The day after my late afternoon walk from Yealand and another walk involving a lift. This was a longer local walk on a day of very changeable weather. After I’d passed Hazelslack Farm, the weather took a turn for the worse and seemed set-in, so I took the easy option and called TBH to come and pick me up, which saved me a couple of miles in pouring rain.
The River Bela and Whitbarrow Scar.
After our swim, A had to get home, I forget why now, but I was in no hurry, so asked TBH to drop me off in Milnthorpe, so that I could walk back. I followed the River Bela through Dallam Deer Park and out towards it’s confluence with the Kent. The path then picks up the embankment of the old Arnside branch line, rejoining the road near the ‘orchid triangle’ at Sandside, a small section of roadside verge renowned for the orchids which appear there, not that I could find any on this occasion.
Common Blue butterfly on unopened Oxeye Daisy.
When I photographed this flower, I didn’t photograph the leaves; I suspect that I was confident that I knew what I was looking at and, probably, that this was Common Bistort. However, the rounded flower looks more like Amphibious Bistort, a curious plant in that it has two different forms – one adapted to grow on land and the other which grows in water.
After a lengthy period of dereliction, the Quarry Warehouse was restored as offices several years ago. It stands next to an enormous double limekiln and I wondered whether its presence here was due to the Furness railway line which came right past, but apparently it substantially predates the railway line…
The earliest reference to the warehouse is in a document from 1778 in the form of a lease for 99 years from Daniel Wilson to John Wakefield of Kendal, a shearmandyer. The document is for the lease of a warehouse at Sandside for ‘£5 15s and 10d yearly’. John Wakefield was listed in Bailey’s Northern Directory (1781) as a merchant and manufacturer, and again in 1790 ‘Wakefield, John and Sons’ were still listed as merchants in Milnthorpe.
It’s amazing what a little lazy internet research can throw up isn’t it? I was intrigued by the word ‘shearmandyer’: another search led to lots of references to former residents of Kendal, so perhaps it was a very local term. I presume it refers to someone involved in the wool trade. John Wakefield has a short wikipedia entry. He was quite the entrepreneur: he owned a cotton mill in Burneside, a brewery in Kendal, set-up a bank, invested in a turnpike and owned five ships trading between Liverpool and the West Indies, taking Kendal cotton out and returning with sugar. Strange to think that the cotton was almost returning to where it had presumably come from. He also ran the Gatebeck Gunpowder Mill near Endmoor, for which he was censured at a meeting of his fellow Kendal Quakers.
Milnthorpe itself was once a port, which seems very unlikely now, but the building of the railway viaduct significantly changed the estuary. The Quarry Warehouse apparently once had its own wharf.
Anyway, back to my walk, I’d come this way to try to find a path around the western edge of Sandside Quarry, which Conrad had written about. This is it…
I was very pleased to find a route close to home which I’d never walked before.
Sandside Quarry. Still a working quarry, unlike the many others in the area.
I had intended to go to the top of Haverbrack to enjoy the splendid view of the estuary from there, but it now occurred to me that I still had quiet a way to go and that it was hot and I didn’t have a drink with me, again, so I decided to head fairly directly home via Beetham Fell and its Fairy Steps…
…down to Hazelslack Farm and then along the side of Silverdale Moss to Hawes Water and home from there.
Painted Lady – I haven’t seen many this year so far, after a bumper summer last year.
On the verge of the lane from Hazelslack Farm I enjoyed this mixture of Crosswort and Forget-me-nots. I was confused by the white flowers in amongst the blue until I realised that they too were Forget-me-nots which had faded in the sun.
I think that this is a Mistle Thrush, rather than a Song Thrush, but that’s because of the ‘jizz’ of the bird on the day rather than anything specific I can pick out on this photo.
Squirrel in the woods near Hawes Water.
Eaves Wood – Arnside Tower – Arnside Knott – Arnside – Sandside – Beetham Fell – Hazelslack – Silverdale Moss – Coldwell Meadows – Gait Barrows – Hawes Water – Sixteen Buoys Field – Eaves Wood.
Arnside Knott and the Kent estuary from Beetham Fell.
