Haverbrack, Beetham Fell, Lunch at the Bull’s Head

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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…

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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.

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From the Corn Mill a footbridge takes you across the river and then the path winds around the paper mill, beside the River Bela…

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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…

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…which were brawling in the road.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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…which, now that I know how to identify them, seem to be everywhere I go.

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Dallam Hall and the Bela.

We continued our walk along the Bela, following it out to its confluence with the Kent…

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Whitbarrow Scar across the Bela and the Kent.

At the Orchid Triangle, there were…

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…orchids! I think that this is Common Spotted Orchid. And this…

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…is Common Twayblade…

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….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.

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Red Admiral.

From Haverbrack we crossed Cockshot Lane, walked through Longtail Wood to Beetham Fell and The Fairy Steps…

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Here’s Andy negotiating the steps without touching the sides, so that the fairies will grant him a wish…

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Sort of.

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Rock Rose.

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?

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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.

Haverbrack, Beetham Fell, Lunch at the Bull’s Head

Long Meg Walk III – Little Salkeld Watermill

Little Salkeld Watermill

From the standing stones it was a short stroll to lunch, taken in the cafe at Little Salked Watermill. The food was outstanding – I had Moroccan lentil soup, with four different breads home-made with flour from the mill. The mill also has a little shop selling their own flour, various other organic goodies and a curious mixture of books – some cookbooks and others about watermills and megaliths.

It’s also possible, for a small fee, to take a tour of the mill. It’s advertised as self-led, but we had the great fortune to be shown around by one of the people working in the mill. We were shown all of the machines in operation, and the ingenious way in which various cogs and pulleys could be engaged or disengaged so that the waterwheels could drive everything. There are two wheels, one outside and the other partly hidden away inside the building. Before our tour the outdoor wheel wasn’t running but we saw how simply releasing a chain allowed a sluice to open and very quickly the second wheel was turning and running a winnowing machine.

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The kids were fascinated, in fact we all were.

The 'indoor' wheel

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Long Meg Walk III – Little Salkeld Watermill