Clapham and Norber round

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Only a week after returning home from our holiday in Settle, I was up early and driving back to the Dales. When flicking through the walking guides on holiday I’d spotted several references to the Norber erratics and rather fancied basing a walk around them. I decided to start off in Clapham (not the one in London I would add) following the route in the Cicerone guide to the Dales (South and West).

Arriving in the small village, I parked up in the National Park run car park. It cost £4-80 for the full day, which I consider to be reasonable – compare that with what it costs in central Manchester. Several other cars pulled up and the occupants of a number of the large “SUVs” which have become popular, (often as a way of showing off) were quite put out by the fee, expressing their dissatisfaction. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that people who like to swank around resent making their contribution to the upkeep of the facilities, which they can surely afford. But if they’re that hard up maybe they should choose a cheaper car.

Rant over!

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So, I booted up and set off walking through the village
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past the church
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and took the track that took me towards, and under the tunnels built by the local landowners to prevent travellers along what was a major route wouldn’t have to cross the Ingleborough Hall Estate.
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There was a short steep climb after the tunnels
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I was soon passing through fields of sheep with views over to the limestone crags and hills.
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I climbed over the stile, leaving the old track and taking the path through the fields towards Norber
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Reaching a fingerpost I took the path up the hill
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and after a short climb reached the plateau
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covered with erratics – rocks that had been picked up by glaciers in the ice age and carried down the glacier and then dropped some distance from their source once the glacier melted.
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The Norber erratics are gritstone rocks, but they were deposited on limestone. Over time the softer limestone was eroded away by acidic rain, but the hardier, gritstone, much less susceptible to erosion, sheltered, protected and preserved the limestone underneath the boulders. So today many of the large boulders are “propped up” by the limestone, standing proud above the ground, perched on their “pedestals”

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I spent a little time mooching around the boulders taking a few snaps
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Then it was time to move on. I headed for the ladder stile and then followed the path across the moor
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passing outcrops of limestone and stretches of limestone pavement.
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I carried on alaong the path, climbing gradually. It was easy, pleasant walking
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Views started to open up of Penyghent
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zooming in
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As I carried on Ingleborough came into view
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I reached this large pyramidal cairn. I carried on a little until I reached the Pennine Bridleway
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I turned onto the bridleway, first of all heading west. There’s Ingleborough dead ahead.
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After a while the bridleway swung to the south
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and carried on down Long Lane back towards Clapham
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Looking across the valley towards the bottom of Trow Gill
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at the end of Long Lane (and it is long!) I reached the track from Clapham I’d walked along a few hours before. I could have headed back down through the tunnels to the village but it was a nice day and still early in the afternoon so I thought I’d extend the walk, so I turned left along the lane retracing my steps from earlier. This time though I carried on past the stile and took another path accross the fields towards the village of Austwick.
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Austwick is another pretty village full of attractive old stone cottages. They would have originally have been the homes of the agricultural labourers and quarry workers who worked in the ara. Today they’re expensive homes and holiday cottages.
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At the bottom of the village there’s a path that leads through the fields to Clapham.
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Getting closer to Clapham – that’s Ingleborough Hall. Originally the home of the Farrer family, the local Lords of the Manor, today it’s an outdoor activity centre owned by Bradford Council
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I arrived back in Clapham
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Time for a brew in the cafe in the old Manor House – a listed building, built in 1701 and converted into a Reading Room in 1790.
A reading room? Apparently :
 “Nearly every village in the Yorkshire Dales was provided at some time with a Reading Room or Literary Institute. Non-conformist communities particularly valued the opportunity for sober education provided by such places and this coincided with the interest of the middle classes in keeping their workers out of public houses.” (source)

After a quick stroll around the village I changed out of my boots and then set of back home. It had been a sunny, but windy day. The weather forecast was looking good for the next few days. That gave me an idea……

Ribblehead and Hawes

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Thursday, during our stay in Settle, was something of a grey day. I had to run a web tutorial early evening, which limited out options a little, so we decided to go out for a drive – the first time we’d used our car since we’d arrived for our break the previous Saturday.

We headed north on the B6479 up Ribblesdale, through Horton-in-Ribblesdale and on to Ribblehead where we stopped to take a look at the rather majestic Ribblehead viaduct.

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The viaduct stands below Whernside, the highest of the three peaks, and is overlooked by Ingleborough. It takes trains across the windswept moor as they make their way from Settle to Carlisle.

