Cark to Grange with X-Ray

Cark Hall.

TBH had missed out on our walk from Cark to Grange via Cartmel and I thought she would enjoy it. X-Ray was keen to meet us for a walk, and perhaps a bite to eat, and I was pretty sure he would enjoy it too. Actually, as I recall, I presented X-Ray with a number of options and this was the one which most appealed. He hopped onto the Northern Fail service at Lancaster and we joined him at Silverdale for the short journey around the bay.

Cark has a pub and a cafe and I made a mental note that an evening repeat of this walk could start with a meal at one or the other. Cark also has Cark Hall, an imposing building which is now three dwellings. It dates from 1580 with a Seventeenth Century wing and alterations. Three hundred year old home improvements! The doorway looked really imposing, from what we could see of it, but good old-fashioned English reticence prevented me from wandering in to the garden to have a proper gander. (Historic England listing)

Hampsfell from just beyond Cark.
TBH and X-Ray sat on the fish tables (apparently) outside the Priory Gatehouse in Cartmel.

We bumped into a couple of old-friends and former neighbours in Cartmel who had won (in a raffle?) a meal at L’Enclume, Cartmel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. When we spoke to them later in the week they were highly impressed. Might have to check it out, if I win a booking in a raffle. Or rob a a bank.

Cartmel Priory
Cartmel Priory interior.

Inside the church there was an exhibition of painted masks. They’d been there on my previous visit, but I paid a bit more attention this time. Collectively, they were very striking.

Ironically, the forecast was much better for this walk than it had been a few weeks before. On that occasion, the showers held-off. This time, sod’s-law was in operation and it rained quite a bit as we climbed Hampsfell. On the top we were shrouded in clouds and it was very cold for August.


There’s a small hearth in the Hospice and somebody had laid a fire, it was very tempting to light it while we sheltered inside and made a brew.

On our descent, at least the cloud lifted a little and we saw fleeting patches of sunlight on the Bay. It was actually quite striking, but sadly the photo doesn’t begin to do it justice.

We came a slightly different way down in to Grange.

We were hoping to enjoy some lunch in a cafe near to the station which we used to bring the kids to when they were small, but were disappointed to find that they had nothing vegan on the menu for TBH. With a train imminent, and a long wait for the next one, we reluctantly had to abandon our late lunch plans. Maybe next time.

Cark to Grange with X-Ray

Cark to Grange via Cartmel

Arnside through the train window, crossing the viaduct.

With a pretty dismal sounding forecast, we couldn’t persuade any of the younger members of the party to join us for walk from Cark to Grange. So it was only Andy, TBF and myself who caught the train from Silverdale to Cark.

I remember the walk from Cark to Cartmel being very pleasant, if perhaps unremarkable, but I don’t seem to have taken any photos until we reached Cartmel…

The Priory gatehouse, built around 1330.
Cartmel market cross.
Cartmel Priory Church.

The Priory Church was built between 1190 and 1220 and was part of an Augustinian monastery, but most of the monastic buildings were destroyed after the dissolution of monasteries.

I haven’t been inside the church for far too long, and was very pleased to have a little nosey on this occasion.

The choir stalls.
A green man?

I took lots of photos of the amazing intricate carving in the church, but the light was very low and they didn’t come out too well.

Looking back to Cartmel.
Hampsfell Hospice.

Built in 1835 by George Remington, a former pastor of Cartmel Parish, Hampsfell Hospice has verses on boards around the walls inside, which make a puzzle, and on the roof, accessed by a narrow flight of stone steps, a view indicator.


I think it was pretty windy up there on this occasion. But the forecast showers held off and the views were still quite good.

Looking south to Humphrey Head.
Looking North – Newton Fell.
Looking West – How Barrow and the high moorland west of Ulverston beyond – if you click on the photo to see a larger image, you can just about pick out the wind turbines on Lowick High Common.
Looking East – the limestone hills of home and the Kent Estuary.
Heading down to Grange pano.
Arnside Knott across the estuary.
Grange Station.
Yewbarrow and Whitbarrow Scar seen through the train window from the viaduct.
Kent Estuary seen through the train window from the viaduct.

