A Saturday afternoon and we decided to dragoon the boys into coming out for a walk with us. In honesty, I can’t remember how we arrived at the decision to repeat a walk along the River Eden, taking in Little Salkeld Watermill, Lacy’s Caves and the Long Meg and her Daughters stone circle, but it was a good choice.
We began with lunch in the cafe at the mill, which was delicious, then set off towards the river. There was a paper notice tacked to the signpost indicating that some part of the footpath had been damaged by flooding and then closed, but the notice looked quite old, so we decided to ignore it.
TBH and I have done this walk three times now, and each time we’ve seen lots of Buzzards in this first part of the walk. Closer to hand, there were flowers and insects to admire and a tree heavily laden with rather tart apples.
Small White Butterfly on some sort of Hawk’s-beard, possibly Rough Hawk’s-beard.
A weir on the Eden. Force Mill opposite.
We did eventually see some signs of flood damage, but that had nothing to do with what happened next. I’m not sure how, but I lost my footing and fell down the steep bank towards the river. Little S was first to react, grabbing hold of my ankle as I slid down the slope, which, frankly, could have ended badly for him, but between us we managed to halt my fall. I was a bit bruised and grazed, my camera took a whack, and I think we were all slightly shaken, but ultimately, no harm was done.
The view of the River Eden from Lacy’s Caves.
These are not natural caves, but were hewn from the rock by order of the local landowner Colonel Samuel Lacy. There are several connected ‘rooms’. One of them still has some planks in it and some metal brackets fastened to the wall, as if there had been a bench or a bed here. Apparently, Lacy may have paid someone to live in the caves as a ‘hermit’, which was a fashionable thing to do for a time. There are more pictures of the caves here, from our last family visit, made at a time when Little S genuinely was still little.
The boys may be practically grown up now, but they weren’t above a game of hide and seek in the caves, which, I’ll admit, was pretty hilarious.
I remember these wooden posts from last time too. This is one from a series erected around the Eden Valley area and designed by artist Pip Hall. They’re textured so that rubbings can be taken.
Mixed flock of Jackdaws and Rooks.
One of Long Meg’s daughters.
More daughters with Cross Fell in the cloud and the radar station on Great Dun Fell behind.
The uncountable daughters.
The Long Meg stone circle is amazing and, on the evidence of three visits, almost guaranteed to be virtually deserted.
There’s some more detail and folklore regarding the stone circle in my previous post about a visit, here.
We first learned about this route from a leaflet published by Discover Eden. It was available as a PDF online, but these days you have to buy it. One word of warning – the leaflet gives a longer version of this walk, including a visit to Addingham Church, as 4½ miles, but my phone app gave 6 miles for our truncated version. No wonder our original round took us 6 hours when we had a toddler with us.