ORREST HEAD & ALLEN KNOTT from WINDERMERE

 


Summary

Date - 30th August 2009 Distance - 6 miles
Ascent -
1000ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Layby on south approach to Windermere (SD 416986)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Orrest Head 783 238 SD 4142 9935
Allen Knott 741 226 NY 4142 0107

 

Preface

Allen stared glumly out of the window at the rain pouring down. "It's so miserable and unpredictable at present, that it's not worth going on the high fells."

"Cheer up", said Tetley who had overheard him, as he strolled in with Grizzly.

"Does that mean we are going walking tomorrow?, replied Allen, visibly brightening.

"Yes" said Grizzly excitedly, "we are keeping low, but doing Orrest Head, one of the few remaining Outlying Fells, we both need to climb, in our catch-up operation."

"That's not too far", chimed in Shaun, "so if the weather forecast for rain later in the afternoon is right, we may get round in the dry."

"Can't wait for tomorrow", cried Little Eric.

 

The Walk

It is only 25 miles to Windermere, so it did not take very long. Dad found a convenient layby beside the main road just by the speed restriction sign, to park. Once we were settled in the rucksack, Dad walked down the road passing the Windermere Hotel, taking the clearly signed tarmac road to Orrest Head.

As you can see it states it is 20 minutes to the top, and even allowing for stops for photographs Dad did it in this time too. The road meanders and climbs steadily. By a gate this donkey stood patiently watching passers by.

Where the road ends we went right, climbing steeply for a short distance to a path junction, where we turned right to a kissing gate. Through this it was just a short walk to the summit.

As you can see on either side are engraved slate tablets, that read as follows -

Left - This stone was placed here in the year 1902 by the inhabitants of Windermere in remembrance of the wide and beneficent liberality of the late Arthur Henry Heywood of Elleray, and as a mark of gratitude to his widow and daughter, who as a memorial dedicated Orrest Head to the use of the public for ever.

Right is this prayer -
Thou who hast given me eyes to see and love this sight so fair
Give me a heart to find out Thee, and read Thee everywhere.

This fell also was of great significance to Alfred Wainwright, and could be described as his eureka moment, from which was eventually to come the Pictorial Guides etc. In 1930, at the age to 23, he saved up enough money to take a holiday in the Lake District, away from his native town of Blackburn. On arrival in Windermere, he immediately climbed Orrest Head. This is what he says on reaching the summit, quoted from his book "Memoirs of a Fellwanderer" -

'...quite suddenly, we emerged from the shadows of the trees and were on a bare headland and, as though a curtain had dramatically been torn aside, beheld a truly magnificent view. It was a moment of magic, a revelation so unexpected that I stood transfixed, unable to believe my eyes. I saw mountain ranges, one after another, the nearer starkly etched, those beyond fading into the blue distance. Rich woodlands, emerald pastures and the shimmering water of the lake below added to a pageant of loveliness, a glorious panorama that held me enthralled. I had seen landscapes of rural beauty pictured in the local art gallery, but here was no painted canvas; this was real. This was truth. God was in his heaven that day and I a humble worshipper...' He ends...'Those few hours on Orrest Head cast a spell and changed my life".

Well, as we looked out on that scene, rather ominous with the dark clouds above the fells, we could understand how he felt.

Dad had passed a couple on the way up and they arrived a little afterwards. They were from Cheshire and had never been to the Lakes before. They agreed the walk was worth it for the superb view. There were people coming and going all the time and Dad, being the sociable type, talked to a few of them. He did of course find time to take our picture too. He would have been in trouble if not.

About half and hour had passed, so Shaun said, "hadn't we better be getting on with the rest of the walk"

"Yes you're right " replied Dad, "but let's just pause a moment longer, to see where we will be going to."

The white building is Causeway Farm, which we had to make for first. The buildings further back and to the far left are Far Orrest, rising just behind which is Allen Knott our ultimate objective. The distant high fells whose summits are covered in cloud are, on the left Caudale Moor and right of the dip, from back to front, Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick & Ill Bell.

Setting off we headed north off the summit and descended, to climb stiles and over pastures to a road. Just before the road we passed this pretty stream with a tiny bridge. We were to cross the bridge on the return leg, then going by the wall.

Turned left along the road to pass Causeway Farm and Crosses Farm, then along a track that led to the farm at Far Orrest. By a gate we wondered if we had stumbled on the Far Orrest branch of Currys?

Through the farmyard, and along another track. Then turned up right off this to climb by the wall to our second summit Allen Knott.

Dad took our picture here, but then Tetley said, "take Allen on his own as the fell and he have the same name."

"Thanks", replied Allen as he scampered back on to the rocks.

The view from here is similar to that from Orrest Head, but by now the fells had disappeared as the rain forecast for later this afternoon arrived early, so we had a rather damp second half of the walk. We descended back to Far Orrest then on a footpath over fields and stiles to Near Orrest. It was very boggy in places. In one field was a number of cows and calves, including this one.

Eventually we returned to the road by Causeway Farm and took the same stile in the opposite direction, crossing the tiny bridge over the stream. Then along by the wall to cross more step stiles and fields.

These brought us to Common Farm and the road. Walked along this passing some very nice houses and Grove Farm, then a little further we went right on a path into Common Wood. It was absolutely delightful walking through here. We crossed the stream twice by bridges, this being the first .

The path then climbed to come to a well signed three way junction.

Our way was left 'A591 Windermere'. This led on through the woods and then out over open pastures to the A591 and the start.

We were glad to get into the car, dry out and have our picnic, as we were all ravenous by now. Dad drove the short distance to Booths supermarket to get some shopping and have lunch at the cafe - soup, sandwich, cake and tea. Well you might well know that there was bound to be cake!

Allen, Grizzly and Little Eric bagged Orrest Head, while we all bagged Allen Knott.

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