Date - 26th February 2009 & 26th February 2021
Distance - 8 miles (8.75 miles - 2021)
Ascent - 1120 ft
Map - OL7
Start point - Layby nr Rusland Pool Hotel (SD 327842)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Bigland Barrow 633 193 SD 3636 8397



Dad decided to repeat this walk, and by a strange coincidence, it was exactly 12 years to the day. He wanted to take us up a hill, which pleased our pal Southey, as he had not been to this summit. Dad took the camera, not least to take Southey's picture with the rest of us at the summit. These pictures mean we can illustrate the route in more detail. We hope you like our augmented account. The narrative remains largely based on the walk in 2009.



"It's Thursday tomorrow and we usually go walking with Dad", said Shaun, refilling his mug from the flask.

Tetley called out, "off you go Allen and ask Dad what we are doing."

"Ok pal, but will you refill my mug for when I return."

"Such a tea belly", sighed Tetley.

A few minutes later Allen strolled in, and the smile on his face told us we would be out tomorrow.

"Well?" asked Grizzly.

"Yes a walk is on, but as there is rain forecast for the fells later, we are doing a local walk climbing Bigland Barrow."

"That's great", cried Grizzly. "It will also mean another Wainwright Outlyer catch up for Little Eric, you and I."


The Walk

To get to the start we drove along the familiar A590 Barrow road passing below Whitbarrow Scar.

Allen said, "That's another Wainwright Outlyer that Little Eric and I have not climbed."

Dad replied, "I'll take you up it soon, I promise."

"Thank you", replied Little Eric. "I would like to think that eventually all five of us will complete that challenge."

We now sat quietly enjoying the scenery as we drove on towards Greenodd, before Dad said, "here's our parking place, the large layby on the right. It once was the actual road before this section was widened."

As Dad got his boots on, we leaped into the rucksack and snuggled down. Then ready Dad set off, heading back in the direction we had come, passing in a few yards the Rusland Pool Hotel.

The A590 was very busy and noisy, so we were glad to hear Shaun say, "we leave this in a matter of yards, pals. Take the footpath left immediately before crossing the bridge over Rusland Pool."

In the pasture sheep were grazing. "Oh noooo.", called out Allen. "Looks like my hopes for a sheep picture free story are dashed."

"Yes pal", agreed Grizzly, as he saw Dad getting the camera out. "There are a few different breeds too, including our favourite Herdwicks."

Onwards the path crossed a bridge over a tiny stream. In 2021, Tetley called out, "look those sheep are standing sentry."

I hope they do not fleece us with any toll they charge to get over the bridge", laughed Grizzly.

"Aww, that's an awful pun", cried Little Eric."

Just beyond these three sheep stood and posed for Dad. "Huh", grumped Allen. "That's it no more sheep pictures in this story."

"I'm going to call them winkin' blinkin' and nod", laughed Southey.

Soon the path brought us to the narrow road called The Causeway, where this single arch bridge carries the road over Rusland Pool

Shaun issued instructions, "turn right over the bridge to the junction at Causeway End."

In 2021, Little Eric commented, "I know this is a low lying area, but just look how extensively the fields are flooded. It shows how much rain there has been this year."

Even the road was flooded at one point although not deeply. "It's a good job our route is not along the footpath to Lane Ends", pointed Allen. "Clearly totally impassable at present."

At Causeway End, Shaun said, "we turn right."

Looking at the map Tetley commented, "that will take us back towards the A590."

"Yes pal", agreed Shaun, "but halfway, we then turn left up a narrow road."

Before that Little Eric called out, "look there's the post box." Then looking more closely he stated, "it dates from King George VI." This was in 2021, as by this time our pal had become a post box aficionado, so Dad always takes a picture for him.

This took us past Lecks Travel coach depot, and along another section of road that just suddenly ended.

"This seems odd", said Little Eric, somewhat mystified. He was not the only one too, so were glad when Dad enlightened us.

"This was once the main road, and led on through the village of Haverthwaite. When the road was improved and Haverthwaite bypassed, this was done by constructing it through the cutting below. Hence the dead end."

Tetley said, "you have told us that Grandad Bill often went to Barrow when he was working, so he must have driven along this old section many times."

There now followed a delightful section through Parrock Wood, the path meandering up and down, following a route with white topped posts.

This finally descended to the Lakeside to Haverthwaite Heritage Railway.

"There are no trains running at this time of year", said Dad.

"Nevertheless we must do as the sign says before we carefully cross the line", Little Eric replied.

We passed some modern houses and workshops. Grizzly said, "the site was once an ironworks. The furnace was originally built in 1711, and was described as the first efficient blast furnace. In 1868 an extension of the Furness Railway was built that joined the main line via Plumpton Junction at Ulverston, to transport the products from the mills. The ironworks closed in 1967 and at the same time the railway line was closed too, but the section from Haverthwaite to Lakeside remains open as a heritage line."

There are in fact two junctions on this road, and by error in 2021 we took the first by what is now a council depot. This meant we entered the wood at the wrong point. We proceeded then to explore a number of paths through Parrock Wood eventually exiting by a path that dropped down to Haverthwaite Station. All was quiet here as the railway is closed due to Covid restrictions. Tetley said, "well that was an interesting diversion, and nice to see the station. We must make sure to tell our Railway Bear pals."

"How will we get back on track?", asked Southey.

Shaun replied, "quite easily. Just walk along the A590 then very soon take the side road into Backbarrow. Then rejoin the route on the path going right."

By way of a bonus for Little Eric, we passed the post box. "Another that dates from King George VI", he said.

Soon Shaun pointed, "there's the path we want to the footbridge over the River Leven.

A fast flowing river, that in 2021 was literally thundering down. "Wow it would be a wild ride today if you were in a canoe", said Southey as we made our way across.