A terrific walk which packs a lot into its slightly more than six miles.

Cark to Grange via Cartmel

Boating and Swimming, Coniston Water

Coniston Water

The forecast suggested that this would be the last day of fine weather during the week. We managed to get out of the house reasonably early, but even so Brown Howe car park was already chocker when we arrived. Fortunately, true to form, Andy had a plan B, and had used satellite images to pick out a lay-by suitably situated, just a little further up the lake.

There followed a fairly lengthy interlude of inflating boats and Andy’s SUPB, lugging everything – boats, picnic rugs, tables, stoves, food, badminton set, etc – across the road and over the wall (much higher on the lake side than by the road), then frying-up bacon for breakfast/brunch.


It was a very chilled day. Swim for a bit, read for a bit, paddle a canoe for a while. Repeat.


As I set-off for a swim, TBH and A went past me in our canoe.

“Are you swimming right across?” TBH asked. “Because if you are, we can give you a lift back.”

That hadn’t been my intention, but now a seed had been planted. I kept going and there came a point where going back would have been as far as continuing. I actually didn’t swim right across Coniston Water, only as far as Peel Island (the model for Wildcat Island in the Swallows and Amazons books).

I don’t know how far it is. A few hundred metres. A few lengths of an Olympic pool. But by the time I was mid-lake I started to feel a bit small and a bit lonely. I was a bit concerned by the paddle-steamers and yachts plowing up and down the lake, and whether they could see me. Maybe I need one of those day-glow floaty things!

When I arrived at Peel Island, all of my kids were there, jumping in off some rocks.

In the event, it was Andy who came across the lake in his canoe to fetch me. Paddling back across the lake took a tiny fraction of the time it had taken me to swim across.

The Madley Mariners coming in to shore.

Unfortunately, the day ended with one of our all to frequent trips to A-and-E. Little S was hit in the eye by a shuttlecock, a freak accident which left him temporarily unsighted in one eye. It was horrible, particularly frightening for Little S, obviously. I’m pleased to report that his vision soon returned, but the incident has left me with less pleasant memories of what had been a smashing day until then.

Boating and Swimming, Coniston Water

Back to Gurnal Dubs

On the ascent.

We set-off for a swim at High Dam, but the traffic on the A590 wasn’t moving, so a last minute change of plan found us back at Gurnal Dubs.

Benson Knott, Scout Scar, Gummer How.

It was probably serendipity at work: High Dam is lovely, but it’s surrounded by trees so we would’ve missed the lovely late sunshine and may have had much more of an issue with midges, although they did eventually rear their ugly heads at Gurnal Dubs.

Benson Knott, Scout Scar, Gummer How from a little higher up.
Gurnal Dubs
Swimmers – do I need one of those dayglow floaty things?
Packing up to go, under attack by midges.
Leaving Gurnal Dubs.
Potter Tarn, Coniston Fells, Scafells.
Barn at Hundhowe catching the late light.

Happy New Year folks!

Back to Gurnal Dubs

A Birthday Day Out

In the trees – Little S on the left, A and TJF centre, the Prof on the right.

The first full day of our staycation was TJF’s birthday. Accordingly, Andy had a day of delights meticulously planned. The Herefordshire Hominids, and our kids, all enjoy climbing, swinging, dangling and sliding in tree-top adventure playgrounds. So we had Go-Ape booked in Grizedale forest.

I have neither the physique nor the temperament for such antics. TBH has been known to join in, but on this occasion opted to keep me company. We had loaded our heavy e-bikes onto Andy’s very sturdy bike-carrier and, whilst the others were monkeying about, went for a ride around one of the forest’s bike trails.


We chose The Hawkshead Moor Trail, which, after some fairly relentless climbing, gave brilliant views of the Coniston Fells…


And then the Langdale Pikes too…


Better with or without the Rosebay Willow Herb? I couldn’t decide.


