Date - 24th May 2009 Distance - 8 miles
Map - OL7 Start point - Parking area by the racecourse (SD 377 787)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Hampsfell 727 221 SD 3993 7937



"Where have you been, Allen?" asked Shaun.

"To see which walking book Dad has been looking at", he replied.

Grizzly said, "he had planned to take us to Ennerdale, but having that little courtesy car, it may well be that it will be put off. It is a long drive after all"

"You’re right" replied Allen. "He has been looking at the Outlying Fells book, and it was open at Hampsfell."

"Well that’s good", said Tetley, "as you Grizzly and Eric have not climbed that before, so that will be another catch-up out of the way".

When Dad came into the room Allen said "are we doing Hampsfell on Sunday".

"Yes, replied Dad, "starting from Cartmel, where the sticky toffee pudding comes from"

"He’s always thinking about food," cried Shaun.

It was Bank Holiday weekend, and Dad remembered that point to point meetings usually take place at this time at the racecourse. We set our paws tapping and from the Internet found that there was not any racing on Sunday.

"Great, so the walks on", said Dad.


The Walk

Cartmel is quite close, so for once we did not have to get up too early. The drive up the valley was enchanting, the trees so green and the countryside so fresh.

"What is that large building?" asked Allen.

Tetley replied, "that is the Priory Church, built centuries ago"

Passing between buildings we entered a narrow lane and shortly this opened out into a roughly surfaced, and at this early time in the morning, empty car park. Dad soon got his boots on, and meanwhile we jumped into the rucksack, then off we went walking on through the car park crossing the track of the racecourse, whose buildings were to our right.

After passing a crossroad of paths the track entered woods called Lane Park. It was absolutely idyllic in here. Wonderful bird song and in the distance the sound of the hurrying River Eea (unusual name we thought). Under the trees on either side were bluebells. Dad captured this atmospheric shot. We like the way the sunlight is dappled on the trunks of the trees.

The track climbed up then exited the woods. At a fork we took the right branch that became a narrow road which led to the main road where we turned left. There was not pavement all the way along this, so Dad took great care, as it was busy with traffic. Rounding a corner we came to an imposing entrance. This was to Holker Hall; a large estate with lands stretching for miles in any direction. Just beyond was this pleasant half square of estate houses built in 1996.

Soon now the road reached the village of Cark, which we passed on its outskirts, to a narrow lane on the left. This was followed as it climbed up, with views to the right of Hampsfell, our summit objective today.

"What is that big house called on the hillside over there", asked Shaun.

Dad said, "Birkby Hall, and we will be passing that in a little while."

We reached a farm called Low Bank Side, where we turned right through a gate and down to the road. It was just as well that Dad did not miss this turn, as going straight on would have brought us in a circle to Lane Park. Then it was over a stile on the other side of the road into the fields. They had been planted so Dad respectfully walked round the edges.

Soon Birkby Hall was reached and a narrow path then led up beside some woods to a stile into a huge pasture full of buttercups and daises. It was such a pretty sight.

A path led through this to a stile on the left and the path beyond descended to the cluster of houses called Templand.

Dad said, "there is a 15th century well at the farm here and when I did this walk in 1997 with Uncle Eric (that was pre STAG) there was rock garden around it"

We were full of anticipation, but sadly while the well is still there; the garden is a wasteland. We were still able to see what it was like from the picture taken by Dad in 1997. This was on a film camera so the image is not quite as sharp.

Walking ahead we crossed a road then climbing a stile walked along a path to reach a narrow minor road by some houses.

"Wow! Just look at that", exclaimed Little Eric.

We all, Dad included, looked in wonder at the magnificent banks of wild Yarrow lining the verges. We cannot remember seeing it so massed before.

A little way along there was a seat and we all sat for a while looking across to where we had come from. Dad told us that the houses on the left were the outskirts of the village called Allithwaite. Setting off again we took a last lingering look at the banks of flowers, before climbing a stile and heading up the grassy pasture. This was a very convenient footpath as it enabled us to cut the corner of the road. We also saw lovely hawthorn trees in blossom.

Once at the road again this was followed to a junction. We carefully crossed the main road and skirted left round the end of a cemetery to walk up Grange Fell Road, passing the golf club. Then we soon took a narrow lane left and climbed steeply. To our right the view opened up.

"Look", said Tetley. "That is Morecambe Bay and those big buildings are the power stations at Heysham".

More importantly though we all waved our paws to Uncle Brian.

