An evening stroll along Carding Mill Valley

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Late morning on the Tuesday the rain started to come in, so we spent the afternoon taking it easy in our comfortable apartment, reading and listening to some music. By about 6 o’clock it had stopped raining so we decided to go for a short walk along Carding Mill Valley and take a look at the reservoir up New Pool Hollow. The small reservoir was constructed in 1902 to supply water to the Carding Mill. It didn’t have to fulfil it’s intended purpose for long; the old mill was demolished in 1912 and the factory turned into an hotel and café. Today the reservoir is an attractive feature at the end of a short steep sided valley and is frequented by “wild swimmers”.

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It was only a short walk up Carding MIll Valley and it’s short side shoot, New Pool Hollow (named after the new reservoir – what was it called before 1902?). We stopped for a short while to take in the view.

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The sun was starting to break through the cloud and it looked like it might develop into a pleasant evening, so we extended the walk by taking the high level path back along the valley before walking further up the main valley.

This is the view of the reservoir’s dam, looking back from the high level path.

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and looking down towards Church Stretton from further along the path.

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Rejoining the main valley

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One of the locals taking a look at us!

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A little before the intersection with Lightspout Hollow we turned round and headed back – it was getting close to tea time.

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Passing the old factory building which has been converted into flats,

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and then the National Trust shop and café in the Swiss Chalet.

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After a short while we arrived back at Arden House

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We chose the right time to go out – an hour after we got back it was raining heavily again.

Caer Caradoc and Hope Bowdler Hill

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The Monday of our break in Shropshire was looking promising so we set off on a walk taking in some of the hills to the east of Church Stretton.

Caer Caradoc dominates the view to the east of the town. It’s a very distinctive hill that used to be surmounted by an Iron Age Hill Fort. That was to be our first objective.

We walked through the town and crossed over the A49 (luckily there’s a Pelican crossing) and then through an estate of houses. But after only a short while we were walking down a quiet country lane.

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The hills soon came into view across the fields.

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Rather than a direct assault on the very steep slope at the end of the ridge, we followed the track along the base of the hill

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We crossed over the stile and then were faced with a sharp, steep, ascent up tot he summit

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Looking back along the ridge with the Long Mynd in the background

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At the summit the defensive ditches from the Iron Age Hill fort were clearly visible.

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Looking north across to Little Caradoc, the long ridge of The Lawley and, in the far distance rising out of the flat plain, the distinctive shape of The Wrekin.

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Looking west to the Long Mynd

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and, to the east, Bowdler Hill.

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After a short break to take in the scenery we set off north down the slope towards Little Caradoc, a  minor prominence to the north of the main summit.

Looking back

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The view north from the summit of Little Caradoc

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We took the path down to the bottom and then circumnavigated the hill following a path that took us back to the track that runs along the foot of the Caer Caradoc. This route was clearly not followed very often. It was overgrown and we had to fight our way through long stretches of bracken which wasn’t particularly pleasant and climb over stiles that hadn’t been maintained and were somewhat dodgy.

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We eventually reached the track and our next objective came into view

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There were a couple of options and I took the wrong one, following the path straight ahead. It was fine at first but then it petered out and we had to battle through yet more bracken and boggy ground

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but we finally made it to a better, more distinctive path along the bottom of the hill and then reached the junction with the path which would take us up to the top of the ridge. Another short steep climb, this time through bracken. But at least it was a clear cut path.

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Reaching the top of the climb we took a clear path over the ridge – not marked on the OS map but clearly very well used.  Bowdler Hill consists of a series of prominences and the path took us over them all.

Looking across the valley we had an excellent view of Caer Caradoc.

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Looking back along the ridge,

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and over to Church Stretton

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There were plenty of sheep about

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At the south end of the ridge we reached the distinctive Gaer Stone.

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From here we took the path back down the hill towards Church Stretton

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which took us through fields before retracing our steps along the metalled track and roads back to the town.

Time to stop for coffee and cake!