We’d actually considered hiring e-mountain bikes but they were very pricey. We did meet quite a few people riding them and they were clearly higher-powered then our bikes, seemingly making the ascents virtually effortless.


Never-the-less, we knocked off the trail in around an hour-and-a-half, not the stated two-and-a-half, so we had some more time to kill prior to our planned rendezvous with our Arboreal Allies. We decided to have a go at the Grizedale Tarn Trail, with the perhaps predictable result that both of our batteries ran out of fizz.

Carrying-on without power was a non-starter as far as I was concerned. We found a path which seemed to be heading in the right direction (i.e. downhill) and walked the bikes across a couple of fields, before having to manhandle them over a gate (quite challenging), leaving a short, steep, stoney descent back to the visitor’s centre. TBH wasn’t keen so I rode both bikes down in turn.

The next element of Andy’s cunning plan was a drive (along some very ‘interesting’ narrow lanes) to Brown Howe car park on the shore of Coniston Water for a swim. I’m not sure to what extent it made us smell any sweeter, which was Andy’s stated intention, but it was a very refreshing dip, with great views of the surrounding fells.

A is first into the water.

Finally, to round-off a fabulous day, Andy had booked a table at Betulla’s an ‘Italian-inspired’ restaurant in Ulverston. I can’t speak highly enough of the meal we had there. Mine was battered calamari followed by hunter’s chicken which came served with bolognese sauce so tasty that I’ve decided next time we visit I shall just choose the bolognese. Everybody else’s meals looked great too. I gather the cocktails were rather good as well.

I hope that TJF enjoyed her day. I know that I did. With hindsight, it stands out as one of my highlights of the year. I’m considering hiring Andy to plan my Birthdays in future.

Happy New Year Folks!

A Birthday Day Out

Gardadale – Local Walks


When the Herefordshire Holidaymakers had to cancel their planned summer trip to Lake Garda, due to Covid restrictions and uncertainties, and us with no plans of our own, for the same reasons, the obvious thing to do seemed to be to invite them to join us in Sunny Silverdale instead. Happily, they agreed. We drove home from Towyn to tidy up a bit and inflate some airbeds, whilst they had the more onerous task of returning home, getting all of their washing done and hoping back into their cars for the long drive north.


In the early part of the week, we even had some half-decent weather, and, I think fairly soon after they had arrived, we had a wander up to the Pepper Pot and then down to The Cove.


TBH insisted that we should have a wander on the sands, which turned out to be quite wet and very sticky. Andy was in new shoes. It seems to me that it’s the destiny of walking shoes to eventually get muddy, but Andy was mortified that his pristine trainers were sullied by Morecambe Bay sludge and complained bitterly at every opportunity for the rest of the week.

Later in the week, we repeated our favourite route, around the coast to Arnside and back over the Knott. It was raining when we came over the Knott, so I understand why I didn’t take any photos then, but it’s a bit rum that I only took one as we walked around the coast. Probably too busy wittering.
Knapweed in Clark’s Lot.
Towards the end of the week, when we walked around Jenny Brown’s Point, the weather was decidedly un-Italian. Still, with good company, you can still enjoy a walk and I quite like some dark clouds when there’s some sunlight to reflect off the sea.

We finished the week (I think) with another short climb up to the Pepper Pot. It was a lovely week, as always when the Herefordshire Hearties visit. We had a number of trips out too, so more posts to follow.

Gardadale – Local Walks

Wrapping Up July.


It remained hot. The kids, well A and B anyway, were joining friends for swims in the Bay at high tide. I’ve always regarded such behaviour as a sure sign of insanity, as the sea is not all that inviting here, being full of silt and murky brown and almost certainly full of unsavoury pollutants too, but finally I cracked and TBH and I cycled down to a spot near Jenny Brown’s Point a couple of times for a dip.


And……it was very pleasant. Hopefully, we’ll get the right weather and do it again next summer.

