A couple of posts back, I was waxing lyrical (well trying to anyway) about four consecutive Sundays of really superb weather last November. The first was spent climbing Clough Head and Great Dodd on my own, the second on Dale Head and Hindscarth with a gaggle of old friends, and this, the last of them, saw me strolling over Haverbrack and Beetham Fell with the family.
“But, hang on,” I hear you cry, “that’s only three!”
Very sharp of you to notice – the missing sunny Sunday, probably the sunniest of the lot, was devoted to a huge rugby tournament at Sedbergh School. Naturally, I was there in my capacity as chauffeur to B, our budding sportsman. It was highly enjoyable watching him play a succession of matches, although the views of the sunlit Howgill Fells towering over the town did have me champing the bit somewhat.
Anyway, on that fourth Sunday, we were parked at Sandside on the minor lane which runs just back from the main road along the Kent estuary between Arnside and Milnthorpe. We picked up a path opposite a building which, until then, I hadn’t realised houses the offices of both Rock + Run and Marmot UK. Well there’s a thing.
Haverbrack is one of the small limestone hills in our small AONB. Employees of the aforementioned gear retailers can no doubt jog up and down it easily in their lunch break. If they were to do so, they would get a great view of the river Kent, and of the hills beyond, although, if they were also going to take photos of that view they should probably do it before they’ve passed the trees which grow near the top. As you can see above, I forgot to do that. You’ll have to take my word for the fact that it is a cracking viewpoint – another one of those Small Hills With A Disproportionately Great View.
Or, come to think of it, I could just slide in an old photo from the summer of 2011:
On top of the hill there’s a small concrete bunker which I assume is a water tank.
Beetham Fell, and in particular the Fairy Steps, seemed to have ousted Woodwell as the kids’ first choice local destination.
It’s said that if you can ascend the steps without touching the sides then you will get a wish granted, presumably by a local imp or sprite.
The kids were all adamant that they succeeded.
I’m not sure what they wished for. Maybe it was for a really huge lunch, in which case the resident imp is highly efficient, but more of that anon.
The views from Beetham Fell are quite limited because of the blanket of trees which cover most of the hill, but you do get a view of Arnside Knott and Hampsfell across the Kent estuary.
“Look Dad, a cave.”
There’s a second rock band on the hillside below the Fairy Steps. Again, the path finds an impressive way through them.
I’ve mentioned this large gate hinge which is fixed to the rock wall of the natural passageway, but I know that I often manage to walk past it without noticing that it’s there.
I wonder whether this is a remnant of the times when this route was the corpse road between Arnside and Beetham – bodies were carried to the church at Beetham for burial before Arnside had its own cemetery.
At the bottom of the hill, you’ll find Hazelslack Farm and the remains of its peel tower.
The original plan had been to lunch in Arnside, but it was getting late so we changed our plan and walked along the embankment of the old railway line by the estuary.
River Kent and Whitbarrow Scar.
Which quickly brought us to the Ship.
When I lived in Arnside I used to walk here for lunch quite often, but I haven’t been back for a long time.
The meal was excellent, both tasty and very generous. I can see us going back there.
It wasn’t much of a stroll from the pub back to our car. The others opted to head home, but my appetite for fresh air and sunshine wasn’t fully sated yet and so, with no too much light left, I took a lift part way and then walked the rest of the way home.
Low winter sun…
….fuels one of my favourite photographic obsessions – back-lit leaves….
Usually I use the camera’s macro facility and try to get the lens as close to the leaf as I can whilst still framing the photo satisfactorily. On this occasion I couldn’t reach to do that and so used the telephoto instead, which produced a completely different effect. Which gives me another avenue to pursue!
I took the path along the edge of Silverdale Moss, which follows a section of the Trough, a fault which passes across the area where mudstone has eroded away between two surrounding beds of limestone. It’s not particularly pronounced here, but it was enough, with the trees around it too, to cut out the sun, and suddenly it was very cold. The tree-tops above me were still catching the last rays of the sun however.
Once past Haweswater I came out of the trees to see the woods given a kind of late autumn blush by the lowland equivalent of Alpenglow.
Unusually, I could see the trees reflected in Haweswater too…