The line was built by the Midland Railway company, which before nationalisation of the railway network, was in competition with the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). The Midland Railway wanted to use the LNWR’s lines to run trains up to Scotland but they refused. The Settle Carlisle line was the Midland Railway’s way of getting round this. The route was surveyed in 1865 and the Midland got permission from parliament to build it. However, before work started they had second thoughts due to the cost – but the Government insisted that they go ahead. So the line was constructed, running through some dramatic countryside in the Yorkshire Dales and Westmoreland.

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Back in the 80’s, British Rail wanted to close the line. Ribblehead and other viaducts and bridges needed repairing and they saw this as an expensive luxury. However, a campaign was launched to save the line by rail enthusiasts, local authorities and residents along the route and they persuaded the government to save the line. As it turned out, the repairs were nowhere as expensive as projected and the renewed interest in the route has made it popular with tourists. Scheduled trains are run by Northern Rail (that’s one of their trains crossing the viaduct in the picture above) and special excursions are also run along the scenic route, on trains often hauled by steam engines.

We parked up the car and took a short walk up to and under the viaduct

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The viaduct overlooked by Whernside
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Looking over to Ingleborough
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The arches (24 in all) stand 104 feet (32 metres) above the moor

After inspecting the viaduct and taking in the scenery, we got back in teh car and set of down the road through Widdale towards the village of Hawes at the head of Wensleydale. The road wound through bleak, but scenic, moorland. Not that I could see much as I had to keep my eyes on the road!

It didn’t take long to reach the village and, being out of season, we didn’t have any trouble finding a parking space. There’s been a market town here since 1307 and they still hold a market every Tuesday. We had a little mooch while we looked for somewhere to eat. Everything seemed to be constructed from stone and looked very quaint and attractive. I suspect that many of them aren’t as old as they perhaps first appear – probably Victorian (but I could be wrong)

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After we’d had a good look at the viaduct we returned tot eh car. We’d decided to drive along Wensleydale to Hawes, where we hoped to get a bite to eat.

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Being something of a honeypot, there were plenty of places to eat. Peering through the window I liked the look of the White Hart Inn. Although there wasn’t a menu posted outside I had a good feeling about it and was proved right as we enjoyed a rather tasty, freshly cooked meal far better than your average, unimaginative pub food.

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We ate in a cosy lounge with a real fire in a range set in an old fireplace

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After our meal we had an hour or so before we needed to return to our cottage. Now Hawes is known for being the home of Wensleydale the favourite cheese of Wallace of Wallace and Grommit fame.

Cheese was first made in the area by monks from a nearby monastery and cheesemaking continued even after they’d left. In May 1992, Dairy Crest, Board, closed the Hawes creamery transferring production of Wensleydale cheese to the Longridge factory in Lancashire. This didn’t go down too well in Yorkshire! However, following a management buyout, production restarted in Hawes. The business has flourished – helped by the publicity to Wensleydale cheese in the Wallace and Grommit films.

We decided to visit the creamery where there’s a shop and restaurant and factory tours. Unfortunately we’d missed the last tour so had to console ourselves by purchasing some cheese in the shop.

Returning to the car we drove back along the road to Ribblehead and then back down Ribblesdale. The weather had brightened up a little and I stopped to grab a photograph of Penyghent, partially lit up by the sun.

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Over Giggleswick Scar to Feizor

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The Tuesday of our holiday in Settle we spent mooching around the town and the “twin” village of Giggleswick and we went to a concert in the evening at the Victoria Hall to see a band called Moishe’s Bagel who played folk / world music. We’d never heard of them but thought it would be good to get out and we certainly enjoyed the evening. They are, apparently, regulars at the venue and it was certainly packed out with locals.

The following morning I planned a route that would take me over Giggleswick Scar, which we could see from the window in our holiday let, and then on over the moors to the hamlet of Feizor.

So, I booted up, packed my rucksack and set off over the bridge to Giggleswick.

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The view from the bridge (apologies to Arthur Miller!)

