Littledale and Ward’s Stone

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Udale Beck

Proper Fell walks have been few and far between for me, since the various lockdown restrictions began. This walk, from back in September, was a notable exception. To be honest, I don’t remember what the rules were at the time, and I was probably a bit vague about them even then, since the rules have always lacked clarity. I didn’t see any other walkers all day, just two mountain bikers in the afternoon, which makes me think that I must, at the very least, have been pushing the envelope a bit.

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Footbridge over Udale Beck

Anyway, it was a windy, overcast day. Cool with a few flecks of rain in the wind from time to time. But despite that, I enjoyed myself enormously.

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Gregareth, Whernside and Ingleborough.
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Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent.

I’d been perusing the map for quite some time the night before, always a dangerous occupation, and had hit upon the idea of combining two cherished ambitions – one was too explore the valley of Artle Beck and the other to have a walk along Hornby Road, a Roman Road which traverses the Bowland Hills

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Foxdale Beck

The first part of the walk took me firmly into the territory of my ‘Lune Catchment’ project. Sweet Beck, Udale Beck, Foxdale Beck, Artle Beck, Ragill Beck, Closegill Beck (streams tautologically named both gill and beck seem to be a speciality of the area), Bladder Stone Beck, Mallow Gill, the River Roeburn and Salter Clough Beck (again – aren’t clough and beck synonyms?) were all ticked off on my nominal list of tributaries of the River Lune.

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Littledale Hall.

I was quite surprised by Littledale Hall. It’s a Grade II listed building, dating to 1849 and possibly designed by Lancaster architects Paley and Austin. These days, it’s a residential centre for the treatment of addiction. I guess that it’s remote location makes it ideal for that purpose. It looked to me like a Victorian railway station marooned without a railway line.

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Artle Beck
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Looking down towards the confluence of Ragill Beck and Closegill Beck.
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Not sure what these are, but they were by the stile adjacent to Bladder Stone Beck.
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Haylot Farm.
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Melling Wood.
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A fallen tree in Melling Wood, on a slope much steeper than the photo suggests, was quite awkward to navigate. It seems odd that nothing has been done about it, given how much care has been taken with the path nearby…

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Mallow Gill.
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Either the River Roeburn, or Salter Clough Beck.
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High Salter.
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Hornby Road.

Given that I’d set off with fairly ambitious plans, I hadn’t started very early. I think I dropped off one or other of the boys, somewhere or other, before starting the walk. Anyway, I soon realised that I was quite short of time. I’d originally intended to stick with Hornby Road until I could take the path onto Wolfhole Crag, partly because I don’t think I’ve ever been up there. But that will have to wait for another day, since I decided instead to take the track from Alderstone Bank down to the River Roeburn and then back up via Mallowdale Fell. You can see the track on the photo below…

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Roeburndale
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River Roeburn.
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Looking toward the three peaks again.
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Shooting Cabin on Mallowdale Fell.
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Three Peaks and the hills above Kirkby Lonsdale.
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Ward’s Stone.

From Ward’s Stone the walk was on more familiar territory – over Grit Fell, past the Andy Goldsworthy sculptures and back to the Littledale Road, where my car was parked, via a stalker’s path and back to Sweet Beck.

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Morecambe Bay from Ward’s Stone.
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Looking towards home from Ward’s Stone.

I even had some occasional moments of sunshine, and the light out over Morecambe Bay was absolutely superb. My photos don’t really do it justice, but it was lovely to keep getting views of it as I descended.

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Looking back to Ward’s Stone.
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The River Lune and the Bay from Grit Fell.
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Spoil heaps on Grit Fell.
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Andy Goldsworthy sculptures on Grit Fell.
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Arriving back at the car park with not too much daylight left.

The route was around 17 miles, with a fair bit of up and down. I wish I could provide a map, but although MapMyWalk worked on the day, it subsequently lost the data. I’ve since uninstalled and reinstalled the app, which, touch wood, seems to have had the desired affect.

A great leg-stretcher, on a mostly gloomy day, which has left me with a number of ideas for further routes.

Littledale and Ward’s Stone

10 thoughts on “Littledale and Ward’s Stone

  1. Fantastic walk. I seem to remember that September had tiers but people were holidaying all around the country which tends to suggest you could go where you wanted at that time, so you are good!! Love that you are ticking off all the Lune suppliers. Have to say that’s not a list I have heard of before but if it takes you to this sort of countryside then its a thumbs up from me

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      There is a list, on Wikipedia but I don’t think it can be complete. The whole thing started from a conversation in the comments on a previous post and has developed into a series of occasional walks to visit a few new (to me) feeders of the Lune catchment. It has taken me to some places I might not normally have visited. The areas which drain into the Lune are very varied – the northern side of the Bowland Fells, some parts of the Three Peaks area, the hills above Kirkby and Barbon, possibly all of the Howgills, Baugh Fell and Wildboar Fell, some of the limestone country around Orton, the little visited valleys on the Eastern Fringe of the Lakes, above Tebay. Keeps me busy and out of harms way!

  2. I know what you mean about “the rules” – I think I have been thoroughly confused about them since March last year! I have concerns that this confusion over rules has affected your thought processes as you now appear to be ticking off river tributaries. This is not good. At least you know where the “treatment of addiction” centre is πŸ™‚ .

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      He-he. I think I like this latest wheeze precisely because of how Quixotic it is! I was up on Baugh Fell this weekend, which W.R.Mitchell described as “essentially a sponge”. It’s huge, two tivers rise on its flanks and a huge number of streams and all of them eventually flow into the Lune – I’ll never get close to visiting them all – but I’ll enjoy trying, or pretending to.

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