Preface - Langdale Goes Skiing



Date - 27th December 2009 Distance - 9 miles
Map - OL7/OL41
Start point - Kellet Road, Carnforth (SD 500706)


Preface - Langdale Goes Skiing

We were in the grip of some cold and wintry weather. Even in Morecambe, where we hardly get any snow, one morning we had woken up to find about three inches had fallen. This prompted our Lakeland Bear pal, Langdale, to get his skis on and take advantage of it.

"I'm having a great time", Langdale called out to his friends Ruskin and Beatrix, who had come out to watch.

Just after Dad had snapped his photo, his friend Ruskin, while walking over, stumbled and fell in the snow.

"Oops a daisy, are you all right ", said Langdale.

"Yes I am fine apart from a rather wet nose and face", replied Ruskin, picking himself up and posing with Langdale and Beatrix.

Beatrix then said, "I'm off to check on the sheep. Enjoy yourself, Langdale, and take care Ruskin, I do not want you getting hurt."

It was as well Langdale took advantage, as even though it snowed lightly again a couple of days later, by Boxing Day it had nearly all melted away. Dad wanted to get some fresh air and exercise, so we were pleased when he told us late that evening that we were going to walk tomorrow.

"Where are we going?", asked Grizzly.

"I have decided to do a country walk from Carnforth, as it is not far to drive to the start, so we won't have to be up at the crack of dawn", Dad replied.

"Haven't we done that before?", said Tetley, who has a good memory of past adventures.

"Yes, four years ago, but it is a nice walk, and the nine miles will do me the power of good", said Dad.

"That was before I was born", piped up Little Eric, "so at least it will be new to me."


The Walk

Sunday dawned, and after breakfast, Dad got his kit together and loaded it into the boot of the car. This was our cue to trot out and settle on the front seat. Carnforth is just a few miles away, so it took about fifteen minutes to get there. It is a small town straggling the A6, once the main road north to Scotland, before the M6 was built. Unremarkable, it is perhaps most famous for its railway station, where many scenes from the classic film 'Brief Encounter' were shot. By the 1990's the station had fallen into disrepair, and was in danger of being demolished. However a group of determined volunteers got together to campaign against this and get the station restored with a visitor centre recounting its history. Also celebrating the filming of Brief Encounter, in particular the faithfully restored Refreshment Room. It just goes to show what people power can do. More information can be found by clicking the following link.

Our start point was just up from the station at a car park on Kellet Road. This was slippy with ice, so Dad exercised great care while getting his boots on etc.

"Come on pals", encouraged Allen, "Let's get snuggled in the rucksack."

Soon ready we were off, Shaun telling him, "continue along the road and then join the canal and head north."

Down the slope we joined the towing path, which on this particular stretch was ice bound.

"Oh heck", said Little Eric. "Do take care, Dad."

He did by hanging on to the fence and negotiated his way until is was ice free.

Striding on, we soon passed under one of the many graceful stone arched bridges this one numbered 129. "Take a picture Dad, please", said Tetley.

Shortly after this the canal is crossed by the M6 motorway. This is a modern concrete structure, that is functional, but completely lacks any style compared to the graceful bridges such as no. 129.

For most of this section, the canal was unsurprisingly frozen hard. Grizzly said, "why not try a shot of the reeds and trees reflected in the ice. It will be a bit unusual."

Due to the ice, we did not see a single barge or boat plying its way along. Tetley said, "I feel sure Dad took a picture of a barge plying the canal, when we did this walk on 1st January 2006."

We got our paws busy when we got home, and indeed Tetley was correct. It was obviously another calm day, as there are excellent reflections.

Just a little further along a seat had been placed by the Lancaster Canal Trust in memory of a Geoffrey Allen. "A very appropriate place to have our picture taken", commented Little Eric. "Especially as the gentleman's surname is shared with one of our group."

After about another mile we approached Capernwray. "There's the impressive railway viaduct", called out Grizzly.

"We leave the canal here and cross the bridge to pass the farm", said Shaun.

"Look" pointed Little Eric. "that's a very old wall post box dating from the reign of Queen Victoria. A colourful shot for the story."

"Continue along on the road, until we see a stile over the wall on the right", said Shaun. "That's our route."

The path led half right to woodland and a track. "Over the stiles on either side of the track, then alongside the trees to a corner, and turn left to walk on beside them", instructed Shaun.

On the far side of the field Dad climbed the stile in the fence, and followed the path heading slightly right over the brow to a stile in the next fence. There we descended to and through a tree girt rocky hummock, to this to a metal ladderstile.

Tetley said, "using the waymark as a line of sight, I can just see the next distant waymarker and beyond the buildings that are part of the village of Over Kellet. Our next objective."

This was reached after crossing the large pasture to and beyond the waymark, and then along a lane to the road. Over Kellet has a pretty green at its centre, with a number of seats.

"Good place to stop and have our sandwiches and cake", suggested Allen.

"And some warming mugs of tea", added Little Eric.

"Fine", agreed Dad, "but I do not plan to sit too long as will soon begin to get chilled."

As we snuggled down ready for the off, Shaun said, "our route is through those woods distantly behind the houses. To get there we should take the road towards Nether Kellet, leaving it soon, just before the building that was the old school, and climb the steep bank."

At the top we climbed on passing a barn, then over a stile at a hedge corner and on by the hedge on the left and so into the woods.

Here initially the path was still covered with snow.

This path led unerringly for some distance, meandering through the woods. All the time to the right hidden from view are the workings of two quarries, fenced with many signs warning of dangers and telling people to keep out.

"Look", said Little Eric, "there's a sign pointing to a quarry viewpoint. Please take us for a look. Dad."

"Phew", exclaimed Grizzly. "It's immense."

The path led on to drop down steps then round and across the front of the office buildings and along beside the road.

"If we cross to the far side of the road there is a path leading to Nether Kellet", advised Shaun.

We then walked through the village and out, crossing the M6.

The cars were rushing along on journeys to who knows where, but Dad was glad to be with us on the walk, where we were unhurried and free from cares.

Immediately over the bridge, Shaun said, "go right on the track then in fifty yards take the track left."

At its end then we descended over pastures to another track. "Turn left", said Allen.

This led past some houses to come to a crossroads.

"Where now?", asked Little Eric.

"Turn right", replied Shaun.

This took us past Mount Pleasant, house and farm, and then finally down again to the canal on the southern outskirts of Carnforth, crossing the bridge to join the towing path and walk north to the start.

The sunlight was catching the trees with a dark bank of cloud behind, just above which we could see the moon. "That will make a good picture", remarked Grizzly.

"I agree", replied Dad getting the camera out yet again.

"What a lovely walk", said Little Eric."Thank you pals and Dad for repeating it."

"You're welcome pal", replied Tetley. "It has been another grand day."

Well, that was to be our last walk in 2009, and we reflected on a good year of adventures, and a number of milestones reached. Grizzly completing his Wainwrights, and us all completing the Outlying Fells. Not least too, the number of outstanding Birkett tops had been reduced by about 50%. We look forward to many more adventures in 2010.

We can only say, "thank you Dad, once again for taking us!"


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