I skirted the village and was soon walking up on the open moor towards the Scar

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The view across to the hills I’d walked the previous Sunday
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Starting the climb up towards the scar. The summit of Penyghent just visible in the distance
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Continuing up the hill
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At the top of the climb I took the path under the dramatic limestone cliffs of Giggleswick Scar
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There were a number of caves visible up in the cliffs.
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Drystone walls even up here. It must have been hard work building this one that went right up and over the cliffs
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Towards the end of the scar the path turned right and climber up on to the moor
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Heading north now and Ingleborough appeared on the horizon
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I carried on, and after a while the small settlement of Fiezor came into view
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It’s a hamlet rather than a village but it has a rather good, and popular, cafe. Time to stop for a brew!
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Refreshed, it was time to recommence my walk, climbing over the stile immediately opposite the cafe
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On through a field, passing a couple of grazing donkeys
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and a herd of cattle. That looks like a bull over towards the wall. It was too busy munching to notice me but I didn’t hang around and hopped over the stile fairly sharpish!
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I was back on the open moor now, following the path towards Stainforth on the Dales High Way. That’s Pot Scar over the valley
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with Smearsett Scar further ahead. There was the possibility of climbing tot he top, but I carried on following the Dales High Way path. That’s a climb for another day, I think.
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The summit of Penyghent appeared in the distance
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Looking down into the “Happy Valley”, a glacial valley mentioned by Wainwright in his “Walks in Limestone Country”
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A section of limestone pavement
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Looking across towards Penyghent as I started to descend
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Descending towards Little Stainforth
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Coming off the moor
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Passing through the small settlement of Little Stainforth, also known as Knights Stainforth
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I passed the rather grand Knights Stainforth Hall, an old manor house built in 1672. It’s a Grade 2 listed building
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I carried on down the hill, reaching the old packhorse bridge we’d crossed only two days before. I decided to revisit the water fall and have a bite to eat while resting by the water.
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There wasn’t another soul to be seen – although an RAF transport plane flew over head while I rested. That woke me up, I can tell you!
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I took the path crossing the railway line and passed through Stainforth village, then made my way along the path that climbed up Stainforth Scar.
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The view back across the valley towards Ingleborough
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and over towards Penyghent
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Crossing the fields after climbing up the scar
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Taking the path towards Lower Winskill farm
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Passing the farm, I tool the path through the fields and started the descent towards Langcliffe
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It was a steep descent
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Looking back up the hill.
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Looking back to Stainforth Scar after I’d finished my descent
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I followed the old lanes through the network of fields. We’d walked along them on Monday.
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I reached Langcliffe, emerging by the Community hall,
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and then walked across the village green.
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I decided to take the old road back to Settle and then made my way back to our cottage. I was ready for a brew!

This was another good walk and I could see plenty of scope for variation – including climbing Smearsett Scar and visiting Catrigg Force waterfall. Further exploration of the area is certainly warrented.

Settle and Stainforth circular

The Monday of our holiday in Settle, the weather had changes somewhat, the skies having clouded over. However, rain wasn’t forecast so we set out on a walk. We thought we’d head along to Langcliffe on the old road from Settle and then, if the weather held, carry on to Stainforth- and that’s how it worked out.

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Walking on the old road from Settle to Langcliffe. No traffic at all! The road has drystone walls on both sides
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Looking over the fields towards Giggleswick and Giggleswick Scar from the old road
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Reaching Langcliffe we had a look around the old village with it’s large village green
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There’s been a settlement here from before the Norman invasion, but the village’s heyday would have been in the 18th century with the growth of the textile industry. Spinning was the first process to be mechanised with weaving done at home by hand loom weavers. This was eventually mechanised too and several mills were built in the vicinity. Most of the attractive looking stone cottages would have been the home of textile workers – they’re desirable homes and holiday lets these days
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The war memorial – there are 11 names listed from the First World War, and 4 from the Second World War.
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We set off down the old lane towards Stainforth
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The fields divided by dry stone walls, many of which were built following the enclosure of common land – effectively privatisation of the land – during the 17th and 18th centuries
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Ahead we could see Stainforth Scar.
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However, we back tracked a little and took the easier, flatter (albeit a little muddy) lower level route across the fields
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The route took us past the former lime works with the remains of the massive Hoffman continuous kiln, built for the Craven Lime Company in 1873.
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The remains of the Hoffman kiln
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Carrying on through the fields under Stainforth Scar

We reached the small village of Stainforth. I’d hoped we might to stop for a bite to eat in the local pub. I was disappointed though – it’s shut on Mondays!! So we carried on, crossing the main road and making our way down the quiet, narrow lane towards Stainforth bridge

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The old packhorse bridge over the River Ribble, built in the 17th Century, links the villages of Stainforth and Little Stainforth (also known as Knight Stainforth) and is today under the stewardship of the National Trust
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We crossed the bridge and joined the riverside path, making our way very carefully along the very muddy and slippy path towards Stainsforth force
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After stopping for a while to admire the view, we carried on along the riverside path back towards Langcliffe
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where we crossed over the bridge overlooking the weir.

We made our back along the old road to Settle where we stopped for a brew in a peasant cafe on the market square.

A longer Settle Loop

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Sunday morning I was up early and greeted by what promised to be a fine day. After a leisurely breakfast I mad up some sandwiches and a flask of coffee and got ready for a walk up on the hills. No need to drive anywhere to start the walk as I was able to set out from the front door.