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The Long Mynd and Ashes Hollow

Our main reason for choosing Church Stretton as a base for a holiday was that, as well as the peace and quiet, we wanted to do some walking in the Shropshire Hills. So on Sunday morning we loaded up our day sacks, put on our boots and set up for a walk up the Long Mynd, the large “whale back” hill that looms over the town.

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The grassy plateau is about 7 miles long with steep valleys on its eastern flanks. We set off up one of these, the most popular, Carding Mill Valley which, like much of the Long Mynd, is under the stewardship of the National Trust.

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The National Trust has some information about the history of the textile industry in the valley that gave it its name

In 1812 a carding mill was built to process local fleeces. The carded wool was then spun at home as a cottage industry.

In 1824 George Corfield bought the mill and expanded, building a factory and installing Spinning Jennies and Hand Looms to become a cloth manufacturer. Being sited away from the heart of the woollen industry in Yorkshire proved difficult so further expansion in 1851 took them into clothing manufacture employing sewers and dressmakers. The business remained under threat so diversification was attempted.

By 1881 part of the factory was used for ginger beer and soda water manufacture and another part as a tea-room. By this time many people had new-found wealth and increased leisure and Church Stretton was developing as a spa town known as “Little Switzerland”.

Two reservoirs were built, one in 1865 in Townbrook Hollow and 1902 in New Pool Hollow. The old mill was demolished in 1912 and the factory turned into an hotel and café. By 1920 the factory had been converted to flats and the Chalet Pavilion had been imported from Scandinavia to be used as a tea-room for the day trippers.

It’s a popular spot so on a Sunday morning in August there were plenty of people around. Many of them, however, seemed to be sticking around the lower part of the valley, which was flat, pottering around with children messing about near or in the river. There were some relatively easy low level walks. One in particular up to the reservoir that used to feed the former carding mill on the site.

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We walked past the chalet building, imported from Switzerland, which today house the NT café and shop

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It was too soon to stop for a brew (only 15 minutes or so since we’d set out!) so we carried on up the valley

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Rather than follow the main route up to the top of the Long Mynd, we took a left fork up Lightspout Hollow, a narrow, steep sided valley leading up to the Lightspout waterfall.

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As there hadn’t been a lot of rain over previous weeks there was more fall than water!

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We climbed the steep stepped path up past the waterfall and then cut off the path carrying on up hill. A short distance away we spotted a group of ponies on the hillside

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Reaching the top we carried on along the grassy plateau, heading for the path that runs along the ridge of the Long Mynd.

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Looking back there was a good view of Caer Caradoc to the east of Church Stretton, across the other side of the A49.

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Walking along the ridge we could see several gliders circling around on the thermals created by the hills.

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As the top of the Long Mynd is a fairly flat plateau there isn’t a distinct summit, but we headed for the highest point on the ridge , “Pole Bank” where we stopped to take in the view.

Looking west towards Wales.

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Visibility was OK but with a cloudy grey sky the light was rather flat, not great for photography, and we couldn’t see as far as the Welsh mountains which were obscured by cloud and the grey light.

We turned round, retraced our steps for a short distance before heading east and turned off down the path that would take us down Ashes Hollow.

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It’s another narrow, steep sided valley, the path following a stream down hill. It was much quieter than on the way up and along the ridge – we saw only a few people, mainly coming up the valley. Most people were obviously descending by alternative routes.

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Initially passing through rough moorland, as it descended the scenery changed into a pleasant rocky, wooded valley

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eventually flattening out

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Towards the end of the valley, passing through a meadow, I spotted a couple coming up from the opposite direction. The man was wearing a sweatshirt with a familiar badge on his chest – Wigan Warriors. I asked if they were from Wigan and it transpired that the woman was a born and bred Wiganer who now lived near Church Stretton.  So we stopped for a chat. It’s I surprising how often we bump into people from our home town  (I was once paddling in a canoe with our children when they were young teenagers on the Dordogne and was hailed by someone – “are you from Wigan?”) – it’s a small world, as they say.

We passed through a small camp site and arrived at Little Stretton, a small village a couple of miles south of the town where we were staying.

