A week last Sunday I fancied getting out to stretch my legs so headed up to the Lake District. At this time of the year the daylight hours are short so I wanted a route that would get me back to the car before darkness descended. I decided to drive up to Ambleside and walk up Scandale and then climb up Red Screes. It’s a route I’d done before and although not the most popular way up the mountain – most people seem to take the steep climb up from the Kirkstone Pass – I’d enjoyed the walk up the quiet valley. This time another solitary rambler was following the same route and we kept passing each other. We eventually walked together and chatted for a while, until I had to stop to top up my blood sugar.
I arrived around 8:30 and parked up in the main car park and booted up. There were quite a few other people also getting ready to head off onto the fells, either walking or cycling. I walked through the town centre and was soon setting off up the lane that led up Scandale Pass.
It was time to start making my way back to Ambleside down the long whale-back ridge of Red Screes. There were great views all the way as I descended.
I made my way down to the town centre and had a mooch around the shops picking up a few items in the sales before returning to my car.
Passing Bridge House on the way to the car park – it’s obligatory to take a photo!
Last week I was up in the North East with work. An intersting project for my second, part time academic job! I used this as an opportunity to visit some of my relatives up there and they were kind enough to put me up (and put up with me 😉) for a couple of days. I drove up on the Monday planning to arrive before sunset. As it happend I got there quicker than expected so decided to stretch my legs and get some fresh air after a long drive.
I parked up near Souter lighthouse and strolled along the cliffs. During the walk the sun began to set and I was treated to a glorious sky lit up red and gold, reflected in the sea. My photos, snapped on my phone, don’t really do justice to what I saw.
You have to make the most of any good weather during the winter months and last week, Tuesday promised to be a fine, if cold day, so I decided to get out for a walk on the moors. I had considered travelling further afield but the hours of daylight are short in January and I wasn’t up early enough to travel up to the Lakes or Dales.
I drove over to Rivington and parked up near the barns. I hadn’t decided on an exact route, but had in mind several options, taking into account how bad it was underfoot. The moors are notoriously boggy after wet weather and we’d had plenty of that recently. But it had been cold with a hard frost for a couple of nights and I had hopes that would reduce the risk of sinking into the mire, which is how it largely, at least, worked out.
I’d decided to start by climbing up to the top of the Pike through the Terraced Gardens, knowing that would be dry underfoot on the paved paths.
I branched off the main haul, which was quite busy, opting to follow a path I’d never been down before, which led tot he South Lodge
Carrying on I reached the rather stunning Ravine. I know these slopes pretty well after many years of wandering through the gardens, but I’d never seen it before. Looking at the information board I could see that it was an “enhanced” natural feature, part of the original design by Mawson, that had fallen badly into disrepair, but had been restored during the major renovation of the gardens in recent years. The restoration team had certainly done an excellent job.
I crossed the ravine part way up and snapped photographs looking up
I carreied on and climbed the hill up to the Japenese gardens with its lake, that acts as a reservoir feeding the waters of the ravine.
I carried on and took the old road, walking round the top of the Pike
and climbed up to the summit from the south – an unusual route for me.
On a sunny, if cold day, there were quite a few people on the summit. I stopped for a while for a brew and a bite to eat taking in the views. Long range visibility wasn’t so good but there were good views over the moors towards Winter Hill
and towards Noon Hill and Anglezarke.
The moors looked tempting but in winter tend to be something of a morass of wet, boggy peat. However, it was cold and the ground was partially frozen, especially on northern facing slopes shaded from the sun, which gave some support and minimised the risk of sinking too deep into the bog, so I chanced it, taking the path over the moor towards Noon Hill.
As I expected, there were some significant stretches of bog but with them partially frozen, my boots didn’t get too wet and muddy.
I stopped for a while sitting on a convenient rock to drink a hot coffee from my flask and admire the views over the moors.
I took the path down to the old Belmont road and walked a short distance along the rough track back towards the Pike before descending down a steep path towards the new road.
