Gurnal Dubs


Gurnal Dubs.

Something close to a Proper Walk to report on tonight, so I shall attempt a Proper Post to do it justice. This was still, however, another case of making-the-most-of-a-window-of-opportunity provided by Taxi Dad duties; it’s just that this was a slightly longer window than usual, and in a location with lots of potential for a good walk. It was a Sunday in early October, so ordinarily I would have been ferrying one or both of the boys to a rugby practice or match, but B had elected to take part in a charity mountain bike ride with his Scout group instead. Here he is…


…in Staveley Mill Yard, before the ride. And here again…


…afterwards. He’s disappointed with this second photo, because, he tells me, it doesn’t show the full extent of the cuts and bruises he picked up. Nor does it convey just how wet and muddy he and his bike had become.

They were raising money for Papyrus, a charity which works to prevent young suicide. Since then, B has also participated in a night hike over our local 3 peaks: Arnside Knott, The Pepper Pot and Warton Crag. There’s a collective JustGiving page here, should you feel inspired to sponsor B.


Reston Scar and part of Staveley from Spy Crag.

I had a few hours, then, whilst I waited for his return, and set off on a beeline for Potter Fell and its tarns.



The initial blue skies and and strong sunshine slowly disappeared behind a layer of cloud, but, fortuitously, the cloud cleared again just after I’d arrived at Gurnal Dubs, where I intended to break for lunch and a brew.


The very tidy boat house on Gurnal Dubs.


The tarns here were dammed and enlarged to supply water to the paper-mill at Burneside. The mill belongs to James Cropper PLC, set-up in 1845 by a man of that name and still managed by the Cropper family. I wondered whether J.A.C. might be the James  Cropper who managed the company relatively recently, a descendent presumably of the original James. Whoever owns it, I imagine it’s a lovely spot for boating; it was certainly a very pleasant place for lunch.


I had leftovers from the evening before: humus, guacamole, roasted carrot dip (very peanutty, nobody but me liked it), crudities, and a little bit of fried chorizo. TBH and A had recently embarked on a Vegan October. A Vegan October, I might add, which has now lasted right through November too, and which shows no sign of coming to an end any time soon. The Dangerous Brothers are beginning to adjust, but, back then, were not very supportive of the idea, and the fried chorizo was one of my attempts to placate them.

Whilst I tucked into my lunch and made a brew, a family of three arrived, changed into wetsuits and swam in the tarn. I’ve visited Gurnal Dubs many times, but it’s never really occurred to me to consider it as a place to swim. Next time, however…


Potter Tarn with the Coniston Fells behind..

Eventually, I headed back to Potter Tarn and then turned south past Ghyll Pool.


It was noticeably Waxcap season, with small fungi half-hidden in the grass in many places along my walk.


Crimson Waxcaps.


Meadow Waxcaps.


Apparently, these are quite nice to eat, although they are also under threat and so perhaps best left alone..


The striking green of the grass growing in this old nest really stood out against the bracken covered hillsides and red haws on the small thorn tree.



I liked the cheery request on this gate. That’s Cunswick Scar above Kendal behind.


I’m guessing this is a Common Darter, an older female perhaps. It also liked the gate.


Big barn at Hundhowe.


I anticipated having a choice of which bank of the Kent to follow back into Staveley, but the bridge at Hagg Foot was washed away by the floods of Storm Desmond and hasn’t been repaired, so I stuck to the north bank and the woods of Beckmickle Ing.


River Kent.


A posh stile with handrails.


A handsome tree (and house) on the outskirts of Staveley.

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Gurnal Dubs

8 thoughts on “Gurnal Dubs

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I went through a long phase when I rarely walked in the Lakes ‘proper’ and generally only visited the southern fringes and the limestone hills around the Bay. I’ve been to Potter Tarn and Gurnal Dubs many times. They aren’t spectacular, but very pleasant. I was a bit late in the year. When the heather is flowering Gurnal Dubs is particularly attractive. I like Staveley a lot. It’s not chocolate box pretty, but actually has some industry. The Mill Yard also has Wilf’s Cafe, More – a bakery, and the Hawkshead brewery, all of which are well worth a visit.

