All the walks have been graded as 'moderate' or 'easy' in difficulty. This means that we will be walking over ground that may be may be rough, stony or boggy. A reasonable fitness level is therefore needed on uneven, rising/falling ground. Participants need to take responsibility for their own comfort and safety by wearing suitable footwear as well as warm and waterproof clothing. Participants also need to bring a packed lunch and drink.
If you want to lead a walk or have an idea for a walk, please get in touch through the secretary -email@example.com
Please note some walks will incur addition costs eg entrance fees or fares.
Are you planning on joining a walk?
Please contact the leader with any specific queries.
It’s helpful if walk leaders have some idea of who is intending on coming on a walk. It makes it possible to arrange lifts/car sharing and makes cancelling easier in the event of very bad weather. It prevents hanging about waiting at picking up points. It is especially important if you are going directly to the start of the walk. Please contact walk leader the night before or at least half an hour before the meeting time at Broughton.
Where the leaders are going to the walk start directly, a Broughton contact will be given to co-ordinate travel.
27th October 2018 – Heysham Head
Lindsay Harrison 462930
09:00 Broughton Square: 10:45 Heysham Village Car Park SD 411614
Visit Heysham Heritage Centre, once a longhouse, Village walk to St Patricks Chapel, Rock Graves. Beach Rock Art. Drive to Torrisholme Long Barrow and 14th Century Rectory at Warton
NOTE: REPORTS OF PREVIOUS WALKS CAN BE SEEN BELOW THIS YEAR'S PROGRAMME
3: 27th October 2018 – Heysham Head
Lindsay Harrison 462930
09:00 Broughton Square: 10:45 Heysham Village Car Park SD 411614
Visit Heysham Heritage Centre, once a longhouse, Village walk to St Patricks Chapel, Rock Graves. Beach Rock Art. Drive to Torrisholme Long Barrow and 14th Century Rectory at Warton
4: 8th November 2018 – Burial Kist Cairns of the Dunnerdale Fells
Gail Batten 716840
10:00 Broughton Square; 10:30 Kiln Bank Cross SD 215933
5 miles moderate to hard but with a shorter easy option
5: 17th November 2018 – Ulverston’s Industrial History
Rob McKeever 583084
10:00 Broughton Square; 10:30 Canal Foot, Bay Horse Inn SD 314777
Plumpton Lime Quarries, remains of Iron Mines and lunch at Canal Foot. Saltcoats, Sandside, Priory Point, Shipyards, Iron. Chemical and Brickworks, railway remains.
5 miles level walking
6: 7th February 2019 – Secret Barrow
Stephe Cove 773965 & Dave Hughes 716659
09:30 Broughton Square; 10:15 Town Hall car park SD 198690
Tour of the Town Hall at 10:30, then celebrity graves at the Cemetery or the Archives if wet
Easy – not much walking but some stairs
7: 21st February 2019 – Torver Low Common
Mervyn Cooper 582379
10:00 Broughton Square; 10:30 Torver Parish Rooms SD 285943
An archaeological trek, visiting Medieval bloomeries, a scheduled monument, cairnfield, a burnt mound and a mystery aquarium
4.7 miles moderate
8: 7th March 2019 – Above Coniston
Alison Matthews 015394 41343
10:00 Broughton Square; 10:30 Layby RC Church Coniston SD 299967
Taking in former corn mill, water mill, small scale quarrying, agriculture and industry, descend around Scrow to Miners Bridge and disused railway.
Late lunch at Ship Inn for those who want it.
4.5 miles, moderate possibly muddy, some steep slopes and rough ground
9: 23rd March 2019 - A Siverdale Circular
Dave Hughes 716659 & Stephe Cove 773965
09:15 Broughton Square; 09:30 Greenodd; 10:30 Eaves Wood Car Park SD 470759
Car share essential as limited parking at start
Woodland, coastal and urban walking to Arnside Tower and Jenny Brown’s Point
7.5 miles moderate
10: 4th April 2019 – Finsthwaite Ramble
Sue Lydon 480254
10:00 Broughton Square; 10:45 Stott Park Bobbin Mill SD 372882
11:00 tour with fee for Non English Heritage members then around Finsthwaite with guide to buildings
3 miles easy
11: 27th April 2019 - Eskdale
Sally Varian 015395 31608
09:45 Broughton Square: 10:30 Dalegarth Station Car Park NY 173007
Visiting St Catherine's Church, ancient bloomery, peat cutters track and hut, Stanley Gill
4 miles with the option of a short cut. Magnificent views.
