On Tuesday afternoon I found myself at a loose end in Kendal, with the sun shining and an hour to kill. I’d just emerged from an airless hour-and-a-half in waiting rooms and a consulting room in the Westmorland General, where I also spent most of Monday. I’m carrying out a survey of the local day surgery units – a visit to said ward at the Royal Lancaster last week had left me partially incapacitated, which is why I haven’t been out for a while, or had anything to blog about. Sadly, further interruptions to normal service will follow.
Whilst I’ve been laid-up, we’ve been experiencing similar weather to last March, with sunshine and blustery showers of hail, rain and even flurries of snow. But Tuesday brought clear skies and whilst driving to the hospital, I had fabulous glimpses of the Cumbrian fells with a light dusting of snow on the higher slopes. It was tempting to climb a hill for a better view and very close to the hospital is the Helm, a long low limestone ridge which somehow I’ve never got round to climbing in all the years that I’ve lived in the area.
In the end though I decided to head a little further north and explore a bit more of the river Kent. After negotiating Kendal’s serpentine one-way system, I parked at Bowston and joined the river by Bowston weir and fish ladder. I joined the Dales Way, a long distance path which links Ilkley, famous for its moor onto which no sane yodeller ventures baht ‘at, and Windermere. The riverside path was quite soggy in places and all around were signs of flooding – branches and dried grass matted around trees and fences, high tide lines of similar washed up detritus, and hanks of grass draped on every low-hanging branch on river side trees:
A short walk brought me to Cowan Head a picturesque hamlet…
(the cottage on the left is dated 1746 just right and above the long thin window.)
…swamped by a holiday complex…
…which was presumably once a mill.
As I followed the river northwards, the gentle rolling countryside began to give way to the fells which surround the lower end of the Kentmere valley.
In fact when I have walked this way before, it has been a precursor to a walk up and across Potter Fell, part of which can be seen in the photo. With a warm, clear afternoon I was regretting that I didn’t have time to head that way today.
I shortly came to the bridge which would give me access to the eastern bank for my return journey…
The barn here seems to have been substantially rebuilt….
I understand that it’s very difficult to get planning permission for barn conversions within the National Park, but this is just outside the boundary – it’s heartening to see it being restored for its original purpose rather than becoming another holiday home.
I crossed the river, but before setting off for the car, went a little further up river to visit Beckmickle Ing wood. A recent acquisition from readitswapit was the Woodland Trust’s book Exploring Woodland: Lake District and Northwest. TBH had been reading it and this wood had struck her as a potential place to visit with the sprogs.
It’s a tiny scrap of woodland, but my brief visit has left me wanting to return. There were many daffodils beneath the trees, but very few open yet. The meeting here of woods and water makes for a special magic.
Sunlight, pebbles and a submerged leaf – a new concoction for my ongoing obsession with leaves.
Light and ripple patterns in the shallows.
The fast-flowing Kent.
Beckmickle Ing trees.
I would like to have explored further, but having turned-about, it was nice to get a slightly different perspective from the opposite bank.
At Cowan Head, I could see the weir which I had missed on the way north…
And the impressive little gorge which runs down through the holiday complex…
At Bowston I had a better view of the weir and the fish ladders – there seems to be two, one in the centre of the weir…
…and one on the far side…
This spot by the river would make a great picnic spot when the salmon are leaping. I need a Bowston correspondent to tip me the wink….