Tag Archives: crook

Crook

Crook

It may not be a mountain worthy of conquer; in fact standing at only 450 metres it is little more than a hillock compared to its nearest companions. But Crook, in the Howgills, does stand out as something of an outsider on the southern fringe of this lovely range of fells.

In terms of reaching it, the bugbear is that Crook sits a little way back from the well-trodden path of the Dales High Way, and the detour to it from Winder is downhill. Personally, Crook isn’t really on the way to anywhere I tend to aim for, and whilst it may be a good run out for anyone who has a dog to exercise and fancies contouring around Winder, it’s not much of a conquest for somebody who thrives on serious challenges…

But, then again, maybe that’s its secret and what makes it a challenge in itself… it may be small but does it just beg to be climbed?

I always find that Winder alone gives me a day’s worth of climbing: from 150 metres straight up to 473 metres. That calf-burning ascent sets the tone for most of my Howgills hikes; it certainly blows away the cobwebs and makes me feel alive, but then again on a bad day it has been known to make me feel short of life… certainly short of breath! (LOL)

Once up at Winder’s double trig point, it’s decision time… Hiking hours are limited and the Dales High Way, which to me has become the metaphorical motorway to the centre of the Howgills, lies ahead. From Winder I often look up at the higher fells – Arant Haw, Calders, the Calf and more of those that comprise my normal playground – and I cannot resist their draw. There’s simply too much great hiking up there and beyond to consider spending time on a detour to the little peak below me and to the right. It’s so near yet so far, and has become like an itch that will never get scratched, until today…

Light is an issue; I do the maths and I have started my hike too late in the day. I could get to the Calf (676m) and home before dusk at a push, but then again I did that several days ago. Now, with the sunlight reflecting off Crook’s mighty cairn to my right, I figure I should write off the idea of a monster hike and give that itch a long-overdue scratch!

As it happens, in the few days since my last visit to the Calf I haven’t been out much, and as always Winder is an accurate gauge of my recent lack of activity. That steep climb is tough, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The wind on my sweaty brow cools me down quickly once I reach the windswept peak. I can see the cairn of Crook, standing proud, and wonder how people actually get across there. There is no path heading that way from Winder, which is another reason for hikers simply to keep plodding on along the Dales High Way and not give Crook a second glance.

However, being familiar with the walk from Winder to Arant Haw, I have passed a point many times that seems to offer the simplest – though path-free – access route to Crook. So today is the day to try it! I head over Winder’s summit and down the well-trodden path until, mid-way between Winder and Arant Haw, I simply turn right and make a beeline through the thick undergrowth to my goal for the day.

It is boggy and my fell shoes, which were dry two minutes ago, quickly become saturated. This little hillock – yes, damn you that is all you are – has that little sting in its tail…

It doesn’t take too long before I’m there. Crook’s cairn, which can be seen from the road below, is quite imposing, nay, huge! While I sit eating a sandwich, followed by a coffee and of course a token smoke of the pipe (this peak isn’t quite worthy of a celebratory pipe!), I wonder who on earth built this cairn up to the size it is today, and what its history could be?
Despite my online research, I will probably never know…

It hasn’t been the most challenging of hikes. More of a Sunday afternoon wander. But hey ho, each time I now pass that little summit on my way to higher, more challenging areas of the Howgills, I can look across and wave to the little peak that made my feet wet late on that autumn afternoon. That little peak that had become an irritation for so long, the itch that was scratched… I now have the measure of it!

This post was edited by the lovely Jennifer Lyon whose travel blog can be found by clicking here.

Simon Duringer is an award-winning blogger, interviewer and author. His own books can be found on Amazon too by clicking any of the following icons…