11th October 2018 – The Hill to Millom Castle
Ken Lindley 774657
10:00 Broughton Square; 10:20 Rock Park parking, School Ellis SD 173834
Taking in ancient Holy Trinity Church, guided tour of Millom Castle (small charge) and history of iron ore mining
5 miles with three short uphill sections
29th September 2018 - An Ulpha Circuit - Ken Day
A record 25 people took part, numbers boosted by having the event publicised on Facebook.
The weather was bright and cool; ideal for a 5.5 mile walk in the Duddon Valley.
Meeting at the lay- byes at Ulpha Bridge, the start was a gentle climb on a tarmac track, and forest path, until the open fell was reached. The Quaker burial ground was the first point of call, The first burial was recorded as being in 1662 with last being in 1775. The burial ground had subsequently been used as an unsuccessful apple orchard and had then been planted with trees. All around are flag-stones let into the walls for seating.
On then to meet the Kiln Bank road where we pondered if ancient peoples from the higher up Bronze Age sites had once walked. Time then for a quick refreshment break before descending the beautifully constructed zig-zag path down to the Valley bottom and on to Hall Dunnerdale Bridge. There on the parapet was the engraved outline of a monster salmon caught in 1936.
Back along the road, over a dodgy stile into Low Wood and the steep unforgiving track to the lowest of the dressing platforms of Commonwood Slate Quarries. Time then for lunch and with energy levels back, it was up to the higher workings of the quarries where tales of the quarrymen were related. For a fearless few there was the chance to see the 'big hole' from where he slate was extracted. Still uphill on well defined paths, the summit was soon attained.
It was then just a meander down to where the ghostly but majestic remains of Grimecragg House were viewed. By now the line of walkers ha stretched to several hundred yards. Crossing open meadow, the track to Hazel Head farm was reached, passing Grimecragg Bridge on the way. Walking through the farm buildings, the tail enders were soon out of sight and it took some while for them to catch up. Then it was a stroll across a field, home to Herdwick rams, and on to the Birker Fell Road, before the descent, using the way marked path to Ulpha. Here many enjoyed the delights of Wendy's Post Office store. Next stop was St John's Church to inspect the headstone of Thomas Williams, a welsh slate worker and one-time lessee of the Quarries who had died 1880 after tripping and drowning in a quarry pool. Inside the Church, which dates to around 1570, the remains of classical murals could be seen, including one bearing the Arms of Queen Anne (1665-1714) who provided a benefice for the pay of a priest. All that then remained was the short walk back to the starting point.
14th April 2018: Ings Stroll - Ken Day
A glorious walk, with glorious views on a glorious day with excellent company. How could it possible be bettered? Well surprises indeed added to the enjoyment.
Shortly after turning off the lane at Grassgarth, what at first looked like a tumble of rocks, closer inspection revealed an enclosure with a relic wall stretching for over 50 meters. The next field was even more remarkable. Sue spotted a drain system, covered with slate over which grass had offered camouflage. This led to a platform area where a number of machined stone blocks were sitting in nearby bushes. In he adjacent stream, running from Borrans Reservoir, were the remains of a 19th Century water pipe. Clearly some sort of industry, possibly a mill had once been located in the area. How would we know? Jennifer agreed to search the Historical and Environment Record.
We continued on a leisurely stroll with views to Weatherlam. Crinkle Crags and the Langdale Pikes, passing beautiful old farmsteads on our way down into the village of Ings.
A change to clean shoes were required before entering the 18th Century parish church of St Ann. Members who heard the talk given by Andy Lowe on Lakeland Churches may remember that this church was bestowed by Robert Bateman, local lad made good, who spent his adult life in the marble industry at Livorno, Italy.