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A small, affluent community of a small number of mainly ancient houses.

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We followed the road back to Church Stretton. Time for a brew and a cake at one of the independent coffee shops.

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A walk along the cliffs from Robin Hood’s Bay to Whitby

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We’d been wanting to walk along the cliffs from Robin Hood’s Bay back to Whitby during our recent holiday. Unfortunately the weather hadn’t been particularly promising. But on the Friday the forecast was for sunshine until the evening, so we laced up our boots and took the bus the few miles to Robin Hood’s Bay and set out along the coastal path. It was easy walking at first but we soon had to negociate a series of “ups and downs” along the cliffs.

Looking back shortly after setting out.

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A short distance along the route we came across this “rocket post”. Devices similar to this were used by the coastguard to practice rescuing shipwrecked sailors. Rockets were used to fire ropes across to stranded ships.

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It was a beautiful day, if a little windy. There were great views of the cliffs ahead and the sea was a beautiful shade of blue.

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“Scars” could be seen under the water. It was high tide but these rocky selves that make this stretch of coastline potentially treacherous for shipping would soon be revealed as the tide receded.

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Looking out to sea.

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Moving along the coast

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This must be the shortest lighthouse I’ve seen.

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A cliff face of Kittiwakes

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A short distance after the lighthouse we passed this disused foghorn station. I wouldn’t have liked to be walking past when this was blasting out.

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Carrying on the cliffs

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Getting closer to Whitby. We passed the bay where we’d been foddiling earlier that week.

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The Abbey came into view

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Looking down to the ship wreck we’d walked past during the fossiling trip

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Whitby harbour came into view.

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Getting closer to the Abbey

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We finished the walk with tea and cake in the YHA café next to the Abbey.

An enjoyable walk of about 8 miles. 

A walk along the Aire and Ouse

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My final day in east Yorkshire and it poured down during the afternoon. But later on it started to brighten up and by around 6 o’clock the rain had gone and it had turned into a pleasant evening. There was nothing on TV I wanted to watch so rather than stay in my hotel room I decided to get out for a walk.

I didn’t have to go too far before I was out into open country. I crossed the main road and turned up a minor road that led to the village of Airmyn. It wasn’t too busy – although the few cars that passed me were in something of a hurry!

The countryside in this part of Yorkshire is very flat and extends for many miles with only the occasional small settlement, wind turbines (lots of them!) and the giant Drax power station to break up the view.

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After about a mile I reached the small village of Airmyn.

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Between 1774 and 1776 this settlement on the Aire close to where it joins the Ouse was a busy port, but today, being close to the M62, it’s a commuter village. Most of the houses looked as if they were fairly modern, although there were some older buildings on the main road.

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This is the entrance to the church yard

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and this is St David’s church, a Grade II listed building originally built in 1318 and extended in 1676

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This clock tower stands at the bend in the road,and is a memorial to the second Earl of Beverley.who funded the building of the local school.

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It’s next to the former school building.

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The village was built right next to the River Aire and, particularly with the flat terrain, it’s very vulnerable to flooding. A flood defence dyke has been built that follows the course of the river.

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There’s a path running along the top of th edyke so I climbed up to take a walk along the river. I followed it until it joined the Ouse and then continued along the path up to Boothferry bridge.

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Even though the busy M62 Motorway was only a few miles to the south, it was very quiet and peaceful and once I’d left the village I didn’t see another soul until I reached Boothferry. I saw plenty wind turbines though!

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The path took me around the edge of a field of wheat

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The confluence with the Ouse

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After about a mile and a half, I reached Boothferry swing bridge. At one time, before the M62 was built, traffic heading east towards Hull had to cross this bridge. It certainly wouldn’t have coped with today’s volume of traffic.

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I climbed up on the bridge. This was the view looking north

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and looking south towards the M62 viaduct.

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To make a circular walk I would have had to walk back along the road so I decided to retrace my steps.  It made a round trip of just over 5 miles. An easy walk, though, compared to our recent jaunts in the Lake District, but still an enjoyable way to spend a pleasant summer’s evening, making most of the long period of daylight.