The road is a favourite run for motorcyclists, particularly at weekends when they zoom along at speeds well above the legal limit, but on this ocassion ti was quiet with very little traffic. I walked a short distance along the road before taking the path across the moor and headed towards the ruined farm known as Old Rachels.
After a brief rest I carried on westwards turning off down another path across the peat towards Simms, where there’s the remains of another two farms.
From there I joined the track towards Lead Mine Clough
Then down the valley besides the river and then on to Yarrow Reservoir.
along the reservoir and descended beside the overflow down to Anglezarke Reservoir. I crossed the dam and then took the track along Higher Rivington Reservoir then made my way to Rivington Village. It’s a small collection of dwellings with a couple of churches, and more of a hamlet really, but quite attractive
I finished off my coffee sitting in the sunshine in the Congrational Church graveyard. It was then only a short distance back to the car.
It had been a grand walk on a sunny winter’s day, and I’d explored a few paths I’ve never been down before despite my long aquaintance with these moors. The weather turned the next day and since then it’s been mainly wet, grey and miserable. But the sun pops out now and again and I’ll be off out again, work permitting – you’ve gt to make the most of it in the winter.
So, I didn’t catch the 3:30 train. At this time of year it’s going dark at 4 pm and I thought I’d spend a little more time in Arnside and then watch the sunset over Morecambe Bay from the top of the Knott. I reckoned I’d still have time to catch the direct train at 5:30. It was a good decision.
I took a break for a while followed by a short walk along the shore. Then I turned inland and set up the hill towards the Knott. The sun was already starting to go down and the temperature was dropping but my down jacket was keeping me nice and snug.
Leaving the streets of Victorian houses behind, I walked through woodland and then, emerging on tot he open fell, looking behind me the views opened up over the estuary towards the mountains of the Lake District
and to the east, there was Ingleborough on the horizon
Reaching the top of the hill I walked along the ridge to a viewpoint overlooking the Bay. The sun was beginning to set
The sun slowly slipping below the horizon
Until the sky and the sea were on fire
I made my way back down the hill and after a final look along the estuary
walked back to the station in good time to catch my train back to Wigan.
What a marvelous end to the day.
Over the years Arnside and Silverdale and the Cartmel penisnsula on the other side of the Kent estuary have become favourite haunts when I fancy a moderate expenditure of energy and an easy (usually) journey on the train. It’s less well frequented area than the Lakes as visitors zoom past on the M6. I hope that doesn’t change as since my visit it’s turned up twice on the TV. Arnside was the subject of an episode of the BBC series “Villages by the Sea” and it also featured as a “Winter Walk” on BBC 2 last week. Both on iplayer for a few weeks, I suppose.
At the moment, looking out of the window, Storm Barra is arriving and it’s wet and windy outside. Not a good day for a walk. But it was quite different a couple of weeks ago when I took the train to Arnside for the second walk of my long late autumn weekend.
Although I’ve been walking around Arnside and Silverdale quite a few times over the years, I’d plotted out a route where I hadn’t ventured before, to the east of the village following the old coffin road to Beetham. It was a beautiful sunny day, cold, but with no wind so I soon warmed up as I set off walking.
Leaving the station I turned left instead of turning right towards the prom. After a short stretch of road I turned left down a track and then over the level crossing.
There was reasonable path throught he fields, although a bit muddy underfoot.
The next stretch, however, was more than a bit muddy. The clue was in the name really – Arnside Moss. Although agricultural land this would once have been part of the flood plain of the River Kent and I found myself wading through boggy land, sinking at times so that the mud covered the top of my boots. Luckily I got across this stretch unharmed except for boots completely coated with muck. (Perhaps I should have got some advice from Mark of Beating the Bounds – this is his patch!)
I crossed a couple more fields, much drier underfoot, heading towards Hazelslack Tower, an old, ruined Peel Tower, one of several in the area (I’ve passed another, Arnside Tower, many times during my wanders around here)
I walked past the tower, which is next to a farm, took the path across a field and then passed through a gate into the woods, following the signs for Beetham and the Fairy Steps.