As we opened the door we were greeted by a magnificent organ recital. The organist turned out to be a very knowledgeable local historian. She showed us behind the scenes of the Church, pointing out how the marble floor bequeathed by Robert Bateman had been adapted as well as revealing the marble inlay on the altar, which itself had been extended. Into the vestry where war time carvings on the back of the organ were displayed, and where we were also shown an 1855 tapestry of the Church. But equally important was the fact that our organist was able to say that the industrial site we had come across was indeed a former mill. Advising us of the location of Reston Hall, which Bateman had built but never lived in, we adjourned for a pleasant late lunch at the Watermill Inn.
What a pity that there were only four of us on the walk.
24th February 2018: Burneside to Kendal and back - Stephe Cove
On Saturday 24th February, a glorious day with a hint of spring between the bitter gusts of wind, Stephe Cove led a well attended walk which could have been entitled “Three Rivers and a Quirky Mill”. Setting off from Burneside we walked first to Sprint Mill, beside the tumbling Sprint River. The mill has stood since 1840 and been used for fulling for the woollen industry, and some of its features can still be found if you looked beyond the “contents”. This is a collector’s paradise with a difference. The owner, Edward Acland met us and took us on a wonderful journey. He and his wife have lived here since the 1970s developing the smallholding of 15 acres where waste is used as a resource, and by living off the land letting nature provide. First he showed us the hand turned machinery he still uses for chopping up straw, and another for chopping fruit etc. In the mill itself there are complete boats, including a currach made of wickerwork and hides Edward has built, and bits of boats, tools and bits of tools, dozens of carpenter’s planes, drawers and shelves, ledges and beams brimming with the known and unknown, old and not so old, carvings and sculptures, and in one corner a tray laid out with a child’s toy zoo! We were guided from room to room down and up stairs as Edward talked about his collections with pride. Shelves of jars contained anything from bat droppings to different coloured sawdust, wood shavings, paint scrapings; the list is endless. In the middle of one room amongst the furniture were sacks of potatoes, stacks of withies, sticks and wood. On every wall were wonderful patterned collages made up of different coloured wood shavings, sawdust, twine, and paint.
All too soon we were guided outside across the Sprint River by a footbridge he had built, to be shown what can be done with a plot of land. Edward bought 7 acres to use environmentally, and he showed us how he had divided the land into 10 small plots with different uses. One was for a hay meadow with all its wild flowers, another used as an orchard, and the wide boundaries contained a row of damson trees and a small coppice wood in different stages of development. Some of the hazel was used for his biomass fuel, some was sold to make the walls for yurts.
This was an experience not to be forgotten and a definite plan to revisit.
We had almost forgotten the walk; however, our leader dragged us away across fields to have lunch in the sun by the Mint River. This was followed to its confluence with the Kent River which led us back towards Kendal and then back to Burneside.
27th January 2018: Coniston Copper - Mervyn Cooper
The forecast was a source of optimism, but the heavy rain in Millom and the flooded road on the way to Coniston were telling a different story. Well, we went anyway and the rain stopped and, although the wind blew, we set off up the hill.
Mervyn, full of information about the copper mines and practising for future LDNP guided walks, took us up to Red Dell bringing in history, geology and lurid tales of why not to jump across mine shafts shouting “Geronimo” and why not to fall into wheel pits while the machinery was still in motion.
I was surprised that we managed to cross the spillway at Levers Water where we huddled in a hollow for lunch. Then down to Boulder Valley and back round to the Paddy End Works where the wind was really strong.
After a look round the Upper and Lower Bonsor Mills, where the collection of machinery has been joined by some water wheels rescued from Nent Head, we left Coppermines Valley. We crossed the beck at Miners Bridge and came down into the village past the Copper Wharf where the old railway line been extended beyond the station to take away the slate and copper ore.
Then it started to rain. But we didn’t care by then because we’d had a great day out. Thanks Mervyn
3rd December 2017: Around Stickle Pike and Rock Art? - Gail Batten
This was a glorious walk on a glorious day.
