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, so 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."

"Super", cheered Allen.

"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, Shaun said, "we continue down the road past the Windermere Hotel, then go right at the sign...

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.

Dad strode out along the tarmac road that meanders and then climbs steadily.

By a gate this donkey stood patiently watching passers by. "Take a picture please Dad", called out Allen.

At the road end the route was right, climbing steeply for a short distance to a path junction. "Here go right", said Shaun,

This brought us to a kissing gate, through which 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.

"That is beautiful", said Little Eric.

Grizzly said, "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'."

As we looked out from the summit, on that scene, that today was rather ominous with the dark clouds above the fells, Tetley said, echoing all our thoughts, "I can fully 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 he hadn't.

"Super", remarked Grizzly. "That's another Outlyer catch-up for you and I Allen, and progress on your challenge too Little Eric."

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 " sighed Dad, "but let's just pause a moment longer, to see where we will be going to."

Looking at the map, Shaun said, "the white building is Causeway Farm, which we have to make for first. The buildings further back and to the far left are Far Orrest, and rising just behind which, is Allen Knott our ultimate objective."

Tetley set the scene with regard to the mountains behind. "on the left Caudale Moor and right of the dip, from back to front, Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick & Ill Bell."

Setting off, Shaun advised, "we head north off the summit and then descend."

This took us via stiles across pastures to a road. Just before the road, Allen called out, "that pretty stream with a tiny bridge, is worth a picture."

Grizzly was peering at the map. "We will cross the bridge on the return leg, and then go by the wall."

Shaun instructed, "we turn left along the road to pass Causeway Farm and Crosses Farm. Then go right along the track and footpath that leads to the farm at Far Orrest."

Seeing this below by a gate, Allen said laughingly, "looks like we have stumbled on the Far Orrest branch of Currys?"

"We ignore the track ahead, and turn right through the farmyard, and then left along another track."

Quite soon, Shaun pointed. "leave the track and climb right by that wall to the summit of Allen Knott."

We quickly jumped out and settled for our picture.

Tetley then said, "you have to take Allen on his own, as the fell and he have the same name."

"Ooh yes, thanks pal", replied Allen as he scampered back on to the rocks.

"There is nothing in Diana Whaley's book about this fell, but it is presumably a forename or surname." Then with a smile, "let's pretend it is after you pal."

The view from here is similar to that from Orrest Head, Tetley commenting, "the fells have disappeared, and here comes the rain, earlier than forecast."

Shaun issued instructions, "we descend back to Far Orrest, keeping left of the buildings and follow a footpath that leads Near Orrest."

This involved crossing a number of pastures that were very boggy in places, with stiles over the intervening walls.

In one field there were a number of cows and calves, including this one.

At Near Orrest we joined the road, Shaun saying, "turn right, then go left over the stile that we crossed earlier in the opposite direction."

This led again to the stream, where this time we crossed the tiny bridge, and along by the wall, to then cross more step stiles and fields, bringing us to The Common Farm and on to the road.

"Which way now?, asked Little Eric.

"Right", replied Shaun.

Walking along, Grizzly commented, "these are some very nice houses."

Passing the access to Grove Farm, Shaun advised, "shortly we go right, the path leading into Common Wood."

It was absolutely delightful walking through here. We crossed the stream twice by bridges, this being the first.

Dad paused on it to snap the view downstream.

After the second bridge, the path then climbed to come to a well signed three way junction. "Our way is left 'A591 Windermere', instructed Shaun.

This led on through the woods and then out to cross pastures to the A591 and the start.

"Thanks Dad, for an enjoyable day", said Allen, "but I have to say I am glad to get into the car, dry out and have our picnic, as I am ravenous now."

"No surprise there", laughed Little Eric.

"We are all hungry", agreed Tetley, "and glad to get into the dry."

"What are you going to do Dad?, asked Grizzly.

"Drive the short distance to Booths supermarket to get some shopping and then have lunch at the cafe."

He had soup, sandwich, cake and tea. You might well know that there was bound to be cake!

And the summit tally today. Allen, Grizzly and Little Eric bagged Orrest Head, while we all bagged Allen Knott.

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