I was in limestone country now so much drier underfoot.
After walking through pleasant woodland, I reached what looked like a dead end
but there was a way through – I’d reached the Fairy Steps – a flight of naturally occuring stone steps in a narrow passage between two sheer rock faces. Allegedly if you you climb or descend the steps without touching the sides of the narrow gully the local fairies will appear and grant you a wish.
Well, you’d have to be a lot slimmer than me to achieve that. It was a real squeeze – I had to take off my rucksack or I wouldn’t have got through! There is a diversion to avoid the steps for those of wider girth, or who otherwise don’t fancy the challenge. Amazingly the steps are part of the “coffin route” between Arnside and Beetham.
Before Arnside had a church and graveyard, the dead had to be transported to Beetham for burial in consecrated ground. In those days there wasn’t a road alongside the river and this would have been the main route between the two villages. It seems impossible to get a coffin up through the narrow gap but I suppose that in those days the corpse would have been wrapped in a shroud rather than put in a wooden box. But I certainly wouldn’t have liked the job of carrying the body.
I stopped for a bite to eat and a hot drink from my flask at the top of the steps with views through the trees across to the Kent Estuary and Arnside Knott on the other side of the moss.
Refreshed, I carried on through the woods, down the hill in the direction of Beetham
but turned off in the direction of Storth. I reached a minor road and followed it a short distance before turing onto a path through more woodland
eventually emerging near the small village of Storth
I passed through the village arriving on the banks of the Kent Estuary.
It was still a glorious bright sunny day and the Lake District Fells from Coniston to Red Screes were clearly visible in the distance
I joined the path that followed an old railway line along the banks of the river towards Arnside. The bright sun was very low preventing me from taking photos in th edirection I was walking, but I grabbed a few snaps looking back towards Storth and across the river.
There were sheep grazing out on the marsh. Salt Marsh lamb is a delicacy yet, along with flounder and shrimps from Morecambe Bay, you never see it on the menu of the local hostelries in Arnside which serve up the usual formulistic “pub grub”.
The path terminates behind the station and as it was about 3 pm there was a direct train back to Wigan due in less than half an hour. But I had an idea. So instead of waiting on the station, I crossed the footbridge and headed towards the prom.
Last weekend Saturday was a washout but Sunday and Monday were looking promising, so I cleaned up my boots and planned a couple of walks.
Sunday, I was up early, defrosted the car and set off up towards Keswick. I’d decided on a not too demanding walk east of Derwent Water rather than heading out onto the higher fells. Daylight is short at this time of the year and I didn’t want to push my luck and have to end up coming down off the fells in the dark.
I arrived at the National Trust car park at Great Wood. There were a few other cars there when I arrived at around 9:15 and I was getting myself booted up, several more stared arriving. Not surprising as it was a fine, sunny morning.
Boots on, I set off on the path through the woods.
As I gained some height views of the lake and fells started to appear through the trees
I looped round through the woods past Castlerigg farm and then started the climb up to Walla Crag. I never tire of the views obtained on this route
A short steep climb (a bit muddy underfoot) and I reached the summit of Walla Crag. Not so high, but a great viewpoint over the western fells, especially on such a bright late autumn morning. Time to take a break and for a coffee from my flask.
After a short break it was time to get moving again. I set out for my next objective, Bleaberry Fell. An easy, gentle walk on a good path across the boggy moorland at first with a bit of a bite at the end.
Reaching the top it was time for another brew break. It was cloudier over to the east, but there were still good views over to the Dodds and the Helvellyn range
The last time I was up here I made my way over to High Seat, which is only a short distance from the top of Bleaberry Fell. That was in May a couple of years ago and it was something of a bog fest even then. I thought better of it this time – I didn’t fancy getting sucked down into the murky depths of the soaking peat! Even Wainwright reckons that “this is a walk to wish on one’s worst enemy“. So I retraced my steps down from the top and along the path heading back towards Walla Crag
But part way down I diverted onto the path that descended to the popular beauty spot of Ashness Bridge.