We started by looking at the cairn field just to the north east of Kiln Bank Cross. Retracing our steps, we next visited the large burial cairn by the roadside. Then it was off to the base of Stickle Pike to examine a WW11 Home Guard defence pit. Taking the track to the east and south of Stickle Tarn, we encountered several ring cairns which not have been previously recorded, where we also discovered enigmatic stones across the path, similar to but larger than those on Woodland Fell and Langdale.
From there we carried on south to a bronze age hut circle where we picked up the path turning east, joining the packhorse track, past Hovel Knot and the cruik barn and on to Scrithwaite Farm.
Then began the long, arduous climb north up towards Hare Hall where we diverted from the track up to a knoll where several outcrops bear, what appear to be 'cup marks' or bronze age 'Rock Art'. Picking up the trail leading directly ahead we continued up, passing mine workings then down a beautiful miners road to join the road just below Kiln Bank Cross and our cars.
Five and half miles in four and a half hours, with plenty to see and talk about.
Well done Gail.
13th November 2017: The Green to Thwaites and Return - Ken Lindley
Amazing! We had twenty people start the walk and almost that number when we finished. (Several left when they were close to their homes near the end of the return leg.) Ken had thoroughly researched this walk which was full of historical interest.
We met at Pin Hole car park, Strands. Heading for Green Road Station we passed the old pumping station that, until the 1960s, supplied water from Black Beck to Millom Iron Works. Green Road did not originally have a station, goods and passengers being picked up at track-side. From there it was a leisurely, if muddy, stroll on the embankment to Lady Hall, crossing the railway on two occasions. At Lady Hall we had a pleasant lunch break, enjoying the sun and views from Jeff and Adrienne's garden. On then through Lady Hall spotting the former Glebe Pub, now a private home, commanding an enviable position. From there it was a steady climb to the A595 and the site of a 14th Century bloomery, which History Group members helped to excavate in 2016. Next, with permission, we entered the gardens of Beck Bank farm for the stiff climb to Banks Wood, with its numerous charcoal pitsteads. Near the summit was a wonderful potash kiln in need of minor remedial work to prevent the vent collapsing. But that was outshone just a few hundred yards further on by a second potash kiln that worked in tandem with another, now collapsed, by its side. We then joined the lane leading back down to the A595 and made our way to Broadgate to examine, a pretty much intact, water wheel used to drive machinery for the neighbouring wood yard.
Crossing the main road and finding our way blocked by a trailer, on Ricky's advice, we took a slight detour across open country. Ken led us to the mill pond that fed a woollen mill which made army blankets and rag matting among many other products. On then to Arnaby, where in a private garden we were shown the remains of a substantial 16th Century house which had its own brewery. Ken than pointed out the site of the site of Arnaby Tarn now dry, which might once have been a retting pond.
It was then just a few hundred yards back to our cars.
A most enjoyable day, excellent companionship and fine weather. Well done Ken, we will be looking to you for another walk next season!
28th October 2017: Arnside Tower to Jenny Brown's Point - Dave Hughes
Three set out in the wet with the promise of an improving forecast and met a fourth at Silverdale - good job we'd set off and not left Lindsay waiting in vain. The walk took us through woods to Arnside tower, an interesting ruin that you see from the train, then through the caravan site and down to the beach at The Cove (no relation). We ate lunch in the shelter of a wall with the wind roaring overhead as if we were by the M6. We wandered along the coast and through the village to Jack Scout. an area of limestone crags with a wonderful limestone seat looking out over the bay. Lindsay has walked the area a lot but hadn't known about this. Down the lane we went to Jenny Brown's Point and the mysterious remains that are getting the full archaeologicl treatemnt over the next week or so. Lindsay's fossil fish looked more like a plant to to me but impressive none the less. There's a steepish climb from the beach and then it was through the woods and across the fields back to the car. And it only rained a little bit. Stephe
7th October 2017: Holme Mills - Jennifer Gallagher
23rd September 2017: Lancaster Canal - Bob Bell
Although only 5 members of the DVLHG took part on the walk – all who did so had an enjoyable day. The train from Foxfield to Carnforth was on time and the walk duly commenced from Carnforth station at the appointed hour. We first joined the Kendal – Lancaster canal at the Canal Turn public house in Carnforth. This was clearly the basin for Carnforth where coal and other general cargo would have been discharged throughout the 19th century. The whole of the canal from Preston to Kendal Gas Works was still in use until 1947 for the transport of coal & coke. Although in reality the heyday of this canal was between 1800 and 1840 – prior to the arrival of the railways. The canal – known as the “Black & White Canal” - was still of commercial use into the 20th century as it carried limestone from the quarries at Holme & Burton-in- Kendal south whilst coal was carried north.