Uitwaaien (v) (from Dutch) To take a break to clear one’s head; lit. “to walk in the wind”.
Silverdale Moss, Middlebarrow and Arnside Tower.
A long walk, on the last day in March. I needed to uitwaaien. I didn’t take my camera and, to begin with at least, didn’t take many photos with my phone.
Eventually, of course, I would regret the lack of a camera with a zoom: in the photo above you can see a small white speck which is a Great Egret. I have seen them before locally, but this one glided in and landed quite close by. It was interesting to watch it fishing and see just how similar to a Heron they are in all but looks and how unlike a Little Egret. I really would have liked to get a good photo though.
In this photo the tiny specks which look like there might have been dust on the camera lens are actually hirundines, my first of the year and much earlier than I expect to see them. I suspect that they were Martins of some sort, but can’t be sure. I do know that they lifted my spirits considerably.
I was worried that all of the tree-felling at Hawes Water would put an end to my annual pilgrimage to see the Toothwort which flowers there, but the although the trees which host the Toothwort have been felled, the flowers have reappeared. I think that, like the Martins, this was the earliest I have ever seen them. I did take some photos, but they didn’t come out too well. There are, of course, numerous photos from previous years of the rather odd looking flowers dotted about this blog.
When I got home it was to find that the kids had made tea, not entirely unexpected, since it was Mother’s Day, but welcome none the less. B’s pork, leek and apple stew was delicious. Rather better than when I make it, I thought. I’ve told him he’s delegated to make it regularly, but he doesn’t seem too keen.
This last photo is from a midweek wander across the Lots, a couple of days after the walk which garnered the rest of the pics.
River Kent, Whitbarrow and Lakeland Fells from Haverbrack.
A couple of days after our Boxing Day walk we were out for another family ramble. Our kids wanted to take their cousins to the Fairy Steps, so that’s what we did, starting from Sandside.
As you can see it was a clear, sharp sunny day.
The walk was about the same length as the Boxing Day one, just a bit over five miles, but with more up and down.
The Fairy Steps on Beetham Fell.
Arnside Knott and the Kent from Beetham Fell.
Panorama of the view from Haverbrack (click to see larger version).
One of my Christmas presents was a ‘new’ smartphone. I’ve been playing with the MapMyWalk app which does exactly that, but also provides a wealth of other statistics and graphs, some of which you can see here…
…maps, stats, graphs, for a numbers geek like me this is Nirvana. It also keeps running totals. Expect more on this theme in later posts.
Sunday, fortunately, brought more settled weather and some sunshine. The title of the post should really be ‘Heron Corn Mill, Lunch at the Bull’s Head, Haverbrack and Beetham Fell’ but that’s a bit long, and this present one mirrors that of an earlier post.
The photo above shows the Heron Corn Mill, on the left, and the modern paper mill on the right, with, in between, the mill pond on the Bela backed up behind this weir…
The corn mill seems to have had a new lease of life in recent years and, although it doesn’t take long to look around, it’s worth a visit, especially since it’s free, with a handy car-park which has an honesty box with a request for a £2 donation for all-day parking.
From the Corn Mill a footbridge takes you across the river and then the path winds around the paper mill, beside the River Bela…
We crossed the busy A6, hoping to get some lunch at the cafe at Beetham Garden Centre. This wasn’t the original plan. We had been hoping to revisit The Ship at Sandside. Naively, I had been expecting that we could just rock-up when we pleased and order Sunday lunch. Andy pointed out that, on a Bank Holiday Sunday, a popular pub might be busy, and that an advance booking might be advisable. I made a phone call and discovered that he was quite right: a booking was advisable, or would have been, if I’d rung a couple of weeks earlier. So it was that we were a party in search of somewhere to buy lunch and were travelling more in hope than in expectation.
The cafe at the Garden Centre looked excellent. And full.
There were surprisingly few rumblings of discontent as we continued. If anybody was angry about my lack of organisation, they kept it to themselves. Unlike this pair of female Chaffinches…
…which were brawling in the road.
I’ve seen birds fighting before, but not fighting birds with such complete disregard for what was going on around them, as these two were. I have lots of other photos, but they are mostly blurred shots, showing the moments when one or both birds briefly disengaged and flew a little into the air before diving back into the fray, in a bid to gain the upper-hand.