The old pack horse bridge, with the view over Derwent Water to Skiddaw, is a very popular “honeypot” and there were quite a few people, including a few “serious” photographers, all trying to snap photographs and selfies. I stopped for a brew and a bite to eat but you have to take a photo don’t you?
There’s a car park here but to reach it the cars had to cross the narrow bridge. It was fun watching all the overlarge “Chelsea Tractors”, which everyone has to have these days, trying to manoeuvre over the bridge without scratching their paintwork on the sides – no doubt with their parking sensors going into overdrive! Shouldn’t laugh though, I’ve a smaller car and would be cautious!
It was time to move on and I set off down the path through the woods back towards the my car.
Before reaching the car park I cut off down a path towards the lake and then after a scramble down to the shore, I walked on the lake side path towards Calfclose bay
It’s become something of a tradition when I’m over this way to check out the Hundred Year Stones to see whether they’re submerged in the lake. They were dipping their toes in the water this visit!
The stones were created by Peter Randall-Page to mark the centenary of the National Trust in 1995
I made my way back to the car. It was clear that it had been full earlier on in the day but now it was later in the afternoon people had started to leave
Time for me to leave too. After debooting (is that a word?) I drove into Keswick to have a quick nosey round the town and pick up some treats from Booths’ supermarket.
It was busy in Keswick, so I didn’t stay long, but did pop into Bookends for a nosey
Returning to my car after picking up my supplies from Booths I could see Skiddaw lit up by the setting sun. The car park wasn’t the best viewpoint for a photo, but I snapped one anyway.
The drive home wasn’t fun. It was fine until I got to around the Sedbergh junction on the M6 then I was stuck in slow moving (sometimes stationary) traffic all the way down the rest of the M6 and the M61. Not surprising as lots of people had clearly had the same idea as me and been out on a sunny day, setting for home at sunset.
But that was a minor inconvenience. I’d had a great day out. The forecast was sunny for Monday too and I’d decided to take the day off!
Commenting on my post about my walk around Kentmere from Staveley, John Bainbridge recommended the leg of the Dales Way from the village to Bowness. I thought that sounded like a good option for a car free ramble, so as last Saturday promised to be a good day for walking I took the train to Staveley and set out. It turned out to be an excellent lower level walk, and I was able to divert off the “official” route to climb up three smaller fells with superb views over the South Lakes. Good call John!
I took the quiet road from the station and was soon out amongst the fields. The route took me through fields and undulating heath and moorland. It followed some quiet lanes initially, but I encountered one car, before taking paths through the fields. It was a bright, sunny, late Autumn day with really good visibility.
I deviated from the Dales Way up to the summit of Grandsire, the first of the three small fells I’d climb during my walk. There’s no path marked on the OS map but it’s open access land and there were a number of paths on the ground. There were views across to Windermere and the bigger fells to the north and west and east. School Knott (my next destination) is in the foreground towards the west.
I descended down the path until I reached the tarn at the foot of Scout Knott and then climbed to the top of the fell
This small hill is quite close to Windermere village and is a popular destination, but although I wasn’t the only person at the summit, it was still quiet.
More views across to Windermere and the high fells
Descending the hill I re-joined the Dales Way which took me through fields and some rougher country, passing another small tarn on the way to Cleabarrow.
The route went beside the B5284 (a road I know well as we often drive down here going from Kendal to Blackwell) before turning off and heading north west towards Matson Ground
Then, another deviation off the Dales Way to climb my final hill of the day, Brant Fell.
This small fell is close to Bowness and popular with visitors to that honey pot so it was busy at the summit compared to the previous two hills I’d climber. But I can understand why as it’s a great viewpoint. I stopped for a while to soak in the panorama.
