A Sedgwick Circuit

On weekend mornings TBH and I often take it in turns to have a lie in, to snuggle back down under a duvet recently occupied by five and doze off, enjoying the muffled sounds of mayhem from downstairs. This weekend, after her extra duvet time on Saturday morning, TBH was reminding me that in the years BC (before children, before chaos – take your pick) I didn’t really approve of late rising, I generally wanted to be up and about. This germinated a seed of thought that resulted in an early start on Sunday, breakfasting with the kids and then heading off for a short walk on my own in lieu of forty winks.

Whilst we were tucking in to our chocolate wheetos the kitchen windows were reverberating with the impact of a heavy hail shower – which didn’t bode well, but when I parked the car by Force Bridge, where we had crossed the Kent on Saturday, the lightening sky was clear and gradually becoming blue. The ground was still seasoned with a peppering of hail stones as I set off once more along the Kent – for the first time picking up where I had left off on our previous walk. I followed a minor lane beside the Kent and was surprised to find a footpath sign pointing directly into the river. A study of the map revealed a tiny section of dotted green line connecting the lanes on either bank – presumably marking the site of an old ford.

Shortly beyond the lane end a footbridge crosses the Kent.

The sky had just about lightened sufficiently to make photography without flash feasible.

I always feel compelled to have a wander across bridges so that I can stand in the middle and admire the views up and down stream, and down into the water. The bridge swayed slightly with my movements. I wondered when there might ever be more than 25 people wanting to cross together…

Like most sections of the Kent I have walked this way before, but unlike the very familiar stretches downstream, probably only on two or three occasions. I remember on an ill-fated backpacking trip, which began from my home in Silverdale and ended ignominiously two days later in Sedbergh with one foot very badly blistered, I stopped for a brew hereabouts and watched a mixed flock of thrushes, including numerous fieldfares. Ever the optimist, I hoped that I might see some again. I didn’t, but the birds that I saw and heard were one of the highlights of the walk. The handful of bird calls and songs that I managed to learn to recognise last year are rewarding me with satisfaction out of all proportion to the effort I put in. Fishing around in my bag to dig out my camera, I was aware, and very pleased to be aware, that there were a handful of jackdaws in the treetops on the far bank. Jackdaws and ….yes, rooks with them. When I turned to continue along the bank I could see the birds and also a small rookery – would the nests be new ones or is it still a little early for that?

My walk along the river to Hawes Bridge was immensely enjoyable. The path follows the field edges but the river banks themselves are wooded and the trees were full of twittering blue tits and tee-chooing great tits. A cormorant flew along the river heading downstream – quite unusual to see a normally low flying bird from below. A grey wagtail hopped about on a large limestone island which split the river.

Hawes bridge takes advantage of the river narrowing through the limestone. I headed right up the road and then joined a path which immediately went under another bridge, Crowpark Bridge…

Which was the first of several now redundant bridges I would encounter on my return to the car. Including Larkrigg Hall Bridge…

…which had a fine stand of larches alongside it, and Horse Park Bridge…

I was following the route of the Lancaster Canal, opened in 1797, which ran from Preston to Kendal. This northern section was cut-off when the M6 was built and as you can see is now dry in parts. It has fetching new sign posts however which declare that it is part of the Lancaster Canal Trail.

Near Larkrigg farm a buzzard lifted out of a tree and flew close overhead. Momentarily, I had a wonderful view, but by the time I had faffed about with my camera and located the raptor in the viewfinder, it was well gone…

Long-tailed tits chattered to one another as they passed from hedgerow shrubs to a tall tree.

In Larkrigg Spring woods the bird call rose to a bewildering din and I was once again lost and unable to discern what I was hearing. More effort required!

As I approached the village of Sedgwick the clouds which had appeared in the eastern sky began to glow, then the sun finally made an appearance…

To the west, little Sizergh Fell was picked out in the sunshine, contrasting with the black clouds massing behind it. The canal passes through Sedgwick rather aloofly, crossing the main road over a small aqueduct and is quickly out the other side.

Another missed photographic opportunity when the camera decided to play up again just as Sedgwick Hall and the snow covered Lakeland Fells in the distance behind it were bathed in sunshine. By the time my camera agreed to behave, the sunshine was gone….

And shortly afterwards I was beating a hasty retreat to the nearby car as hailstones once again rained down from the sky.

A Sedgwick Circuit

3 thoughts on “A Sedgwick Circuit

  1. It is so interesting to see bridges and building from the 1700’s. California and Washington State are so “recent”. Fort Bragg dates itself from 1865. My mother-in-law built this house in 1942; the second house built in this area of Shoreline. All this new stuff does not hold up near as well nor look as nice as those items built in the 1700’s. Interesting, no?

  2. beatingthebounds says:

    Hi Tom, Ron,
    It seems that I may have mislead you slightly – the first section of the canal opened in 1797 – this northern extension was built in 1819 apparently. Sedgwick house was built in 1868 for the owner of a gunpowder works, the site of which I had passed early in my walk.

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