There are vestiges of the “old world” all along the towpath where we walked. Milestones are still in place here and there showing distances from one end of the canal on one side and from the other end of the canal on the reverse side. The bridges over the canal are all of a similar “beautiful” style numbered as chance would have it from 125 at Carnforth to 100 close to the Waterwitch public house in Lancaster where our walk finished. The original arches are designed uniformally so that on the tow-path side there is extra height to allow the horses to drag the barges safely underneath. On nearly all the bridges the rope marks are still to be seen where they chafed as the horses dragged the fully laden barges below.
As well as the “old world” the canal has also had to adjust to the needs of the “new world” and a very fine modern bridge has been built to carry the new 21st century Heysham –M6 Link Road over the canal.
The highlight of our walk was of course the Lune Aqueduct. Built by John Rennie in 1794 and open for business in 1797 its construction almost bankrupted the canal at the start. It is a remarkable piece of engineering for the period and by following the contours of the countryside it meant that no locks were required on the canal all the way from Preston to Tewitfield – a distance of 42 miles. When the canal enters Lancaster we could see where former mills and their warehouses (now converted to industrial units and modern apartments) were constructed to make use of the canal. The Waterwitch public house is itself the conversion of a large stable block adjoining the main cargo basin In Lancaster city centre.
For those unable to join us on the day of the walk I would highly recommend it. The towpath is level and either tarmac or at worst gravel for the entire 9 miles of the route. There are no potholes and we had no problem even with puddles as the day of our walk was dry. This meant that the reflections of the sky in the water and the constant turning of the canal were a delight for us all. We never knew quite what was round the next corner. For anyone who feels that he/she would not wish to walk 9 miles it is worth remembering that much of the canal from Carnforth to Hest Bank adjoins the A6 where the “555” bus service Lancaster – Keswick passes each hour. This bus service was in the past a favourite of Lancaster University students heading for the Lake District at weekends and is now even more appreciated by those of us who have bus passes.
16th September 2017: White Maiden - Keith Nixon
Saturday 20th May 2017: Broughton Mills circular via Haws, Picthall Ground and Croglinghurst - Ken Day
Starting from Broughton Mills village hall car park and passing by the old corn mill, this end of season 4 miles stroll took in a potash pit, a fine example of a cruik barn, retting ponds with drainage tunnel and filter bed and enigmatic field structures before veering off to the farming hamlet at Croglinghurst. At the end of the walk and passing beyond the old wood mill there was the unexpected bonus of the well preserved lime kiln hidden at the bottom of a Shop Street garden! And this excellent walk was completed in fine style by a visit to the Blacksmiths Arms for a well-deserved lunch.
A really interesting and entertaining outing. Thanks Ken.
13th May 2017: Torver, Hare Crag and High Common - Alison Matthews
Set off from the junction of main A593 road and Crook Barn turning, to climb up to the summit of Hare Crags (820 ft) to view an earth circle with shallow depressions on both inner and outer sides. Views from here are amazing with an outlook over the Torver valley and in the opposite direction to the summits of Dow Crag and the Old Man. Perhaps this was a place of worship but nothing definite is known.
Continued on, passing by spoil tips, to Bannishead slate quarry with the quarry floor some 50 feet below now flooded, hiding the tunnel exit below the water line where slate was removed. The tunnel emerges in a long cutting leading downhill that once was a roadway out of the quarry.
We moved on to the High Common to find Bannishead stone circle. Further on there are the remains of what was later identified as rifle butts which were used by various volunteer corps until at least 1916. A structure to the west of them may have been connected with grouse shooting.
An excellent and interesting day out. Thanks Alison.