Where Romans marched

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Cumbria must have been one of the most wild and remote areas of the Roman Empire. Nevertheless they built forts at Brougham (Brocavum) near Penrith and at Ambleside (Galava), no doubt to keep restless natives under control. And being Romans there had to be road to connect them – High Street. Rather than route it along the bottom of the valleys, which at that time would have been covered with thick woodland and were likely to have been boggy underfoot, and where they would have been susceptible to ambushes, they built it over the top of the fells. The high point of the road was on the gentle slopes of a fell with a flat summit plateau, now known as “High Street”. At 2,718 ft, its summit is the highest point in the far eastern part of the Lake District National Park, and that was our destination last Sunday.

We drove up to the small hamlet of Hartsop and managed to find a space in the car park at the far end of the settlement. We’d left home in t-shirts but it was chilly when we arrived mid morning and there was low cloud on the fells.

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We set off following the path along the valley heading towards Hayeswater. Thick cloud was hanging in the valley ahead.

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We passed this interesting old building, covered with vegetation and almost dissolving into the landscape

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After half an hour or so we reached the glacial lake of Hayeswater. The tops of the fells still covered with cloud.

 

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We took the hillside on the path heading up towards “The Knott”, heading into the mist

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Looking back we began to wonder whether we’d made the wrong decision of where to go walking, with sun shining on the fells to the west.

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Looking back Helvelyn and Blencathra were free of cloud and the former was lit up with sunshine.

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We carried on heading up into the mist. We passed the Knott and soon High Street was visible (with cloud covering the summit)

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Starting our climb up the slope there were good views of the dramatic crags on the path towards Kidsey Pike

 

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Looking east along Riggindale towards Haweswater

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Zooming in on Haweswater

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Looking towards Riggindale Crag

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Walking along the ridge, looking north west we had a good view of Hayeswater – the cloud was beginning to clear.

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Not long after we reached the trig point of the top of the fell.

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There’s no distinct summit as it’s a broad, flat fell. At one time locals from the surrounding valleys used to meet up here on 12 July to return stray sheep to their owners and held a country fair with sports including wrestling and horse racing. In fact the summit area is still known as “Racecourse Hill”.

Cloud was still hugging the fells to the south and east, but there was a good view of the mountains to the west and north

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After taking a break for some food we set off south along the ridge – looking backwards over Hayeswater, Gray Crag and the Knott

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Our next destination, Thornthwaite Crag with it’s beacon, visible through the mist.

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The summit is marked by Thornthwaite Beacon, an impressive cairn,14 feet high.

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Looking back towards High Street.

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A clearer view over to the west with the Coniston Fells, Crinkle Crags and The Langdale Pikes clearly visible

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as well as the Fairfield Horsehoe, the Helvelyn range and Blencathra.

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Unfortunately, the summits to the south and east were covered with cloud.

We started our descent towards Threshthwaite Mouth. Two fell runners bounded past us.

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Our route took us down a very steep scree slope. Quite hairy at times with a steep drop to the left in places and with our feet slipping underneath us – we were thankful of our walking poles which provided some stability during the descent.

This is a shot looking back up the slope

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The compensation were great views down towards a sunny Ullswater and Patterdale

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and in the other direction, as the cloud had cleared, down towards Windermere with the summits of Ill Bell and Yoke (which we’d climbed back in March during our break in Kentmere) now clearly visible.

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We finally reached the bottom of the path. Here’s view looking backwards – the path was a lot steeper than it looks in the photo!

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Looking down the next part of our route, Pasture Bottom, with Ullswater in the distance.

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It was another steep descent, but on a much better path.

Looking backwards from the bottom of the descent

 

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The path followed the beck downstream back towards Hartsop. There were some interesting glacial features – with a collection of drumlins along our route

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Two thirds along the valley the path levelled out

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Looking back along the valley

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We passed some old Myer’s Head lead mine buildings. The stone walls once supported a wooden ‘launder’ or chute,  which carried water to drive a large water wheel located in the pit in the foreground of the photo.