I descended the hill and was soon in Bowness, the Lake District’s minature version of Blackpool! On a sunny day it was heaving with visitors so I walked down to the Lake to take a few snaps but didn’t linger.
I needed to get up to Windermere village and the train station, about a mile and a half away. I had a choice – either walk or catch the bus. The bus seemed the best option as I didn’t fancy a walk along the busy main road, but off-season, they only run one an hour and I’d have a 45 minute wait. I wanted to get away from the crowds so decided to walk, but looking at the map spotted that I could avoid the main road by taking Longlands Road, a minor road passing the rugby club and then up through what looked like woodland. It turned out to be a private road passing a number of houses (cars not allowed, except for residents) and was a pleasant walk, so it was the right option for me!
Reaching Windemere, I stopped off to re-energise and refuel with a brew and a tasty cake before picking up a few treats at the Booth’s supermarket by the station. Then, a short wait on the platform before boarding the 4 o’clock direct train back to Wigan. The sun was already starting to set and it was dark by the time we pulled in at Preston.
I’d enjoyed the walk immensely. The countryside was beautiful and, until I got close to Bowness, very quiet. And the views from those small fells, on a bright Autumn day with good visibility, were exceptional – once again confirming, as Andy of surfnslide has pointed out more than once, that you don’t have to climb the highest fells for a good view.
Just a couple of days after my walk around the Kentmere valley, I was off out again, this time up on the Howgill Fells. I drove up to Sedbergh and parked up in the market square. It was a fine day and there were a few other walkers around preparing to set off on their way. However, being a Sunday in Sedbergh nothing was open so my idea of buying a coffee before I set off was a non-starter! During the week shops and cafes only open at 10 am and generally shut at 4 pm, so they’re only open when walkers are out on the fells. It seems like they don’t want to take our money! Maybe they only want to be “local shops”.
I had in mind a route that would go a little “off piste” – and it ended up being a little longer than I’d intended.
It was a bright and sunny morning as I left Sedbergh and made my way along the monot road towards Lockbank farm
I took the concessionary path through the farmyard and was soon on the fell.
It’s acess land up here so you can more or less roam at will and there’s a few paths not marked on the OS map that are visible on the ground. I took one cutting diagonally across the lower sloes of Winder before joining one of the main routes up the hill.
There weren’t many people around, but there were a few locals 🙂
There were good views over the hills as I climbed, but there was also cloud coming in.
I reached the summit of Winder. I checked my blood sugar and it at dropped tot he point where I needed to get something to eat, so I took the hint and stopped for a while for a sandwhich and to take in the views.
Low cloud was drifting over Arant Haw, my next objective.
Refueled, I set off and made my way towards the summit. Easy walking at first but then the path climbs steeply to the top.
Reaching the summit cairn I stopped to take in the views. Low cloud on Calder and the Calf.
In the past I’ve carried on from here on towards the Calf, the highest point in the Howgills. But this time I’d planned to head in a different direction, following the ridge that descended from the summit towards the west.
There was a path along the ridge (not on the map) but it seemed to peter out, but on a clear day navigation wasn’t difficult. I set off down the slope heading in a north north west direction,then cut west towards the lower hill that I could see, Seat Knot. There were great views over the rounded hills and valleys to the north.
Reaching the bottom of the valley I decided to climb to the top of Seat Knot. Looking west there was a hazy view of the Lakeland fells on the horizon
I descended back into the valley and followed the path that ran parrallel tot he fell wall back in the direction of Sedbergh.
I reached the Crosdale valley
where I had to ford the beck. There were good views up the valley towards Arant Haw. Since leaving the summit of that hill I hadn’t seen another human soul.
Looking at my watch I decided it was too early to carry on back to Sedbergh so decided to take the path through Craggstone Wood and then head through the fields towards the Lune. I had the idea that I’d be able to follow the old railway line back towards Sedbergh. That didn’t quite work out as I’d hoped!
At Low Branthwaite I started to follow the Dales Way, and shortly afterwards reached the old Railway Viaduct which crosses the Lune.