Carn Fadryn.

And then we went for our annual, marvellous, camping trip with old friends to Towyn Farm on the Llyn Peninsula. I remember that I did a lot of snorkelling in the first part of the week. The water was a lot colder than it had been in the Bay, but it was clear and there was lots to see as ever. Later in the week, the winds picked up and we switched to body surfing. Lots of games of Kubb and Molkky too. Beach cricket, frisbee throwing. All the usual fun.

Lots of walking happened too, but with B still suffering with his knee we generally opted to stay at the campsite/beach and keep him company, the only exception being the obligatory ascent of ‘Birthday Hill’ or Caryn Fadryn.

I apparently took no photos at all, apart from the rather poor one above of some of the Naughty Nine on Carn Fadryn’s summit.

Inexplicable. I did take lots of pictures in the garden after we returned home though! So here’s one of those:


Edit – TBH to the rescue – I did take more photos at Towyn, but using TBH’s phone – I think mine had no charge. So here’s a selection of photos, some of which I took and some of which are TBH’s work:

On the campsite – Chocolate Brownie for the Birthday Boy – complete with Candles.
Back on Carn Fadryn – we always have a long sit on the top. The views demand it.
UF and the EWO – almost certainly discussing the weather.
The Birthday Boy on Birthday Hill (although this was a couple of days after his actual birthday)
Late night beach cricket. Should have been playing with a white ball.
The boys on Andy’s SUPB. They loved it, B in particular.
Packing up – deflating the rubber rings.

Obviously the travel restrictions over the last two years have been a pain in the neck, but if I’m allowed to go to Wales for a week every summer, I reckon I can get by; with a little help from my friends anyway.

Wrapping Up July.

Plum Chutney and Almond Tea on Farleton Fell

The Prof on Hutton Roof, heading towards Farleton Fell.

The day after our Glasson walk we met the Herefordshire Horde* again for a more familiar walk on Hutton Roof and Farleton Fell.

(* Can three people be a horde? The only other term I could think of which would keep the alliteration was ‘host’ but that’s no better. Herefordshire Household? No, that’s no good either. Herd? No.)

Eaves Wood and Arnside Knott from Farleton Fell.

The pictures show that it was quite cloudy, and according to Andy it was raining early doors, but I remember it being pretty warm and a bit sticky.

Lunch stop.

Our lunch stop brought a good-natured argument about the relative ‘middle-classness’ of Andy’s plum chutney and my loose-leaf almond tea, brewed using an infuser.

Stove plus the offending infuser.

I don’t think we let the argument go for the rest of the day, not even when Andy climbed into his salt-of-the-earth Beamer to drive home. (See what I did there! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜) Herefordshire Hoi-Polloi?

Farleton Fell.

We didn’t quite make the top of Farleton Fell since we were hurrying to get to our respective homes to watch England lose the Euros final.

Looking back to Farleton Fell.
Great Coum and Ingleborough from Hutton Roof.

Another excellent saunter and a precursor of more to come.

Plum Chutney and Almond Tea on Farleton Fell

Glasson Dock and Cockersand Abbey

Taking in the view from…Bodie Hill or Tithe Barn Hill. The road sign has one, the OS map the other.

Back to July. The Madley Massive were in town, collecting the Professor at the end of his term. Andy had the excellent idea of meeting for a walk at Glasson, seeing that the forecast wasn’t great, so that a coastal walk seemed like a sensible alternative to a soaking in the hills. I carried an umbrella, but it wasn’t needed and the weather brightened during the walk, so that we eventually had some sunshine.

Across the Lune to Sunderland Point.
Coattages at Crook Farm – with large anchor and….buoy?

There’s something very enticing about the paraphernalia of shipping and trawling: nets, lobster pots, anchors and such like. Is this big rusty ball a former buoy? I suppose that if metal ships can keep afloat then so can metal buoys?


By coincidence, TBH and I had occasion to walk a short part of the Lancashire Coastal Way a couple of days ago and I was thinking how nice it would be to walk it all, or at least the part which goes around Morecambe Bay.