A male Chaffinch kept making appearances over the adjacent hedge. Whether he was an anxious or disinterested spectator will remain as mysterious as the cause of the ruckus in the first place.
When the fight either finished or possibly moved on to another venue, we retraced our steps to the corn mill.
Small White. Or Green-viened White. White anyway. The unopened and partially opened buds are Oxeye Daisies – I’m amazed that I haven’t noticed that very striking, bold pattern before.
We crossed Dallam Deer park, the deer obligingly, if somewhat distantly, makng an appearance for our guests.
Outside the Bull’s Head in Milnthorpe we hesitated. I’ve never heard any opinions about it, good or bad. I think I might have had a pint here and watched part of a football match, many moons ago. Which is not much to go on.
TBH asked a girl, who was smoking a fag in the doorway, what the food was like, and she assured us that it was excellent. Later, I noticed that the same girl was collecting glasses in the pub and wondered whether she was an employee. But if we were gently duped, we didn’t lose out in any way. The food was very good, with an amazingly wide variety on offer, but everything apparently cooked from scratch. I’m very surprised that nobody has recommended it to me before. Judging by the prices on the menu, it was good value too, although we didn’t have to worry about that, since Andy very generously picked up the tab.
At this point, our boys gleefully revealed their own agenda: since we were in Milnthorpe and the sun was shining, they insisted on visiting the play area and trying out the new equipment there. It was only a brief stop and it gave me a chance to watch the many bumblebees on the flowering shrubs in the border there. They seemed mainly to be of two species: Early Bumblebees, with two yellow stripes and an orange tail and Tree Bumblebees…
…which, now that I know how to identify them, seem to be everywhere I go.
Dallam Hall and the Bela.
We continued our walk along the Bela, following it out to its confluence with the Kent…
Whitbarrow Scar across the Bela and the Kent.
At the Orchid Triangle, there were…
…orchids! I think that this is Common Spotted Orchid. And this…
…is Common Twayblade…
….which according to my orchid field guide is ‘a close companion of nearly all our most beautiful and rare orchids’. (Of which, more in a forthcoming post.)
From the Orchid Triangle, it’s a short, but very rewarding, climb up Haverbrack.
From Haverbrack we crossed Cockshot Lane, walked through Longtail Wood to Beetham Fell and The Fairy Steps…
Here’s Andy negotiating the steps without touching the sides, so that the fairies will grant him a wish…
Dropping down through the woods back towards Beetham we stumbled across a Roe Deer. We watched in hushed silence for a moment, until A broke the spell with, “It’s only a deer, I can see those in the garden at home.”
I think our kids do appreciate what they have, living here, but maybe they’ll have to move away before they really appreciate it properly?
I mooted the idea that some of us might walk home from Beetham, but when the initial enthusiasm evaporated I was secretly relieved – we were out of water and I was gasping for a cup of tea.
Later, the Shandy Sherpa and TBF joined me for a wander around Eaves Wood in the gloaming. We spent quite a while watching the juvenile Woodpecker featured in a recent post, and as long again sitting by the Pepper Pot absorbing the peace and quiet. A marvellous day.
Cove Road Quince flowers.
So, I had a little op, part of my ongoing review of local surgery facilities. I had the same op 24 years ago. On that occasion, I spent a few days in hospital afterwards, and although the aftermath was a good deal better than the few days prior to the procedure, suffice to say that it wasn’t entirely comfortable. This time then, I knew what to expect. What’s more the surgeon had warned me that I would need at least a week off work to recuperate (and then scotched that silver-lining by sending me a date at the beginning of a two week holiday period) and I had been sent home with a handy collection of pain-killers to help me get by.
I went under the knife on the day before my birthday, so not much chance then of my usual walk on my birthday, and certainly no hill-climbing, at least that’s what I thought, which was why I was so keen to drag the kids up Pen-y-ghent and Helvellyn in the days beforehand.
But this time, the op had been performed as a day case, so at least I was sent home. And it had gone much better than expected and I wasn’t really experiencing much pain. A little discomfort would be nearer the mark.