At the brow, we went through a gate on the left. Clear paths now led us unerringly to our main objective; the summit of Hampsfell, crowned by its building called The Hospice. The fell is a limestone ridge between Grange over Sands and the Cartmel Valley, so it was hardly surprising that there were lots of people there.

If you look carefully you might spot us sitting on the seat after having our picture taken. The people are just about to ascend the steps leading to the observation platform on top. Dad took us up there and we scanned round looking to the hills of Lakeland. It was a wonderful feeling too, to think that we had climbed all we could see. A number of people asked about us, so Dad explained and also took the opportunity to advertise our website. One lady kindly took Dad’s picture sitting with us.

The Hospice, itself, is a well built structure, and was provided by a pastor of Cartmel in the 19th century for "the shelter and entertainment of travellers over the fell". The open interior offers good shelter and free poetry readings on painted panels on all four walls.

"Please take photos", implored Grizzly, "as we want the poems to be included in our tale"

Here is one:


The others read as follows:

O God! O good beyond compare!

If this Thy meaner works be fair,

If thus Thy beauty gild the span

Of faded Earth and fallen Man,

How glorious must those mansions be

Where Thy redeemed well with Thee.


This HOSPICE as an open door

Alike to welcome rich and poor;

A roomy seat for young and old,

Where they may screen them from the cold:


Three windows that command a view

To north to west and southward too,

A flight of steps requireth care

The roof will show a prospect rare.


Mountain and vale you thence survey

The winding streams and noble bay;

The sun at noon the shadow hides

Along the east and western sides:


A lengthened chain holds guard around,

To keep the cattle from the ground;

Kind reader freely take your pleasure,

But do not mischief to my treasure:



And if the rich and poor should meet

I trust they will each other greet,

And rich and poor and young and old

Together screen them from the cold:


And as the windows are not glass’d

We'll mind to leave the shutters fast,

The "flight of steps requireth care"

Then why not have a handrail there;

That feeble old and timid fair

May mount and view the prospect rare.


The blue and lofty mountain’s sides

The noble bay and stealthy tides

That treach'rous creep along the sand

Or loudly dash upon the strand.


Yon gaily rigged trim pleasure boat

Upon the glittering waves afloat.

Then (turning to the west) is seen

Dear Cartmel’s peaceful valley green

Mid waving woods and verdant lands,

The fine old church of Cartmel stands.

Within those walls in days of yore

His priestly rule the prior bore.

Then may the lengthening chain around

Keep only cattle from the ground;

For no good man would think it pleasure

To climb the fell to spoil your treasure

Your offer made in kindly spirit

I hope you'll find our conduct merit;


We spent quite a while here exploring, then sitting looking towards our beloved Lakeland Fells, as we had our lunch. Just before leaving Dad took this photo of the lettering over the doorway.

Enigmatically in his Outlying Fells book, Wainwright states –

‘Outside, over the doorway, is an inscription that will be Greek to most visitors.’

As we walked away we looked back to the Hospice and the limestone outcrops adorning the summit.

"Where now" asked Allen.

Dad replied, "we take the path that goes right, and then it is just a steady descent to the valley and over the fields to Cartmel."

And, sure enough in about half and hour we were there. Rather than rush straight to the car, Dad kindly took us on a tour of the village.

"Look at the post box", cried Shaun.

"It looks very old to me", replied Little Eric.

Indeed it was too, installed during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Now the Priory Church of St Mary & St Michael loomed large to our right and we walked through the lychgate to get the best view. For more information go to www.cartmelpriory.org.uk

Along the main street we crossed the delightful River Eea. Note the two ducks flying down it too.

Further along by the square is this gatehouse. It is all that remains of the 12th century Augustinian priory, which had to be fortified following raids by Robert the Bruce.

And, finally, the Village Shop, famous for its sticky toffee pudding. Dad insisted on putting this picture in!

Well that completed our tour of Cartmel and it was just along the lane by the shop to the car park. If you are ever in the area we heartily recommend you visit the village.

It was to a café now, and where else in this area but Jane & Sam’s Hat Trick Café at Low Newton. What is extra nice is that we get to go in as well.

Dad was hungry so had their delicious bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich with lots of mayonnaise. Tea of course and to follow he had one of Jane’s individual lemon meringue pies. They are absolutely gorgeous and to die for. Uncle Brian is very partial to these also, so Sam suggested taking one for him. We said that we would treat him. He was very pleased and enjoyed it for his tea later.

Thanks Dad for another great day out.


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