After my day-off last weekend it was TBH’s turn this weekend, but my parents were on hand to tend to the herd, and TBH hadn’t made any arrangements for her day so I suggested that she might like me to join her for a walk. She readily accepted (although she later accused me of being crafty).
“What sort of a walk do you fancy?” I asked, having already perused OL7 for easy Birketts we might bag.
“One with a nice place to eat in the middle. And I want to get there before it stops serving.” Some people can bear a grudge.
This wasn’t quite the species of answer I had been looking for – I was after the sort of summary which might proceed a walk in a guide book: river bank, low fell, woods, moderate walking on good paths. I sometimes forget that we don’t all share the same criteria for what makes a good walk. I devised a route which included all of these: river bank (twice), low fell, woods, moderate walking mainly on good paths (although not, I suspect, on the low fell) plus a few tarns and a good place to eat in the middle. One day I might walk it. But not this time: in cramming all of those things in I had ended up with a walk which had ignored TBH’s unstated but most important criteria: not too far.
Not to worry – I went back to the drawing board and came up with something which had the added advantage of starting on the doorstep – which was handy because we were non to early to set-off.
Cloud was beginning to gather, but there was much blue still on display. After two days and three nights during which the frost hadn’t lifted everything was coated in white. We started in Eaves Wood and were soon passing Haweswater, which had more than it’s usual contingent of ducks since, being deep, it had only partially frozen. We crossed Yealand Allotment and then followed the low ridge of Cringlebarrow.
This field, in a fetching white/green two-tone decor on this occasion, is completely surrounded by woodland. It’s one of several in the area like this – we passed through another later in our walk. I couldn’t begin to explain why, but I really like a field with woods all-around. Each to their own I suppose.
We were soon dropping down to Yealand Conyers. East of the Yealands is a small corridor of low lying land passing through limestone hills on either side. Cheek-by-jowl within that corridor are the A6, the main railway-line to Glasgow, the Lancaster Canal and the M6. We crossed the A6 and our path took a bridge over the railway, but we had to go under the motorway. Although everywhere else so far the ground and any surface water had been frozen, in the underpass and beyond were a huge puddle. The local farmer seems to be using the underpass as a handy garage and had parked machinery on the few dry patches. With little alternative except lengthy detours we waded through the underpass and then negotiated the almost as wet and far muddier track beyond by clinging on the barbed wire fence and tottering on half submerged fence-posts.
Crossing the canal was far less traumatic. There is a bridge handily nearby.
This is one of the eight Tewitfield locks. This northern part of the canal is no longer navigable and the locks don’t have gates.
And so it was that we arrived at Greenlands Farm (which has diversified and is now part open farm and part retail park) and the excellent Wellies Cafe with slightly soggy feet. To give them their due, neither staff nor shoppers blinked an eye at our mud-spattered attire and dripping boots. Lunch was very fine. (TBH couldn’t decide between white-bait and pate so we ordered both and some rarebit and shared them Tapas style.)
Lunch was a leisurely affair with some postprandial paper reading to boot, but eventually we dragged ourselves away for the return leg of our journey.
A single bridge took us back over the canal and the M6…
This time it was the railway line which proved difficult: the gate where we expected to cross was padlocked, but a very minor detour to another path took us under the line (this time dryshod). A minor road took us back into Yealand Conyers, past the Catholic St. Mary’s…
..which sadly was locked up.
A couple of field paths and a minor lane took us up to summer house hill.
Where we were warmly greeted. What kind of bull are we being warned about? As usual when there is a sign, it was pure bull****.
I was treated recently to a brief but fascinating slideshow of old postcards of this area, one of which showed the old summerhouse which stood on this hill. I was surprised by how substantial is was.
The view from here is magnificent. On this occasion the Lakeland hills were seen above a layer of mist, Gummer How the first dark line and the Coniston Fells behind…
The same mist blanketed the bay, Black Combe barely poking its head above the layer.
At Leighton Moss many of the meres are frozen over…
We paused at the visitor centre to pick-up a few items from the shop (of which possibly more later). And then set-off back across the golf-course.
As we crested the rise by Bank Well we found that the sky was engaged in a light show…
…which intensified as we neared home…
My parents bought me a pedometer for Christmas, so I’m going to imitate proper walking blogs now by appending some walk stats:
Although I can’t verify their veracity. The last for instance is based on a totally arbitrary stride–length of 50cm, which I chose to enter without any attempt to calibrate out of sheer laziness. Now if I only knew how far this walk really was….