The path led through this tunnel under the A590, beyond which the path climbed to another part of Backbarrow.

"Aww , look at the duck in that garden", said Allen. "I'm going to call her Jemima!"

At the road, Shaun said, "we go right a little way, and then follow a track to a stile. Then ahead on a footpath to climb through the woodland of Bishop's Allotment."

Coming to a boggy area the path suddenly disappeared. "Oh dear", said Little Eric.

"Don't worry lad, I'll just keep going and it will reappear", said Dad.

Soon Allen called out, "here it is."

The path led to a bridleway. "Go left here up to the brow", instructed Shaun. "Then once there, double back right towards the ridge."

This brought us to a stile in a wall that we crossed. The passage of many walkers feet over the intervening years has removed any doubt about the path. It is now clear and easy to follow from the stile at the end of the initial track from the road all the way to the stone step stile in the wall.

"Hmm", said Tetley, "which way now. Right or the path with the yellow topped poles."

The path with the poles seems more likely", said Grizzly.

"I think right", replied Shaun, "but I will go with the majority."

Well we should have listened to him, as the path with the poles merely took us in a circle to the path from the stile. Taking this, as Shaun had thought, led us unerringly to the summit of Bigland Barrow with its wartime look out post tower.

We all jumped out of the rucksack and scrambled up the ladder, Little Eric clinging to Shaun's back, as Allen shouted, "come on Dad take our picture."

"I suppose it is unlikely we will visit here again soon, if ever, as we have all now bagged this summit", commented Grizzly.

Well 12 years later, here we are again. Our pal Southey posed with us today, meaning we can still say that we have all bagged this summit.

"Do you know anything about the origin of the name, Grizzly?", asked Southey.

"Yes pal. Bigland means, 'the land where the barley grows'. Barrow means 'hill'. So, this is the 'hill overlooking the land where the barley grows'.

Off again, the clear path descended to a gate, where Dad went left. After a little way, Shaun said, "I'm sorry Dad, but we should have kept ahead after the gate. However we will still get to the same point by walking uphill at the road."

The detour was in fact pleasant, passing by a trout fishing lake and then to Mungeon Farm, and its access track to the road, where as Shaun had advised we walked uphill to reach the gates to Bigland Hall.

So now we strolled through the grounds passing by Bigland Tarn...

...and past this interesting little boathouse. "Do take a picture", implored Little Eric. "A must for the story."

Shortly Shaun said, "our route is right on the Cumbria Coastal Way."

The narrow path descended through more lovely woodland.

This picture was taken in 2021. The path was muddy and slippy after all the rains, so Dad took care. Grizzly said, "the stream to the right is the outfall from Bigland Tarn on its way to join the River Leven."

Further down the gradient eased, and duck boarding was provided to get over particularly boggy sections.

Finally the track joined the road. "We go right to the hamlet of Low Wood, and then take a narrow road left by the river", advised Shaun.

There, as Dad made to cross the road, Allen said, "look there's the Clock Tower Business Centre. Worth a picture Dad."

Later Grizzly told us, "the site was formerly a Gunpowder works. The Clock Tower buildings have stood at the centre of the quiet hamlet of Low Wood since their construction in 1849.

We turned left just before the graceful three-arched bridge that carries the road over the River Leven. This taken in 2021, shows the river was truly in spate. Grizzly said, "the bridge was built in the late 18th or early 19th centuries."

Striding out along the narrow road, Shaun said, "we should look out for a gate right onto a footpath across the fields that will keep us by the river."

After a few minutes, Tetley called out, "there it is."

As we strolled on, Little Eric called out, "look, the water is flowing upstream."

Allen replied, "that pal, is because the land here is only just above sea level and the river is tidal at this point. It will soon be high tide too."

The path over the fields rejoined the road. "That's nice shot of the river", commented Southey.

This led into Roundsea Wood. AS we crossed a bridge Shaun pointed, "we take that path on the right."

This brought us again by the river, which we crossed by the old railway bridge.

Grizzly said, "this is of course a part of the closed line that ran from Lakeside to Ulverston. That building is an old platelayers hut."

Shortly the trackbed kept ahead away from the river. Shaun advised, "we go left and keep on the path beside the river."

First across fields we then joined the flood embankment. After a distance we could see the A590. "Not too far now", said Little Eric. But then suddenly it took a considerable dogleg right. "Famous last words", he sighed.

Shaun explained. "Look, this is where Rusland Pool joins the River Leven. The embankment has to keep to the right side of Rusland Pool, hence the dogleg."

Fairly soon then we reached the A590 that Dad crossed with care then walked the short distance to the car.

"A lovely and interesting walk", said Grizzly. "Thank you Dad from us all."

"Cafe time now?", asked Tetley.

"Sure thing lad. And where else but Jane and Sam's at Low Newton."

We had been last Sunday returning from the Walna Scar walk, and Dad had gone yesterday with Uncle Brian. So, imagine their surprise to see him here again today.

Sam said, "Brian has rung us to say you would calling in."

"Really", replied Dad.

It took a few minutes for him to realise that Sam was having him on.

When they had been yesterday, Uncle Brian had said jokingly, "I'm putting a tracking device on Gerry so I know where he is."

Today Dad made them laugh saying jokingly, "I have put that tracker on a sheep!"

Dad had the huge and delicious club sandwich, then the apple apricot and chocolate crumble, washed down with tea.

We went in too of course, with our hug pals Citroen and Dougal, Jane and Sam letting Dad take our picture to finish off this story.

We can in all honesty say that this is one of Dad's favourite teastops!

Sadly in 2021 all the cafes were closed due to Covid, so Dad had to go to the Hayfell tearooms for his cake and tea. I.e. home!


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