Our first full day staying in Cartmel, we decided to get out for a walk. Our cottage was at the foot of the limestone ridge of Hampsfell, so we set out on the path which ran right past our front door and which would take us across the fields and up the hill.
As we climbed, looking back, we could see the group of buildings where we were staying
It didn’t take too long before we started to approach the top of the ridge which is covered by an expanse of limestone pavement
It was windy on top of the ridge and given the ways the trees had grown, it clearly usually is!
Walking along the ridge Hampsfell Hospice came into view
The building of the folly was commissioned by the pastor of Cartmel “for the shelter and entertainment of travellers” in 1846.
It commands 360 degree views over to the high Lakeland fells to the north and Morecambe Bay to the south, particularly from the roof, which can be accessed by climbing some rather precarious stone steps.
We stopped for a while, sheltering from the wind while we had a bite to eat and taking in the views. Long range visibility wasn’t too good but we could still make out the fells in the distance.
and over the Bay – although the tide was out revealing the extensive sands and mudflats
Looking down to Cartmel
After our break we set off again walking along the ridge. Passing other walkers, as is usual, we exchanged greetings with other walkers and a couple of fell runners. Then I heard a shout a short distance away. Someone wanted to speak to us so we waited and were joined by an elderly lady. She asked where we were heading and as we were taking the same path she asked whether we minded if she joined us and if we might help her to climb a difficult stile on the descent. Of course we agreed. As we walked we chatted and it transpired that this sprightly lady was 86 years old. She had always been a keen walker and was still getting out and about, today having walked up from Kents Bank, a good few miles away. When we reached the stile she got over without any assistance but we were there to provide reassurance and help to arrest a fall in case she slipped.
Here she is on the left of the photo
We continued down hill with her, enjoying her company, chatting and exchanging experiences. Reaching the bottom of the hill we continued in the direction of Cartmel and parted company when we reached a cemetery where her husband, who had died only 2 years before, was buried. She was going to visit his grave. We said our goodbyes and continued on. A chance encounter on the hills which had been a rather lovely experience. I hope I’m as efit and energetic as this lovely lady and able to get out on the fells when I’m 86 (no! I’ve a few more years to go!)
Another mile or so along a quiet road and we reached Cartmel in the early afternoon and we decided it was a good time to stop and have a brew! Refreshed, we decided to continue our walk, heading across the racecourse and along the tracks through the woods and fields towards another hill, Howbarrow to the west of the small town.
After a stiff climb we reached the summit of Howbarrow
It’s a modest hill, only 558 feet high, but we were again greeted by extensive views over the Bay (the tide now in) and over to the Fells
Looking over the Leven estuary
My photos across the bay didn’t come out so good as the light had turned flat and grey and we were looking into the sun.
We had several options to return to Cartmel, all a little convoluted, which tested my rusty map reading skills. Our route took us through pleasant countryside of green fields and woodland
and small groups of farms and other buildings
Eventually returning to, and crossing, the racecourse
(not sure I’d have been able to clear the fences!)
We returned to the village to pick up a few supplies from the small, but well stocked, convenience store, before heading back to our accommodation.
A good “figure of 8” walk, about 10 miles in length but not too taxing.