The Howgills and Limestone Trail is a 76 mile long-distance walk from Kirkby Stephen to Settle through this picturesque and, in parts, demanding area of Cumbria and North Yorkshire – with a short diversion into Lancashire.
It draws its inspiration from Alfred Wainwright’s Walks in Limestone Country andWalks in the Howgill Fells.
The route has strong associations with railways. It passes over the spectacular Smardale Gill viaduct, and close to the Stainmore Railway, the disused Ingleton and Tebay Railway, and the Settle–Carlisle railway.
The Trail passes through basically the same area, between Kirkby Stephen and Settle, as that of the latter stages of the Pennine Journey route . However, apart from a few hundred yards above Ingleton Falls, it takes an entirely different route but shares many of the Journey’s staging posts.
Whereas the Pennine Journey arrives in Sedbergh via the Eden and Rawthey valleys, the Trail gets there via the Howgills and the Lune valley. A short rural stretch through Ireby into Ingleton is preceded by the high ground of Middleton Fell and the pot-holing country close to Barbon.
The two routes cross on Ingleborough and again in Horton in Ribblesdale with the Trail’s final day taking in an ascent of Penyghent before reaching the spectacular Catrigg Force after crossing the stepping stones of Stainforth Beck. Both routes coincide, and end, at Settle station.