I thought there’d be a path along the route of the old railway line, but when I reached the top of the Viaduct it seemed that this wasn’t the case so I had to rethink. The best option seemed to be to keep on following the Dales Way
which ran alongside the river.
I reached Lincoln’s Inn Bridge where I checked the map. There was a scarcity of routes back to Sdbergh from here. The shortest route was to follow the road and take a path a bit further along towards Sedbergh, but it was narrow and twisty and, although not very busy, there were enough cars speeding along to make me decide this wasn’t the best option. So I decided to follow the Dales Way back towards the town. It’s a pleasant route, more or less following the river but a lengthier diversion from the one I’d originally planned. And a wrong turning also meant I strayed off the route for a while.
Keeping to the riverside path I reached the pleasant hamlet of Birks
from where I took a path across the fields back to Sedbergh where, of course, everything was closed! No chance of a revitalising coffee or a mooch in the shops in book town. Sedbergh must be twinned with Royston Vasey
It had been a good walk on a fine autumn day (albeit longer than I’d intended). Lets hope there’s a few more like that before winter draws in.
The week after our holiday in Whitby I managed to get a couple of walks in over a long weekend. For the first one, I caught a train to Staveley, from where I had planned a route around the Kentmere Valley. One day I’ll tackle the Kentmere horseshoe, taking in the high fells, but this walk was lower level starting from Staveley train station, wlaking towards Skeggle Water and then on to Kentmere village, before returning via the higher level route to the west of the valley
I carried on down the road into the village. There was a wait for the next train so I called into the Mill Yard and stopped at the Hawkshead brewery where i was able to rest my feet and grab a coffee. Then I sauntered through the village back to the train station. A good days walk. No strenuous climbs but a good 12 miles.
The forecast for Tuesday predicted that after a reasonable start it would be a wet and windy afternoon. I was up early (as usual!) and decided to get out for a bracing walk along the cliffs to the south of Whitby before the weather changed. I managed to persuade my son to acompany me, be he soon lost his enthusiasm and turned back half way through the walk.
We crossed over to the East Cliff and climbed up the 199 Steps circumnavigating the graveyard with views over the sea and towards the Abbey ruins.
We joined the coastal path, which is part of the Cleveland Way route, and which would take us along the cliffs
There were other people walking along the path, probably making their way to Robin Hood’s Bay. That wasn’t my plan. I’d walked from Robin Hood’s Bay back to Whitby last time we stayed here. I could have carried on walking the route in reverse this time but I’d decided to turn around at the lighthouse, which is about a third of the way to Robin Hood’s Bay and retrace my steps and get back to Whitby before the rain came in. I actually think the best views are gained walking towards Whitby.
Here’s some photos I shot from the top of the cliffs – some taken going out and some coming back.
I turned around just after the lighthouse and headed back along the path towards Whitby. On the way I decided to divert down the cliffs to Saltwick bay. The tide was receding revealling a good stretch of fine sand.
The last time we holidayed in Whitby we’d been fossiling here and without making any real effort I picked up a couple of pieces of ammonite and could see fragments of fossils in some of the larger rocks.
Returning to the cliff top path, with the tide going out remains of a wrecked boat were revealed
It didn’t take me long to get back to Whitby. I called into the bookshop (I just couldn’t help myself) and made a purchase and stopped off at a couple of shops to purchase some supplies. The cloud had been coming in during my walk and it started to rain quite heavily, but fortunately I wasn’t far from the cottage.
I spent the afternoon taking it easy and catching up on some reading, drinking tea and eating cake! But in the evening we’d booked a table in the Magpie cafe on the harbour which is renowned for it’s fish and chips and other seafood. Last time we were here it was closed as there had been a fire, but it had been renovated since then. It’s very popular and although we’d booked a few days in advance could only get a table fairly late in the evening.
We had a very enjoyable meal.
After eating the rain had eased off so we walked along the harbour, climbed up to the Whale bone arch and made our way back to our cottage