This clump of sedge is close to the Elmslack entrance to Eaves Wood. I’ve walked past them countless times before, but never noticed them flowering, or are they fruiting? To the left of the rush the shorter, fine ‘grass’ is actually some kind of garlic or chive – it has a strong garlic flavour and smell.
A consultation of ‘Roger Phillips Grasses, Ferns, Mosses & Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland’ has led me to the conviction that this is Hairy Woodrush.
In fact, I felt pretty good. I’d been told I couldn’t drive for 24 hours. And that I couldn’t be left alone during the same period. But nobody had categorically told me that I couldn’t go for a birthday walk. And the sun was shining. Or at least, it was when I set off, although a wave of cloud was rushing in from the west, presumably carried in on a front of some kind.
I did go out on my own, which probably contravened the terms of my release, but I took my mobile so that I cold phone for help, if I fell unconscious or somesuch….
I planned to head up to Castlebarrow, giving me a hill, however small, as is my custom on my birthday and a vantage point to watch the weather change, but I was distracted by the area of fallen trees just off the path, which the children used to enjoy visiting in order to build a den between the roots of two large trunks.
There are several large fallen trees in the one small area…
The area around the trees is now filling up with a thicket of saplings…
…in contrast with other nearby areas where the mature trees still stand and the woodland floor is only covered with old leaves and the odd patch of Cuckoo Pint.
I expected to find fungi growing on the dead wood…
And I did!
But also, on an old Yew, a new Yew…
….something else, I’m not sure what.
Because of all of my faffing about admiring dead trees and fungi, by the time I reached Castlebarrow, the blue sky had virtually all been enveloped by the cloud.
It was really too gloomy for taking bird photos, but there were a number of duelling Robins on adjacent small trees…
…and I couldn’t resist them!
Blue Moor Grass
From Castlebarrow I dropped down on to the northern side and took a dog walkers path into Middlebarrow which I may have followed before, but which I don’t know well. I heard a Green Woodpecker yaffle very close at hand. Scanning the nearby trees I was rewarded with a flash of exotic green and red as the woodpecker flew away. I frequently hear Green Woodpeckers but very rarely see them, so this was a special moment.
Arnside Tower and Blackthorn blossom.
Following the path which traces the northern edge of the Caravan Park I expected to see Green Hellebore…
Green Hellebore. No flowers in evidence. Too late or too early – I suspect the latter.
But certainly didn’t expect to see another Green Woodpecker. I heard it first, then tracked down its position due to the sound of it knocking persistently on the trunk of a tree. I could just make out it’s head…
And managed a frustratingly useless first-ever photograph of a Green Woodpecker. It soon flew off, and whilst I waited to see if it would return, and watched the antics of a dog which had skipped over the wall from the path and was gleefully evading its owners, I wondered about the ownership of a largish hole in the ground I could see just beyond the wall. I didn’t wonder for long…
…is the large Blackthorn where last year I watched for a while entranced by the huge and varied population of bees frequenting its flowers. It wasn’t fully in blossom this year and I was struck by its lichen bedecked branches.
Cherry Blossom on the cricket club grounds.
Primroses on a Cove Road verge.
Barren Strawberry on a Cove Road wall.
Briefly, as I neared home, the blue sky returned, but this was a very fleeting improvement in the weather – patches of blue appeared and then, in a matter of moments, virtually the whole sky was blue again, but only moments later it had all disappeared again.
Jack-by-the-Hedge, or Hedge Garlic, or Garlic Mustard. Supposed to be good to eat, but much too bitter for me.
There’d been a dispute, apparently, about who was going to cook me a birthday breakfast, but this was a bit of a pointless argument, since I don’t eat breakfast these days. However, A deferred her menu choice and served up a very creditable Spanish omelette for lunch. We now just need to work on the other 364 days of the year.
When I’d bought the boys new boots the day before, S fixed the shop assistant with a glare and asked, “But are they waterproof?”
To which he responded; “Well, you’ll have to wax them.”
I’m glad that they got this from someone else, because I doubt they would have taken it half so seriously if I had told them. Anyway, B, particularly, was very vexed that he had scuffed his boots on Helvellyn so I decided to take advantage of their enthusiasm for their new boots and they washed them, and then applied two coats, one of a leather treatment and softer, and one of wax.