6th May 2017: Kirkby Moor from the Railway Station - Sue Batten
An entertaining walk starting by crossing the railway line to walk along the foreshore before recrossing the line and turning inland via Cart House and taking in the history of Soutergate and Beck Side and up on to Kirkby Moor to find, in a slight depression, large scattered pieces of slate set out in a boat shape. A subject for speculation.
Stunning views of the Duddon estuary and the mosses on the way back downhill, passing by Kirkby Hall and the inclined trackway that provided transport from the slate quarries to the port and later to the railway at Sandside.
Thanks to Sue for an entertaining walk and for the history of Soutergate.
1st April 2017: A Satterthwaite Circular - Alan Westall
18th March 2017: Stone Circle Find or Not? - Gail Batten
Weather wet and raining, 7 degrees C, low cloud and mist.
Undeterred by the conditions, Gail led us from the shelter of the parish room passing by the site of the old carding mill and on beyond the Newfield to a track through woodland to arrive at the river bank and the Memorial Bridge. This fine stone bridge over the Duddon built in memory of Aida Borchgrevink, a resident of the valley in the early years of the last century, was commissioned by her daughter and built in 1933. The plaque on the wall of the bridge has Aida's initials (AB) and Greek letters alpha and omega intertwined with a star (her maiden name was Starr).
We crossed the bridge to pass High Wallowbarrow Farm, noting harr-hung gates in passing, to climb up the slope and over the fell with the track flanked by splendid and substantial walling on the approach to Grassguards farm. Here we stopped to take shelter in the barn, courtesy of the kind owner who took pity on us.
After a brief respite we set off again following a forestry road to see a stone circle, situated in a convenient location just beside the road. General consensus was that the circle was constructed in the recent past for a bit of fun, a view reinforced when discovering that the prop for one of the stones was loose causing the stone to wobble. Just our opinion, of course.
On the return journey we paused on the slope above Wallowbarrow farm to be shown the outlines of ancient retting ponds in the valley bottom. Near where we stopped was what seems to be an earth platform - for storage perhaps? Returned via Tarn Beck, in spate now, passing by remains of sluice gates that once controlled water flow into the carding mill race.
A very interesting walk and worth repeating, although maybe in drier conditions.
Weather fine and dry, 7 degrees C, light breeze, visibility good.
Peter led us from Bardsea sea front car park to walk past C17th Wellhouse and uphill onto Birkrigg Common to visit the Druids circle, one of the few double stone circles in Britain. Excavation here in 1900 revealed evidence of several cremations and an urn. Uphill next, with skylarks singing overhead, to the site of a Bronze Age settlement surrounded by an earth bank and with tumuli nearby.
The walled Quaker burial ground at Sunbrick was our next stop. This must have been a significant settlement in the C17th because George Fox is reputed to have visited and his wife Margaret Fox is buried here. We moved further towards the top of Birkrigg and the trig point to enjoy fine views of distant fells in front of us and light reflecting from the wet sands of the bay behind.
Heading for Urswick, we had to pause while Lindsay who was determined to see St Michael's Stirrup stone that was hidden in the vegetation beat aside accumulations of bracken until he uncovered the approx one metre high standing stone, below.
In Urswick we called in at the church with its square tower, the lower part pre-Norman, to admire the C12th Norman font, the wood carvings, the stained glass, and the C10th Viking cross shaft uncovered during building work in 1911. Close by the church we saw the priapus stone, incongruously forming part of the roadside wall, and then continued onwards to visit Urswick Stone Walls Iron Age settlement and burial chambers.
On our return journey to Bardsea Peter took us on a detour to visit Skelmore Heads Bronze Age hill fort and the nearby remains of a barrow with just two standing stones visible. We then passed the site of what once was Bardsea Hall (demolished 90 years ago and now home to a golf club) whose owner Nicholas Bardsea was killed during the civil war in 1642. Subsequent inhabitants continued to be involved in religious and political conflict during the C17th and early C18th periods.
A very satisfying walk, full of interest and completed just before rain started.
