The closest hills to Lancaster are the Bowland fells, and whilst we go there plenty enough for runs and bimbles, we don’t often make a full day out of it. My Mum and Dad were coming up to Lancaster for the day on Wednesday 11 December, and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore a valley I’d been looking at on the map for quite some time. Namely Langden, rising from the Trough of Bowland just-north of Dunsop Bridge.
The day was one of those cold, crisp and clear winter days, and despite the sunshine a biting wind reminded us it definitely wasn’t summer. A good track leads up alongside Langden Brook for a few miles, before reaching the site of “Langden Castle (ruin)” (as marked on the map). The castle turned out not to be a castle at all, but a small stone building that definitely wasn’t in ruins. After a spot of lunch, we worked our way south-westwards on a good path that traversed its way up Fiensdale before throwing us out onto the expansive moorland at the top of Fiensdale Head.
Fortunately, a fence was in place to guide us across the moor, and a vague path existed either side of it. A few flag stones were laid here-and-there, but for the most part we had to negotiate peat hags and vast bogs, which I have admit that I quite enjoy doing – I think for the same reason that I enjoy stupidly steep slopes, that “it’s a challenge”. The views aren’t amazing from up on the Bowland summits – they are too plateau-like for that – but you do get a real feeling of wilderness, despite being relatively close to civilisation. We descended via Bleadale and got back just about in the light.