A few months ago I’d seen Alistair Campbell (not my favourite person) walking in this area on a Winter Walk on TV. Watching this had inspired me to do some walking around here and when we were thinking of where we might stay for a short break, Settle came to mind. I’d seen a circular route from Settle on the Discovering Britain Website (the downloadable booklet describing the walk includes some very interesting information by a local) and had originally thought I’d follow that. However, on the day I decided to extend the walk, heading towards Malham and then looping back towards Langcliffe on the Pendle Bridleway. I could have extended further by popping into Malham, but a quick calculation suggested I’d have trouble getting back before sunset and didn’t want to get stuck in the dark on unfamiliar moors. Going into Malham was certainly doable but I’ll have to save that for another time when longer days would allow me to linger for a while.

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The view from the front door
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The neighbours across the road

I had to walk into Settle and then head up through the streets on to the old Langcliffe Road, before turning off onto the moor.

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Looking down over Settle
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Setting off down the lane onto the moor
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Zooming in onto the row of mill houses and the old mill. I could see our holiday home and our car!
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On the moor now. An old drystone wall on my right. I’d be saying mile upon mile of them during my walk
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I turned off the Langcliffe path climbing steeply up the hill. This is the view looking back down towards settle and the Giggleswick Scar
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Nearing the top of the climb Penyghent came into view
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Close to the summit of the path now, with the Warrendale Knotts on the left
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Well into limestone country now
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The limestone cliffs are riddled with caves
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Attermire Scar came into view
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Looking back towards the Warrendale Knotts
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Attermire Scar. It’s almost hard to believe that these mighty cliffs were created from the skeletal remains of tiny sea creatures
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Looking back again
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I stopped for a brew and a croissant and took yet another photo looking back to the limestome cliffs. The terrain to the left is very different as the scars mark the change from millstone grit to limestone geology. The land to the left is very boggy and that’s the origin of the name of Attermire – “mire” is an old word for bog
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Looking over the mire I had a hazy view of Pendle Hill
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The route now took me over a stile and onto the Stockdale Lane.
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I was on tarmac for a while on the quiet lane but it turned into a rough track after the turnoff for Stockdale farm. A gradual climb now for a few miles on the path towards Malham
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A couple of miles before Malham I turned north. Malham Tarn soon came into view
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zooming in
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A large herd of Belted Galloways were grazing quiety, not paying any attention tot he walkers and cyclists passing by
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I passed a section of limestone pavement
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and this long line of sheep
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The distinctive profile of Ingleborough came into view
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and, a little further on, Penyghent
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All three of the Three Peaks came into view
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Getting closer to Langcliffe I approached more Limestone scars
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There’s Jubilee cave – I popped up to have a quick look inside.
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There wasn’t much to see – just a black hole!
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Approaching the minor road from Langcliffe to Malham
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Looking down to Langcliffe
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Rather than walk down into the village, I cut off across the fields back towards Settle and then back to our holiday home.
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About 10 minutes before I arrived I got a phone call. It was J asking how long I’d be and did I want her to make a brew for when I got back. Did I? Silly question 🤣. And that was good timing!

A walk in the Howgills

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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

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I took the concessionary path through the farmyard and was soon on the fell.

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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.

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There weren’t many people around, but there were a few locals 🙂

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There were good views over the hills as I climbed, but there was also cloud coming in.

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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.

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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.

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Reaching the summit cairn I stopped to take in the views. Low cloud on Calder and the Calf.

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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.

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Looking back to the summit of Arant Haw

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.

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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

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I descended back into the valley and followed the path that ran parrallel tot he fell wall back in the direction of Sedbergh.

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A sheep fold in the valley near Crosdale beck

I reached the Crosdale valley

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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.

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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!

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the track towards High and Low Branthwaite

At Low Branthwaite I started to follow the Dales Way, and shortly afterwards reached the old Railway Viaduct which crosses the Lune.

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Looking down towards 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

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Looking across to the Howgills

which ran alongside the river.

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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.

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looking back along the Lune towards Lincoln’s Inn Bridge
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A view across the fields towards the Howgills
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The river was in spate
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another railway viaduct
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Keeping to the riverside path I reached the pleasant hamlet of Birks

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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 Quaker Trail and Winder

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Just a few days after my walk to Dent I was back in sedbergh early on Saturday morning. The weather forecast was good and I had planned to take a walk following the Quaker Trail, a route I’d heard about on John Bainbridge’s blog (Walking the Old Ways). There isn’t any information about the route on the web, but after reading John’s blog post I got hold of the leaflet* showing and describing the route from the information office during a previous visit to Sedbergh last year.