Though overcast, rain held off and 11 of us set off through the forest up to The Hawk. This is a wall enclosed settlement site dating to the early centuries A.D. (or possibly Iron Age) - and includes 4 roundhouses, one of which has been excavated. Bracken clearance by DVLHG volunteers over the past few years has made a remarkable improvement to the appearance of the site.
Walk continued up past Natty Bridge and then turning south into Stephenson Ground Scale. Here guided by a site brochure from Broughton TIC, we visited the Double-walled Medieval Longhouse, the Bronze-age Round House, the early Medieval (possibly Viking) Longhouse and Bronze - age cairns (probably burial).
Walk returned past Stevenson Ground Farm - where the Water Yeat(s) constructed of hexagonal Rhyolite bars, quarried locally, were of interest.
An enjoyable day.
4th Feb 2017: Hampsfell and Cartmel Priory - Bob Bell
This walk set out to visit the Hospice (refuge) on Hampsfell above the village of Cartmel followed by a short visit to Cartmel Priory. A total of 14 walkers undertook the journey. The route chosen commenced through muddy fields belonging to Pitt Farm where the Moffatt family train racehorses including their current stable star Highland Lodge – the 2015 winner of the Becher Chase at Aintree and an entrant for the 2017 Grand National.
Following a very wet start the walk continued up the fell over a limestone terrace where underfoot conditions were much improved. After a straightforward climb in relatively good weather, there was an unexpected deterioration and as rain fell the walking party had no alternative but to take refuge in the hospice as the heavens opened. This gave an opportunity for the party to read the poetry on the walls of the refuge as they ate their sandwiches. George Remington vicar of Cartmel who had the refuge built in 1834 for the benefit of wanderers caught out on the fell by bad weather would have been pleased to know that in the year 2017 his creation had served its intended purpose for the benefit of a group of walkers caught out by a sudden quite severe rain shower which had not been forecast. Some of the more intrepid walkers climbed to the roof of the refuge to use the toposcope (wooden pointer on a plinth spinning from 0 to 360 degrees) for the purpose of identifying the surrounding mountains.
Because of the unexpected poor weather the party decided that the driest route down would be to walk the top of the ridge in a westerly direction – at which point the weather miraculously improved and the group had a memorable ridge walk with very fine views of Morecambe Bay. The party then headed downhill toward Cartmel village following a route which included a public footpath through Cartmel Fell golf course. There was some difficulty in locating the ladder stile where the footpath through the golf course commenced. Happily Piers Waterston displayed his map reading skills and the correct stile was located.
Following a change out of muddy boots many of the party continued with a visit to the Priory church. With the assistance of the church steward’s notes I pointed out some of the unusual features of the church – including the loaf of bread left out each day – in accordance with the will of a deceased local benefactor to be given to the most indigent in the parish. I finally concentrated on the Italian marble memorial to Lord Frederick Cavendish who was murdered in Phoenix Park, Dublin on 6th May 1882 - the same day as he had landed in Ireland to take up office as Chief Secretary. He was murdered together with the Permanent Undersecretary Thomas Burke who was the real target of an Irish Nationalist secret society - The Invincibles. I told the story of the murder, the investigation which led to a member of the terrorist group turning Queen’s Evidence and the conviction of 6 of the assassins. They were executed whilst the informer was also subsequently killed in South Africa by another supporter of The Invincibles. He in turn was arrested, brought back to England, convicted and hanged. Many of these events were a foretaste of what was to be repeated so many times in subsequent Irish history during the struggle for independence from the 1916 Easter Rising to the partition of Ireland in 1922 and in subsequent “Troubles”:
- The murder of an innocent man (in this case Lord Cavendish) who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- A terrorist act which was followed by a police investigation and the use of informers who agreed to give evidence in return for immunity.
- Executions which inspired future generations to continue the armed struggle to obtain independence rather than working for political change through Parliament and democratic means.
- The murder of the informer by Irish terrorists even though he had been given a new identity and sent with his wife and family to far away South Africa.
The morale therefore is that the next generation never seems to learn from the mistakes made by the previous generation. Such is the course of history.