  1. val brumby says:

    Although I have now been a subscriber for several years now, to your beautiful blog and always look forward to your posts, I have never commented although meant to do so many times~ today however reading it, enjoying the lovely diverse and always evocative photos, I felt doubly inspired to finally comment when I read that you also have or are at least trying now to become vegan. This is so good to hear! Now more than ever many more people are waking up to not only the fact it is a far healthier way to eat but the tremendous positive impact it has on the global environment, saves our threatened wildlife, as well a will save many factory and farmed animals from a short miserable and cruel existence. Just wanted to say congratulations and hope you will continue on ~ the key is being sure to get lots of different recipes (and also not tell the kids it’s ‘vegan’ before hand but just that it is a new dish to try ! I think many people have so many distorted idea s about vegan food and think it is boring, tasteless and nothing but ‘grass’ and berries ~` but these days there is a wealth of delicious alternatives to dairy and meat ~ And to help with the transition various ‘faux ‘ meat substitutes ~ some better than others but amazing the things you can make that taste like things with dairy, eggs or meat and yet are not at all~ especially some desserts) One good place to get a wide variety of inspiration is the website One Green Planet ~ you can find 1000’s of recipes submitted by all sorts of chefs and ordinary cooks / vegans. Good luck and many thanks for all the years of beautiful, inspiring photos and sharing your thoughts on lovely corner of the world.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Thanks so much Val for your kind comments. I’m afraid that my next post may disappoint you – it’s not me that has become vegan, but my wife and daughter who have. I was vegetarian for around 18 years, although not vegan, but it’s over 10 years ago now that, partly on medical advice, I switched back to an omnivorous diet. Because 2 of the family are vegan, the rest of us are often also eating vegan meals some of the time, more often than we did. I love vegetables and am very happy with that switch, but at the moment can’t envisage become a vegan ‘full-time’ as it were. The boys, especially Little S, were initially appalled by the idea of vegan meals, but mainly because they are, like most of us, conservative with a small ‘c’ and don’t much like change, especially imposed change. They’re getting used to it. Thanks for the suggestion – I shall certainly be taking a look at One Green Planet.

      1. val brumby says:

        Sorry for the confusion on my part! Still , it is good to know that your wife and daughter are vegan, but sounds as if you are certainly partaking more than you might otherwise be, if left to your own devices! (smile) I understand that change is difficult for many ,if not most people especially when it comes to having done something one way all, or most of your life~ It is encouraging though, to know that more people are at least going towards a more plant based diet ~ and I can only encourage and feel hopeful anyone who even explores in that direction. I do really enjoy all your beautiful photos and often feel I am living, albeit vicariously, through your walks and explorations. All the best to you and yours. How quickly your children seem to have grown up too!

        1. beatingthebounds says:

          I think you’re right: eating less meat seems like an obvious thing to do, for all sorts of reasons. I’ve spoken to the children about their propensity to grow so quickly, but they aren’t willing to even compromise 😀. The time seems to fly by, I suppose we just have to make the most of it while we can.

  2. Gurnal Dubs sounds like a limestone pothole. I was expecting a Dales related post!
    I started taking my swimming stuff on summer walks a couple of summers back and always tried to take a dip. Didn’t manage it last year as my knee op put paid to my walks for most of the summer but I intend to rekindle it next year.
    Now, if only I was going somewhere in the summer where I could wild swim every day…..

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Ha-ha! That’ll be good. I think dub is a Dales word, though often a pool in a river. In the Lakes that’s often a ‘pot’, it seems to me. Maybe this ‘dubs’ is because it’s on the Dales end of the Lakes?

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