Sedbergh along with other places in the North West of England was effectively the birthplace of the Quaker movement. In 1652 the movement’s founder, George Fox climbed Pendle Hill in Lancashire, where he said that had a vision of a “great people to be gathered” waiting for him. the next day he was up on Firbank Fell, near Sedbergh, preaching to a large crowd, many of them Westmorland Seekers, and this is said to have been the birth of the Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers. I’d be visiting “Fox’s Pulpit”, the site of this event, during my walk.

Now I’m not religious but I have a lot of respect for the Quakers with their stance on Peace and equality, and this walk would give me a perspective on their early history and porvide a focus for a walk that would take me to parts of the countryside around Sedburgh that I wouldn’t otherwise visit. I also had in mind a variation to the route to take me up Winder, the hill overlooking Sedbergh, rather than to just skirt the bottom of the fell, depending on how I felt.

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An early start meant that I arrived in Sedbergh at 9 o’clock so any idea of grabbing a coffee before I set off was a no no as the shops and cafes don’t open until 10. So I set out, walking down the high street, past all the shops (nearly all closed!)

towards St Andrew’s church.

The route started here and took me round the church. I should have then cut across the public rights of way across the sedburgh School playing fields but they were barred due to Covid restrictions, which necessitated a diversion on the road.

passing the school neo-Gothic style chapel.

My old secondary school didn’t have anything like this nor the grand extensive sports fields and facilties. But then I’m only a pleb. Just looking at the facilites is enough to see why those who attend Public Schoold have a head start in life. the buildings all looked very nice, mind.

I was soon walking down a quiet country lane heading for the small hamlet of Birks

Looking back there was a grand view of the Howgill fells towering over Sedbergh.

After passing through Birks I took the path through pleasant fields

and under the disused railway line

and arrived at the first Quaker related site, the samll hamlet of Brigflatts with it’s Quaker burial ground

and Friends Meeting house

This simple whitwashed stone building was built in 1675. It’s normally open to visitors but was closed due to you know what. It would have been good to take a look inside as it retains many of the original oak furnishings. Not surprisingly, it’s a listed building.

I sat for a while in the peaceful garden

The Modernist poet, Basil Bunting wrote a long biographical poem entitled From Briggflatts (notice his spelling of the settlement has an extra g). He was actually from Northumbria but he

visited Brigflatts as a schoolboy when the family of one of his schoolfriends lived there, and it was at this time that he developed a strong attachment to his friend’s sister, Peggy Greenbank, to whom the poem is dedicated.

Wikipedia

There’s an extract and critique of the poem on the Guardian website.

He wrote another, much shorter poem about the Meeting House itself

At Briggflatts Meetinghouse

Boasts time mocks cumber Rome. Wren
set up his own monument.
Others watch fells dwindle, think
the sun’s fires sink.

Stones indeed sift to sand, oak
blends with saint’s bones.
Yet for a little longer here
stone and oak shelter

silence while we ask nothing
but silence. Look how clouds dance
under the wind’s wing, and leaves
delight in transience.

(source Durham University ⇨ Basil Bunting Poetry Centre )

So a literary, as well as a historical and religious significance for such a small group of buildings.

Moving on I had to walk down the pathless A683 for a hundred yards or so – but it was very quiet and only one vehicle and a couple of cyclists passed by. I then joined a track that led to Ingmire Hall, a 16th Century house, modified during the Victorian period, that was built around the remains of a pele tower

The route passed by the grounds of the grand house which wasn’t visible from the path.

It now took a long “dog leg” through the fields that eventually led to teh banks of the Lune and the old Lincoln’s Inn bridge

I’d driven over this narrow bridge on the way to Sedbergh from the M6

I crossed the bridge carefully and after a short stretch of road, I climbed over a stile and was back on a footpath through the fields just after Lincoln Inn farm. There was a most excellent view of the Howgills as I crossed the field

After crossing another minor road I crossed a field of sheep and then there was a steep climb through woodland

and then through another field and a farm track to reach another minor road.

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About half a mile up the road and I’d reached Fox’s Pulpit

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It was here that George Fox addressed a gathering of Westmorland Seekers. There used to be a chapel on the adjacent site but

Fox wouldn’t go into the chapel to preach but instead waited until the people emerged from the chapel at lunchtime and then climbed on to the nearby crag ….. and for three hours adressed the gathered crowd.