Plover Scar Lighthouse.

Funny what perspective can do – I assumed that Plover Scar lighthouse was quite small, but I’ve since read that it is 8m tall. Now I’m thinking that I’d like to have a wander out, at low tide, to take a closer look. Lighthouses too are fascinating in some way. This was one of a pair which used to guide ships into the Lune Estuary. It was damaged in 2016 when it was hit by a commercial ship which was on its way into the docks at Glasson. Must be a bit embarrassing to run into a lighthouse.

Lancashire Coastal Way, looking towards the Forest of Bowland hills.
Approaching the remains of Cockersand Abbey.

In his post about this walk, Andy had this to say:

Iโ€™m sure when Mark gets around to posting about this walk (sometime in 2027 I think) Iโ€™m sure heโ€™ll tell you more about it.

So: around 1180 a hermitage was built here, which soon became a hospital, then a priory and finally an abbey. It belonged, in the first instance, to Leicester Abbey, which seems quite odd, given that Leicester is quite a long way from here. When it was built, this area was marshland, so the location is a bit odd in that respect too.

Cockersand Abbey Chapter House.

The intact building is the Chapter House, where meetings would have taken place, which was restored and refurbished and used as a mausoleum, from 1750 to 1861 by the Dalton family of nearby Thurnham Hall. The actual abbey was much more extensive than this small building would suggest. Here’s the Historic England listing.


This track took us to a minor lane which ought to have been quiet, it being a dead-end road, but in fact there was quite a lot of traffic, presumably due to the caravan park at the end of the road.

Lancaster Canal, Glasson Dock spur.
The marina at Glasson.
Glasson Dock and Cockersand Abbey

Whit Week

Horseshoe Vetch

For our Whit week half-term break we were joined by our old friends from Herefordshire and also by Jay-D, who was without her girls. The kids are all growing up and I’m afraid we might have to get used to holidays without them.


We didn’t stray too far on this holiday – lots of local walks; lots chats and cups of tea before, during and after said walks. So with good friends to walk with, I took photos of….flowers…

Orchids and Buttercups on The Lots
Jay-D and TBF on The Lots.

Oh, and when we stopped for a brew near Jenny Brown’s Point, I took a photo, not of the assembled crew, but of my stove…

A stove!

…a much appreciated hand-me-down from Andy.

Morecambe Bay and Grange from Jack Scout.

When we stopped for ice-creams at Gibraltar Farm (they make their own), did I take a photo of

(a) Family and friends enjoying their ice-creams?

(b) Caravans?

Judge for yourselves…

Gibraltar Farm campsite.

TBH has been warning me about my misanthropy for years. Faulty wiring upstairs I expect.

Later, when we repaired to ‘the dip’ for snacks and a mild bit of boozing, I did manage to get some people in shot as well as the fire…

A beach bonfire.

The empties cans were upcycled as targets in a game of stone-throwing which I enjoyed immensely. Simple pleasures, always the best.

Last of the light.
The schilla slope on Arnside Knott.

We had a wander around to Arnside.

Herb Paris in Redhill Woods.

I missed the return over the Knott. B was completing a DofE expedition and needed picking up from the Park Quarry car park on Hutton Roof. With hindsight, I set off far too early.

Forest of Bowland from Hutton Roof

Early enough to have time for an ascent of Hutton Roof crags. The views were very hazy, but it was a fine walk none-the-less.

Early Purple Orchids on Hutton Roof.
TBF sashaying around on a scooter.

A fair bit of the holiday was actually spent lazing about at home, in the kitchen or the garden. Playing Kubb and Basketball. And messing about with B’s scooter, which TBF particularly took to.

Many things have been deferred, postponed, put-on-hold or just plain cancelled this year, so this week, simple though it was, came as a great relief. Thank goodness for old friends – even if they won’t pose for photos!

Andy’s posts about his visit, with more photos of people but less flowers, are here and here.

Whit Week