Date - 11th May 2008 Distance - 9 miles
Map - OL2 Start point - Barbon Church (SD 631825)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Eskholme Pike 1006 307 SD 5398 8329
Castle Knott 1765 538 SD 6564 8415
Calf Top 1999 609 SD 6644 8563



Grizzly and Allen were sitting quietly watching the birds feeding in the garden, when Shaun came trotting in with Little Eric who had hitched a ride on his back.

"Good news", he announced. "Dad has arranged to walk with Uncle Bob."

"Where to", asked Grizzly.

"We are climbing Middleton Fell. I know we have done it before, but Uncle Bob has never climbed it, and at least Little Eric will bag the summits."

"Fine!", exclaimed Allen, "whatever, it will be great to be out."

"Can't wait", cried Tetley, who had wandered in during these exchanges.


The Walk

It had been decided to make this a linear walk, so we met Uncle Bob at Middleton Head, on what was one of the hottest days this year. Leaving Dad's car here we decamped to Uncle Bob's car and he drove use to Barbon, our start point. We parked opposite the church in this pretty village.

Yes, the eagle eyed among you, will have guessed from the time on the clock that this photograph was not taken today. It was in fact taken in December 2005, when Dad was out with Uncle Brian and our pals Fraser, Goran and Hilton went along too. Here they pose in the churchyard.

On another day Dad took Dougal, Beatrice, Citroen & Benedick, and here they are sitting on a wall.

There is a large house opposite the church, where Mr & Mrs Williamson live. Dad calls here quite often to get his supplies of homemade chutney and marmalade. The preserves are quite delicious, and what is wonderful too, is that Mr Williamson gives all his profits to charity.

Just beyond the church is the wide drive to Barbon Manor. We followed this for a while before, where it bends right, continuing ahead across the pasture to Eskholme passing some fabulous bluebell woods - a quite wonderful sight.

Climbing right to the wall we gained the open fell, pausing to look back over the pastoral scene to Yewtree Farm

The whole hill covers a vast area and is known as Middleton Fell. However it has three distinct summits and we were to visit all three today. A clear path now climbed steeply to the first top Eskholme Pike. Uncle Bob and Dad took it at a steady pace, as it was already very warm. A cairn marks the summit.

Shaun, who had scampered up to the top, while the rest of us settled together, called out "take our picture Dad."

There were good views of the Lune Valley and far below us we could see the village of Barbon, where we had set off from.

In the distance ahead and left we could see just see a tall cairn. "That's Castle Knott our next objective", said Allen.

"Yes you're right", agreed Tetley.

The clear track climbed steadily up with a final steeper section to reach it. Views of Dentdale could now be seen although the visibility was rather hazy. The cairn here is even more impressive and we could not resist climbing on to it. Allen used the rope he carries to help Little Eric climb up. As you can see Shaun yet again had to be on the top!!

Settled once more in the rucksack, Dad and Uncle Bob set off for the final summit and highest point on Middleton Fell, called Calf Top. First there was a descent of about 200ft to the depression between the two. From the lowest point it was a steady climb overall of about 400ft. A wall corner was reached, with a cairn marking the route too.

From here you can see that there was just a short final ascent to the trig point marking the highest point on the Middleton Fell massive.

It may look that Dad's camera lens is dirty, but in fact the black spots were flies that were swarming round the summit!! Uncle Bob sensibly left Dad and us to it and retreated to a safe distance away from them. Looking north in the valley is the town of Sedbergh, backed by the Howgill Fells. Today it was not very clear, but here is a shot that Dad took in April 2006, when he climbed this fell with Uncle Eric.

The long descent followed the rim of the fell over Barkin Top. Then passing above Combe Top and over Long Bank. Here the path turned away west and down eventually to Fellside. At Barkin Top there was suddenly a flash of lightening and big rumble of thunder, and to our right the sky was as black as night and rain could clearly be seen falling in the distance. More claps of thunder followed at regular intervals and we noted that the storm was heading our way (north). Luckily we kept ahead of it and when we turned west actually headed out of it. We felt sorry for the gentleman who we passed heading up the fell as he was certain to get caught in the storm. After a while Dad and Uncle Bob stopped for a sandwich and we had our picnic too. We felt some light rain coming down, but then after we had walked on a few hundred yards we left it behind. The storm rumbled on to the east and it was still going when we got to the car. We were all very glad not to have been caught in it.

As we approached Fellside there were quite a few sheep about, one of which had this cover tied over its face. There was obviously a good reason, but Dad and Uncle Bob were at a loss to explain why.

From Fellside we had to walk to Hollins. It was not without a bit of difficulty as Dad and Uncle Bob could not quite find the proper path (think it may have changed from that on the map). From Hollins the waymarked path led down and through a magnificent bluebell wood, to Dad's car at Middleton Head.

Another walk under our paws and very enjoyable too - thanks Dad as always! What we can say too is that we were mighty glad to avoid that storm. The sky was awesome.

Dad then drove to Barbon and Uncle Bob's car. They both visited Mr Williamson's, Dad buying some chutney and Uncle Bob some marmalade.

Tea time now and so they drove to nearby Kirkby Lonsdale and went to the Bay Tree Cafe, for tea and cakes. We contented ourselves with having the rest of our picnic and reflecting on another great day out.


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