The Sedbergh Quaker Trail leaflet

He had his desired effect, convincing a significant number of his listeners and the even is seen as the founding of the Quaker movement. An annual event takes place close to the anniversary of the 1652 Meeting. Afterwards attendess go over to Brigflatts for refreshments.

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The text on the commemorative plaque reads

Let your lives speakHere or near this rock George Fox preached to about one thousand seekers for three hours on Sunday, June 13, 1652. Great power inspired his message and the meeting proved of first importance in gathering the Society of Friends known as Quakers. Many men and women convinced of the truth on this fell and in other parts of the northern counties went forth through the land and over the seas with the living word of the Lord enduring great hardships and winning multitudes to Christ.

The site is in the middle of nowhere, up on Firbank Fell, exposed to the elements – the old chapel was badly damaged by a storm in the 19th century and was demolished.

The “pulpit” stands at the foot of a group of knobbly hills known as the Knotts.

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I clambered up to the highest point and was treated to a magnificant panorama over the Howgill Fells.

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Looking in the other direction, I could just make out the distinctive profile of Ill Bell but long range visibility in that direction was too poor to get a good view over the Kentmere Fells. But, hety, the view over the Howgills more than made up for that.

While I was standing taking in the view I noticed that a number of locals were looking at me

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The Rough Fell sheep found up here are one of the three breeds of sheep native to Cumbria. They always seem much less timid than most breeds and often wander over to have a look at strangers.

I made my way down to the path skirting the bottom of the Knotts, passed through a couple of fields and then there was a short walk along the quiet road to Goodies farm

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where I turned down a track which took me downhill,

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over the course of the disused railway line

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and then down to the River Lune, crossing over the wooden footbridge

Looking down at the river

Leaving the river behind a path took me up to join the route of the Dales Way, which I now followed for a few miles in the direction of Sedburgh, initially passing through a farmyard

and then through fields of sheep with their lambs

Looking over to teh Knotts

Reaching the farm at Bramaskew, I turned off the Dales Way and took a path through more fields of sheep, crossing over another minor road and then over a stile on the path that took me up to and through Crosedale Wood

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and then on towards the fell gate

which took me onto the bottom of the fells.

Looking over to Arant Haw

The published route now followed the fell wall back towards Sedbergh, but this is where I decided that I would go up Winder, one of the smaller Howgill Fells, which overlooks Sedbergh.

I have to admit that I didn’t find the climb easy going. I am definitely not “fell fit”, but it wasn’t a long haul and I made it to the top

I stopped for a break and a bite to eat and took in the views.

Looking towards Arant Haw

and over to the Dales

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I was a little tempted by Arran haw, but decided I’d done enough, especuially as climbing Winder had felt like hard work – I really need to get more in shape – so started to make my way back off the fells to Sedbergh.

I arrived back in the small town at 3:30 so had time to go over to the Four Hares to buy myself a fortifying coffee and to treat myself to a rather tasty raspberry frangipane. Yummy.

It was just as well that the shops shut at 4 o’clock. Sedbergh is a “Book Town” and most shops have a stock of second hand books. I did find time to browse for a short time in the Information centre where they have a large selection, but I managed to avoid temptation. Sedbergh might be Book Town but I live in Book House and I have rather a large “to be read” pile at the moment, not counting all the unread e-books on my Kindle!

I sat on a bench in the small garden by the Information Centre enjoying my coffee and cake in the sunshine, but I hadn’t done quite yet. It was far too nice a day to drive home just yet, so I decided to dump my rucksac in the boot and take a stroll through the town and along the river side. But this post has gone on long enough! 😉

p.s. Nobody tried to convert me during this walk!

*A booklet on the Sedbergh Quaker Trail with a route description, including maps, can be purchased from the Information Centre for the modest price of £1:50

Bog trotting to Dent

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I managed to take a day off work mid week to make the most of some decent weather and get out for a walk. I didn’t fancy driving too far so decided on Sedbergh. After my walk up Seat Sandal I realised I wasn’t “fell fit” so opted for a less strenuous walk exploring the hills to the south of the small town rather than attempting the Howgills and also explore an area I’d never been to before – Dentdale. I’d spotted a route on the Sedbergh town website and based my plans on that, extending the walk to start from Sedbergh town centre and taking in Dent village before looping back. It crossed the low fell of Frostwick but wouldn’t involve too much strenuous climbing. I should, however have taken more notice of a comment in the walk description

“The path, can be very boggy in places”

and taken a closer look at the Harvey map which is very good at showing boggy areas.

