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



Shaun had arrived with the tea, followed by Grizzly and Little Eric with the biscuits.

"Super", cheered Tetley. "I'll get the mugs."

These soon filled and passed round, we dug into the biscuit tin. "Penguins and Yorkies amongst others" said Shaun helping himself.

Little Eric was about to take another when he stopped. "Where's Allen? He is the arch tea belly and never misses out."

"Don't know to be honest", replied Tetley, "but he can smell tea a mile off, so he'll be here very soon."

And sure enough just minutes later, he strolled in, and immediately dug into the biscuits. Then saying "thanks", as Shaun passed him a mug of tea.

"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 walk 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 Little 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"

"You're always thinking about food," cried Shaun. "Just like you Allen."

"It's Bank Holiday weekend, so there will be the point to point racing. The car parks will be full so that will have a bearing on doing this walk", said Dad.

Tetley set his paws tapping, then saying, "there is 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.

Ready for the off, Shaun said, "the route is on through the car park, and across the track of the racecourse with the buildings to the right."

Coming to a crossroad of paths, Shaun instructed, "keep ahead into those woods Lane Park."

"It is absolutely idyllic in here", breathed Allen. "Just listen to the wonderful bird song and in the distance the sound of the hurrying River Eea. Can you enlighten us about the derivation of the name, Grizzly?"

"Actually I can pal. The name is derived from a plenty of eels gathering in its lower course during high tides. 'Eea' was a Viking word for eel."

"The bluebells under the trees either side are magnificent", said Tetley. "We must have a picture. It will be atmospheric if you also capture the way the sunlight is dappled on the trunks of the trees."

The track climbed then exited the woods, coming to a fork. "Take the one right", said Shaun,

After a while this became a narrow road which led to the B5278. "Turn left", called out Shaun.

There was no pavement at times along here, so Dad took great care, as it was busy with traffic. Rounding a corner we came to the imposing entrance 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 the road reached the village of Cark. "We want the road left to Cartmel. Then soon after passing a narrow road going right, take the narrow lane climbing left", advised Shaun. "This is in fact the other branch of the fork after we left Lane Park."

"We seem to be going in circles", commented Grizzly.

"Well yes, but we do not follow it all the way, as you will see", replied Shaun,

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

"Birkby Hall", replied Shaun, "we will be passing it in a little while."

We reached a farm called Low Bank Side. "We leave the track here and go right through that gate and down to the road. Then over the stile on the opposite side into the fields", instructed Shaun.

"Crops have been planted", said Little Eric.

"Yes lad, so I will respectfully walk round the edges", said Dad.

Soon Birkby Hall was reached and a narrow path led up beside some woods to a stile into a huge pasture full of buttercups and daises. "Wow, what a pretty sight", cried Allen.

Dad followed the path through this to a stile on the left, where beyond it descended to a road. "Turn right to the the cluster of houses called Templand", instructed Shaun.

Dad said, "there is a 15th century well at Templand Farm, and when I did this same walk in 1997 with Uncle Eric, there was a rock garden around it"

"That was in pre-STAG days", said Tetley. "So we look forward to seeing it."

Sadly when we arrived, whilst the well is still there; the garden is a wasteland. "Oh what a shame", said Grizzly.

"I took a picture that day, so you will be able to see what it was like."

"Great", cheered Little Eric. "We can also include it in our story." It was taken on a film camera so the image is not quite as sharp.

"The route is that track going right", pointed Shaun,

This brought us to another road that we crossed, and once over the stile, followed the path onwards to 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. "How wonderful is nature", called out Tetley.

A little way along there was a seat and we all sat for a while looking across to where we had come from. Dad said, "the houses to the left are outskirts of the village of Allithwaite."

Setting off again we took a last lingering look at the banks of flowers. Shaun said, "climb that stile and head up the grassy pasture. The path will cut the corner of the road."

We also saw lovely hawthorn trees in blossom.

Reaching the road, Shaun said, "turn right and walk to the junction with the main road."

This Dad crossed carefully, Shaun saying, "we skirt left round the end of the cemetery, and then walk up Grange Fell Road, past the golf club, and very soon take the narrow lane left that climbs steeply."

To our right the view opened up. "Look", said Tetley. "That is Morecambe Bay and those big buildings are the nuclear power stations at Heysham."

More importantly though we all waved our paws to Uncle Brian and our other Hug pals.

At the brow, Shaun instructed, "the route is through that gate on the left."

Clear paths now led us unerringly to our main objective; the summit of Hampsfell.

"Yippee", cheered Allen. "That's another Outlyer catch-up done for Grizzly, Little Eric and I. Come on pals time for our picture."

We are sitting by the building called The Hospice that crowns the summit of Hampsfell. 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, especially as it was bank holiday too. "We are fine here", said Tetley. "Go and take a picture Dad."

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, Allen then saying, "surely it's time for lunch. I'm getting hungry."

"No surprise there", laughed Tetley, "but I agree. I'm hungry too. Let's sit over there looking towards our beloved Lakeland Fells."

Here is the view looking to from the left, Walna Scar, Brown Pike, Buck Pike, Dow Crag, Coniston Old Man, Brim Fell, Swirl How, Great Carrs, Black Sails and Wetherlam. "Breathtaking", said Grizzly.

Then, 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.’

Grizzly said, "I was able to find the actual meaning. It is 'Rosy-fingered Dawn' and is a quotation from Homer."

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

"Where now" asked Allen.

Shaun 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", called out Little Eric. "It is very old dating from 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.

"Thank you lads", said Uncle Brian. "I will enjoy it later for tea."

Thanks Dad for another great day out.


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