Which, in turn, encouraged me to do the same to mine!
I’ve kept my ‘cleaning kit’ – wax, rags and brush – in the box my own relatively new boots came in, in the summer house and said box had two sizeable residents spiders…
I think they have been living in here a while because the box also contained a couple of shed exoskeletons. I suspect that these are some kind of wolf spider, but I don’t have even a remotely comprehensive guide to British spiders, so really, I’m just guessing.
Later, A had a dance lesson in Milnthorpe. Whilst she was there, the boys and I had a simple straight up and down walk up Haverbrack…
So, rather unexpectedly, I managed two hills on my birthday, only the modest heights of Castlebarrow and Haverbrack, but it’s a good deal more than I anticipated.
Or: Driving Miss A
Scenes from the life of a taxi-driving Dad.
Guides have a Thursday evening outing to ‘Pets At Home’? Perfect, I’ll nip up Scout Scar to take in the wide-open views.
Consecutive dance lessons for an hour and a quarter in Milnthorpe on a Monday evening? No worries – a circuit from Sandside Back Lane through the woods to Storth, up to Cockshot Lane and then to the diminutive summit of Haverbrack – another Small Hill with a Disproportionately Good View.
Panorama from Haverbrack – Kent Estuary, Whitbarrow Scar and the distant Cumbrian Fells.
This photo is from a fortnight ago. I’d also walked the same circuit a couple of weeks before that, under gloomy skies, when I didn’t take any photos.
I walked it again tonight. It had been sunny all day (whilst I was stuck at work waiting for a session of ‘Wellbeing’ training*) but whilst we ate tea the eastern sky had turned an impressively thunderous black.
I did get rained on a bit, but the dramatic dark skies and fast-moving strips of sunlight were more than sufficient compensation.
On a whim, I diverted slightly to visit Sandside’s infamous ‘Orchid Triangle’. Somebody (I’m not being secretive, I can’t remember who) told me about this unprepossessing spot years ago, but I misunderstood their directions and could never find any orchids. Then somebody else (again – it’s a mystery who it was) corrected my mistake, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to checking for orchids at an appropriate season.
But today – what a stroke of luck: lots of orchids. At first I thought that they’d finished flowering, what with the lack of colour in the flowers, but now I can see that in fact many of the flowers have yet to open.
This is Common Twayblade (I’m pretty sure of that, although I’ve never seen it before) and the flowers are a yellowy-green. Not the most spectacular orchid perhaps, and apparently ‘quite common’, but it made me very happy none-the-less.
Not so happy with the photos, but that just gives me a reason to go back soon to have another go.
Flowers didn’t feature in the ‘7 secrets of happiness’ talk at work today, although we were exhorted to ‘be mindful’ which seemed to entail noticing changes in the weather and the seasons. (I think there might be a bit more too it than that). Music was missing too. Literature, drama, art – not mentioned. Exercise was advocated, but not fresh air, sunshine, great views…
Maybe I should deliver the training next time?
Oh, and finally…
…another book recommendation.
Imagine this: a young man goes to University, joins a Hiking Club, becomes a bit obsessed with walking and list-ticking, gets into a few scrapes, garners an assortment of amusing anecdotes. Sound familiar to anyone? Craig Weldon has woven a very readable book out of those youthful exploits. He really does become a bit list obsessed, somewhat of a monomaniac, and it doesn’t always seem to make him happy (the part where he moves to England and seems grimly determined to drive as close as he can to the top of Marilyn’s and then bag them with the minimum of effort or enjoyment is a bit hard to fathom, but mercifully short). On the whole it’s life-affirming stuff, and made me smirk knowingly in several places. Besides which, anyone who singles out Ben Mor Coigach and Ben a’Chrulaiste for praise can’t be all bad. I’m even feeling almost inspired by his determination to go walking in foul weather. Almost.
(Available for loan – first shout).
Oh – of course – Craig Weldon has a blog, so you can sample his writing for free: Love of Scotland.
*Rant edited out. Don’t get me started.
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…