It was a Wednesday and I hadn’t realised it was market day in Sedbergh, but I managed to find a space in the Market Square Car park – the small town wasn’t exactly heaving. I had a quick look over the small number of stalls, mainly selling local produce – meat, cheese and vegetables – and wish now that I’d picked up some of the tempting goodies on offer!

I booted up and then walked through the town and crossed the “New Bridge” over the River Rawthey. I passed a snack van parked in the lay by just after the bridge and, although it was only about 11 o’clock, the aroma of the bacon was just too tempting, so I had to stop and buy myself a bacon buttie. Very good it was too.

I carried on along the A684 for a short distance and then turned up the lane that led up to Frostrow, passing a number of houses and farms.

After the last farm, the tarmaced lane turned into a stoney track and then, after climbing a ladder stile I was on the path that would take me up over the moor.

As i started to climb there was a great view back to Sedbergh and the Howgills

This part of the route was part of the Dales High Way and is was easy to follow on the ground. But there were substantial stretches of boggy land to traverse, despite the weather being reasonably dry of late.

It was impossible to keep my boots dry as I tried to hop from one patch of drier land to another, but for much of the way it was a lost cause. However, I didn’t get sucked in to the peat (well, not too often or too deep, anyway) and although my boots got wet they’re waterproof so my feet stayed dry.

It was quiet and lonely up on the moor. There wasn’t another soul up there. Real “social isolation”.

As I was walking up the moor, cloud had been coming in and patches of the sky looked pretty dark for a while. But the cloud didn’t persist too long and largely cleared during the afternoon.

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Enjoying the walk and deep in thought as I walked across the moor, I missed my turning that would take me down in Dentdale, continuing to climb Aye Gill Pike. I’d gone probably a mile walking through the boggiest section of the moor before I realised my mistake and had to retrace my steps. There was a sign by the path announing the start of the area of Open access land, and this is where I should have turned right and gone through the gate to start descending off the moor. I didn’t miss it again, though, as I came back down from the bog.

I could see Dent village down in the valley as I descended down the path, which was still part of the Dales High Way.

I passed a farm

where the path turned into a lane which then took me down hill as far as the road from Sedbergh to Dent

After walking along a short stretch of road I reached the bridge which took the road over the River Dee (not, of course the one that runs through Chester). However, I continued straight on along a minor road that ran close to the right bank of the river

Looking over towards Aye Gill Pike .

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After about a mile I took a path that cut across a field and then crossed the bridge and walked down the road into Dent. I needed to be careful now and keep my eyes open for one of those Terrible Knitters.

Dent is a small village and is one of those places that are frozen in time, with lots of attractive old cottages and other buildings and with minimal more modern development.

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I passed the old chuch of St Andrews, built in the12th Century but obviously having undergone several modifications since then.

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I spotted a branch of Martins bank. I was definitely in a time warp then, as Martins was taken over by barclays in 1969!

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After wansering around the streets of the village (which didn’t take long) I set off on the return leg of my journey. I’d now be following the Dales way back to Sedbergh which initially took me along the south bank of the river

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After a couple of miles the route left the riverbank and joined a quiet road for about a mile.

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At brackensgill farm I turned off the road on to a path through the fields

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and on to a footbridge where I crossed the river.

The path then took me to the Sedbergh to Dent road which I crossed and then took the track that started to climb the fell. The Dales Way, which I was still following, then veered to the left gradually climbing and contouring along the side of the hill heading towards Sedbergh.

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After a while Sedbergh, backed by the Howgills came into view

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I came down off the fell into the small settlement of Millthrop, a very pleasant former mill village

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I walked down to the road and crossed over Millthrop Bridge. Built in the 17th Century it’s a listed building.

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A short distance after the bridge I took a path that cut across the fields up to towards Winder House, which is part of the Sedbergh Public School

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The path then took me past sport fields down to the centre of the village.

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It was almost 6 o’clock now, so, as everything in Sedbergh shuts no later than 4 o’clock, there was nowhere to stop and treat myself to a brew. So it was off with the boots and back in the car for the drive home.

A walk in the Westmorland dales

A couple of weeks ago I drove up the M6 to the Westmorland Dales near to Orton, which I’d last visited back in June. I fancied a walk somewhere relatively quiet and I knew this area in the north of the Yorkshire Dales National Park (despite being in Cumbria) would fit the bill. It was forecast to be a fine day and I knew that the Lakes and the more popular parts of the Dales were likely to be busy. It’s not far off the motorway and only just over an hour’s drive from home – at least when the traffic isn’t so heavy on the M6.  The terrain is different from most of the lakes too – it’s limestone country. I parked up in a small rough parking area a couple of miles north of Orton village, donned my boots and set off. I had a route in mind, longer than during my last visit, treading over some of the same ground.