19th November 2016: Rowrah to Egremont - Stephe Cove
This was a walk through the history of West Cumbria with almost all the evidence missing – rather like walking across Salisbury Plain with no sign of Stonehenge. The mines and quarries have left little evidence visible apart from the disused railway lines linking the mines down through Moor Row (the Crewe of West Cumbria) to Whitehaven docks and the Workington steel works.
We set off from Rowrah which was originally connected by three separate railway companies, two of which terminated in Rowrah thus giving four separate lines into and out of Rowrah for passengers and goods where nothing remains but overgrown sidings and redundant bridges. We strolled down the hill along the old route passing derelict stations and the landscape evidence of the old mines with only an occasional block or two of red sandstone to show the sites of buildings.
At Egremont, the drivers were ferried back to the start to collect the cars while the rest of the party discovered that there were no cafes open in the whole of the time. I was glad that I was driving!
5th November 2016: Woodland Valley Industries - Dave Hughes
We were lucky to have a fine mild day. From the start, we looked at Woodland Church and then at Church House and School House. We walked through Raisthwaite Farm and on to the fell to Spindle Tree and Green Moor. We climbed through the bracken to the Conscientious Objector's Stone which has now got listed status from English Heritage. On to the Bloomeries where the ground is full of mounds of slag and the aftermath of the early iron industry. From Monks Way we went through to Climb Stile Farm past the disused Retting pond where flax was rotted down prior to carding. The last leg was past the Village Hall and through Row Ridding Wood and back to the start - 7 miles
15th October 2016: Castlerigg Stone Circle - Ken Day
The plan was for everyone to meet up at the car park to St Johns in the Vale Church. Those arriving early managed to claim a place for as luck would have it, this was the very day that the local hounds' trail was out in force, with vehicles parked at every available space in the car park and all along the service track. But somehow we all managed to squeeze in.
It was a bright autumnal day. With just one person missing, thirteen of us set off west in the direction of Kendal. After about 400 yards we met Alison, walking towards us. She had attempted to approach St John's from the opposite direction on what from the map, appeared to be a good road. On finding it impassable she abandoned her car and walked to rest of the way to join the merry band of travellers.
This turned out to be a very pleasant stroll across open fields, with cattle grazing and birds singing. We followed the clearly marked footpath, west down past the outskirts of Sykes farm and then a gentle incline to Nest Brow, hitting the A591 for 20 yards before turning right towards High Nest, continuing on for about a mile to the tarmacked road a few yards east of Castlerigg, pre-historic stone circle. There we were greeted with a magnificent panorama of the Lake District's Northern Fells, with Great Dodd and the Helvellyn ranges to our fore and Skiddaw with Blencathra behind us. A great place for lunch and take in all around us.
Then it was back to the road and east to Naddle Bridge and then right, back towards St John's, picking up the footpath heading for Low Rigg and then dropping down to our start, all the while enjoying glorious weather and magnificent scenery. With time on our side, we then drove to Threlkeld Mining Museum (thoroughly recommended) just off the B5322 about half a mile south of the A66. There, having looked at the fascinating mining exhibits we took the narrow gauge rail trip to Threlkeld Quarry, where a most knowledgable young man gave us a talk on the history of quarrying in the area. Returning to the museum to be reunited with our cars it brought a most enjoyable day to an end.
1st October 2016: Over Hill and Dale - Sue Lydon
On October 16th 2016 Sue Lydon led a walk "Over Hill and Dale". This was an easy 5 mile walk taking about 4 hours. Starting from Old Hall Farm we walked up through the wood on to Colton Heights where the views of the Coniston Fells are spectacular. Then on down to Colton church with its mounting stone still in situ, for a brief look round and a short history of life among the church regulars. Further down a track is a reinforced "well" , a spring named St Cuthbert's Well by the monks of Furness Abbey, and where they drew the "holy" water for baptisms.
From there we retraced our steps up the hill and then continued across several fields to Low Longmire Mill. This was the perfect place to stop for lunch, sitting by the mill pond. This nineteenth century mill was used by the older Low Longmire Farm across the fields for milling corn.
Hay Bridge museum was the next stopping point, and then on back to Old Hall Farm through fields and woods where tea and cake tempted us.