April

BB1016 :
The Ten Lake Tour (+5Ws)
Thursday 15th April

BB1017 :
The BessyBOOT
Thursday 22nd April

BB1018 :
The Kentmere Challenge
Saturday 24th April

BB1019 :
Winter in Springtime
Thursday 14th May

BB1020 :
Red Screes and Sausages
Thursday 20th May

BB1021 :
The Mile High Club
Thursday 27th May

BB1022 :
What A Difference A Day Makes
Thursday 3rd June

BB1023 :
Something Brutal
Thursday 10th June

BB1024 :
Rendezvous on Haycock
Thursday 17th June

BB1025 :
The Men of Gragareth
Thursday 24th June

BB1026 :
The Smardale Round
Thursday 1st July

BB1027 :
Don't Shun The Shunner!
Thursday 8th July




BSB2010 :
boys in Zillertal
Saturday 30th January
to Saturday 6th February

 Click on the photos
for an enlargement
or related large picture.







To see which Wainwright top was visited on which
BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?.

To download a log of heights and miles and which Wainwrights have been done by which BOOTboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of BOOTboys
click on BB Log.

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!