It was a fine, bright morning – a little chilly after a cloud free night in autumn. Looking over to the Pennines in the distance there was cloud over Cross Fell (the highest point in England outside of the Lake District), Great Dun Fell and High Cup Nick.

I walked over the moor and turning south and made my way over the limestone pavement towards the monument on Beacon Hill.

There was a small group of cyclists sitting by the monument. I sat down a few metres away from them and had a coffee from my flask.

Looking back over the limstone pavement towards the Pennines

and over to the North Lakes – there’s Blencathra with its distinctive “saddeback” in the distance

I carried on down towards the extensive limestone pavement of Grat Asby Scar

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There were very few people about.

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Quite a few sheep, mind

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After a while the path turned into a track and then joined a minor road. I continued along the tarmac about half a kilometre then turned south along a path through the fields. I watched a couple of shepherds herding a small flock into the back of their trailer. There were more sheep further on and some cattle too.

Looking over farmland towards the Pennines

At the end of the fourth field my I turned right beside the drystone wall heading south west. Last time I was up here there were cattle in the field close to the path that were eying me up. I’d felt a little nervous. There were cattle here again, with their calves, but further back from the path. One of them was making quite a bit of noise so I made my way briskly to the gate into the next field. I carried on eventually reaching more limestone pavement. Reaching a junction I turned south down the route of the long distance trail, the Dales High Way – a path I hadn’t followed during previous visits.

I carried on down the Dales High Way, through fields

passing stunted trees

heading towards Sunbiggin tarn, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

with views of the Howgill Fells in the distance

Time to stop for a little while to eat my packed lunch and drink another coffee. It’s quite a lonely place, off the beaten track. There were a couple of horse riders just up the hill and a couple of cars parked up on the road, but their owners must have been off on a walk.

I retraced my steps for about a kilometre and then turned west towards the small settlement of Sunbiggin

I was now on the route of the Coast to Coast path and passed a few walkers heading in the opposite direction, at least some of them following the long distance route.

I walked on a short section of tarmac before turning west across more fields.

I spotted these unusual spotted sheep in a field from the road

I’d never seen sheep like them before and a little research on the Internet revealed them to be Dutch Spotted Sheep. An unusual breed in the UK.

There were good views over to the Howgills

Back onto softer ground which was muddy in places, especially by the gates, following some recent heavy rain.

There were sheep in some of the fields I had to cross, which wasn’t a worry. I could see some cattle in adjacent fields, and was hoping I’d be able to avoid them. However, there were a few young beasties along with sheep in the final field I had to cross. It looked like they might have been bullocks and they weren’t so far off the path. Half way across the field I made the mistake of turning my head to check were they were and met the eye of one of them which immediately started to charge directly toward me! Definitely a bullock then. I stared to shout and wave my arms and, fortunately, it veered off a short distance from me. A close shave as I would certainly have sustained some injuries if it had made contact. I didn’t hang around but made my way as quickly as I could across the field, through the mud and over the stile onto the track on the other side of the wall.

My route required a right hand turn now but I made a short diversion. Turning left, in the field to the left of the track there’s the Gamelands stone circle, one of the largest circles in Cumbria.

The last time I was over here, in April 2017 it wasn’t possible to access the stones and we had to peer at them over the wall. However, since then a gate has been installed and it was possible to get in amongst them for a closer look.

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Unfortunately the stones have all been knocked over and some have been removed but the circle was impressive enough and definitely worth my minor detour.

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Back on the track I headed north, passing an old lime kiln

and then making my way through more fields (no cattle this time, only sheep!)

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The cloud had really come in now, killing the bright light from earlier in the day.

Looking west towards the Shap Fells

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I made my way back over Beacon Hill and then took the path across the limestone untoil I reached a gravel track. Turning left, a short walk and I was back at the car.

After changing out of my boots and dumping them along with my rucksack into the boot of the car I set off down the road to Orton. Rather than head straight down to Tebay and the the Motorway Junction I decided to take the minor road towards Shap and joined the Motorway at the junction there. This allowed me to pay a visit to the Tebay services and stock up with some goodies from the farm shop.

The traffic on the M6 was quite heavy from Lancaster down to the M61 Junction, so it took me a little longer to get home than my morning journey up to the start of my walk. But I was still home in good time for my tea!

The weather wasn’t so good last Sunday so I didn’t get out and since then Greater Manchester has joined Lancashire County by having Tier 3 Covid restrictions placed on us. This half baked lockdown means that it looks like it’s going to be local walks for a while.