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Being interested in industrial history and archaeology I found some information on the mine here and here.

Not far to go now

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back in the car park there was a much clearer view along the valley than when we set out!

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Potter Fell

Last year some of our relatives from the North East booked a cottage in Staveley for a week’s holiday. We called up to see them as it’s only just over an hour’s drive away. Until then we’d never thought of visiting the village and the nearby Kentmere valley, rushing past on the by-pass on our way to other parts of the Lake District. Well, they certainly did us a favour as we discovered what has now become a favourite part of the National Park! I was up there again recently, on my own this time, to go for a walk up on to Potter’s Fell.

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I took the train; a Virgin mainline Pendelino to Oxeholme where I swapped over on to the Northern train that trundles over to Windermere via Kendal, Burneside and Staveley on a single track line.

Starting out from the station I headed into the village, through the Mill Yard and over the footbridge crossing the River Kent

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The weir behind the Mill Yard

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and a short distance further up the river, another weir at Barley Bridge

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Along the leafy lane. Hardly any traffic to worry about.

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Cutting across the fields

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The path took me over the fields to a minor road that would lead to Brunt’s farm and my first objective, Brunt Knott, the highest point of Potter’s Fell, which soon came into view

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I walked past the farm buildings

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then through a gate that took me on to the track that led up on to the fell.

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Getting nearer to my destination

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Looking back there was a good view towards the high fells

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A stiff climb, and the summit came into view

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Reaching the summit the views were exceptional in every direction. Photos just can’t do them justice.

Looking over to the Coniston Fells, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, the Langdales and the Scafells

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Looking down towards the  Kentmere horseshoe

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and across to Longsleddale

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A Panorama shot on my phone

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I had a few options now and was tempted to head down to Longsledale and complete a circuit cutting back across to the Kentmere Valley further north. However, I decided to leave that for another day and retrace my steps and then head over to Potter’s Tarn.

Descending down towards the valley

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Approaching Brunt Farm

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Just after Brunt Farm I spotted a small group of sheep shearers.

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A view of the southern part of Potter’s Fell as I walked down the narrow road heading south down the valley.

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The bridge that crosses a small stream on the path heading towards Potter Tarn

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After a short, stiff climb, I reached Potter Tarn

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The tarn is actually a reservoir built to supply water to a local paper mill and is dominated to some extent by a huge concrete dam. However, standing in the right position you can avoid looking at it and appreciate the small lake and the attractive surrounding scenery.

After a short stop to admire the view and take a few photographs I carried on over a stile, past the dam and up across the fell towards Gurnal Dubs another, slightly larger tarn.

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It’s another reservoir but is particularly attractive. In this case the dam is hardly noticeable as it’s clad in stone and turf. There’s a stone boathouse at the northern end of the tarn.IMG_1370

I walked along the path a little further and took a panorama with my phone

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then back to the north end to take a break and a bite to eat by the boathouse. A family of four – parents plus two older teenagers, were also sitting on the grass. The mother and daughter donned their wet suits and went for a swim in the small lake. Brave souls! The male members, however, declined to join them and we chatted for a while.

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Rested, I set back down towards Potter Tarn

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I then turned left and took the path down the valley. Reaching the Staveley to Burneside highway Winking smile 

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The dry stone walls lining the road were covered with moss

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I walked along the lane towards Staevely, cutting across the fields along the path after the small sewage works (fortunately, no noticeable odour today!). Eventually the bridge over the Kent at the back of the Mill Yard came into view.

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Unfortunately, the renowned Wilf’s Café was about to close, and as I had about an hour before my train was due I was forced to resort to calling into the Hawkshead Brewery for a refreshing (non-alcholoic) beer

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Just what I needed after a good 10 mile walk!

it hadn’t been too strenuous, although there were a couple of stiff climbs the fells were of relatively modest height. But the views on a fine day were outstanding and unlike other parts of the Lake District it was extremely quiet – I didn’t another soul between leaving and returning to the village other than the sheep shearers, a few farm workers and the family up at Gurnal Dubs.