|Date - 24th May 2009
||Distance - 8 miles
|Map - OL7
||Start point - Parking area by the
racecourse (SD 377 787)
||SD 3993 7937
"Where have you been, Allen?"
"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"
replied Allen. "He has been looking at the Outlying Fells
book, and it was open at Hampsfell."
"Well thats 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"
"Hes 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",
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?"
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
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
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
Dads 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
"Please take photos",
implored Grizzly, "as we want the poems to be included in
Here is one:
The others read as follows:
O God! O
good beyond compare!
Thy meaner works be fair,
Thy beauty gild the span
Earth and fallen Man,
glorious must those mansions
Thy redeemed well with Thee.
HOSPICE OF HAMPSFELL
HOSPICE as an open door
to welcome rich and poor;
roomy seat for young and old,
they may screen them from the
windows that command a view
north to west and southward
flight of steps requireth
roof will show a prospect
and vale you thence survey
winding streams and noble bay;
sun at noon the shadow hides
the east and western sides:
lengthened chain holds guard
keep the cattle from the
reader freely take your
do not mischief to my
if the rich and poor should
trust they will each other
rich and poor and young and
screen them from the cold:
as the windows are not
mind to leave the shutters
"flight of steps
why not have a handrail there;
feeble old and timid fair
mount and view the prospect
blue and lofty
noble bay and stealthy tides
treach'rous creep along
loudly dash upon the strand.
gaily rigged trim pleasure
the glittering waves afloat.
(turning to the west) is seen
waving woods and verdant
fine old church of Cartmel
those walls in days of yore
priestly rule the prior bore.
may the lengthening chain
only cattle from the ground;
no good man would think it
climb the fell to spoil your
offer made in kindly spirit
hope you'll find our
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",
"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
It was to a café now, and where
else in this area but Jane & Sams 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 Janes
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