Saturday was again cold and bright (and the weather has remained so despite forecasts to the contrary). With in-laws on hand to child-mind we had long planned to escape for a child free walk in the Lakes. Baby S had his own ideas, however and decided to stay awake most of the night, which meant that we took advantage of the opportunity to have a lie-in and a late breakfast. As a result we chose to stay closer to home and walked from Burton, starting just after midday.
We parked on Vicarage lane, which is the minor road heading for the hamlet of Dalton, and set of along the bridleway named on the OS map Slape Lane. The footpath sign at the beginning told us that we were heading for Burton Fell. Almost immediately we encountered a toposcope giving a guide to the Lakeland fells which were ranged before us. Despite their modest elevation the houses on the edge of the village here have a magnificent view, although it is somewhat marred by the proximity of Holme Park Quarry.
Slape Lane is a narrow path bounded on both sides by hedges. I would guess that it is a byway which has been in use for many, perhaps hundreds of years. About a kilometre along the path, another right of way leads of to the right, crosses a couple of fields and apparently just stops at the edge of a huge field marked on the map as both Pickles Wood and Lancelot Clark Storth. I had a strong feeling that this was a nature reserve and we decided to head that way since it seemed to offer an interesting route to the summit of Hutton Roof Crags. Where the right of way ended we didn’t find the half expected information board or map, but decided to chance it anyway. As it turns out, we found out later that both this and the areas immediately north and south of it belong to the Hutton Roof Crags nature reserve. There is access to the large area of woodland marked on the map as Storth Wood and Dalton Crags form the road south of Dalton – something which I shall have to investigate in due course. On the east side of Hutton Roof Crags, the hillside and woodland around Cockshot Hill, which I have often admired from the right of way below them, has also been designated as access land.
We followed a good track up through the woods and emerging into more open ground were treated to excellent views. Although it was cold, it was also very still and sunny. We picked a likely spot and enjoyed an al fresco lunch.
Seasoned with fresh air and expansive views, a flask of tea, a cheese and chutney sandwich and a piece of my mother-in-laws Christmas Cake tasted finer than anything the lardi-da cafe at Skelwith Bridge (where we had intended to eat) could possibly have offered.
Paths seem to criss-cross the nature reserve and having stuck close to the north wall of Lancelot Clark Storth, we now picked up a path which crossed limestone pavements to the south east corner where a style gave access to the trig point. At 274m, Hutton Roof Crags is the highest of the little limestone hills that surround the lower end of the river Kent and its tributaries. Like many small hills it has superb views and it has the added distinction of being a Marilyn.
The views of the Lakes are good but rather distant. Similarly the Bowland Fells. The best views are of the hills across the Lune valley:
Crag Hill, Great Coum and Gragareth
Calf Top and the Middleton Fells – which TBH pointed out look quite Croissant like – reminiscent of old volcanoes we climbed in the Auvergne.
Navigation on Hutton Roof crags can be surprisingly difficult. It has a topology quite unlike anywhere else I have been, with humps and hollows, limestone crags, and much of it heavily wooded with thickets of low thorny shrubs and brambles. The nearest comparison I can think of is trying to find your way on Kinder Scout, although that’s not a particularly helpful analogy.
Since TBH had not been here before (have I really not been here for 8 years?) we wanted to explore properly and so took the path that follows the wall down towards the village of Hutton Roof, before following another path through a larger example of the sort of dry valley that is common here. Many of the features here are named – Uberash Plain, the Rakes, Potslacks, Uberash Breast. Is this Blasterfoot Gap?
The trees growing from the cliff gave me another entry for the Crooked Tree Competition:
It was great to be out on a day with such clear blue skies – they are far and few between and normally when they arrive I always seem to be lamenting the fact that I’m stuck at work.
This short-cut brought us to the Limestone Link path (which runs from Kirby Lonsdale to Arnside). With shadows lengthening we followed that round to the road which runs through between Hutton Roof Crags and Farleton Fell.
A short stroll down the road brought us to the far end of Slape Lane which would take us back to Burton. Shortly before rejoining our outward route, we reentered the Hutton Roof Crags nature reserve…
and this time found an information board and a map:
I like the idea of including maps in my posts (but perhaps not with trees and me reflected in them).
As we neared Burton, the sun was setting…
…but not before lighting up some bramble leaves to fuel my latest obsession…