CLAIFE HEIGHTS & LATTERBARROW from ASH LANDING

 


Summary

Date - 24th February 2011 Distance - 9 miles
Ascent -
1950ft
Map - OL7 Start point - NT car park, Ash Landing (SD 3876 9538)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
High Blind How on Claife Heights 886 270 SD 3820 9734
Latterbarrow 803 244 SD 3672 9909

 

Preface

Allen, Grizzly & Tetley were reading, when Shaun trotted in with Little Eric riding on his back.

"I am so happy", said Little Eric. "Dad had just told us we are walking tomorrow, but he does not want to have to drive too far, so we are to climb Claife Heights and Latterbarrow, above Windermere. I know you have been there before, but for me it will be another two of the Outlying Fells ticked off."

"Wherever it will be good to be out again, and it will help to take Dad's mind off Friday", replied Allen.

"Oh yes", said Tetley. "It is Grandad Bill's funeral, and so it will be a hard day for Dad, but at least he will have Uncle Brian and Uncle Keith to support him."

"What's the weather for tomorrow?", asked Grizzly.

"Hang on while I boot the laptop and have a look at the mountain forecast", replied Allen.

"While you're doing that I'll pour the tea", said Shaun. "Will you get the tuck tin so we can have a biscuit too, Tetley?

"Sure pal", he replied.

"Great", called out Allen, "I'm gasping for a drink." Tapping away, he then went on, "looks like it will be cloudy, but dry, with a cool breeze on the summits."

 

The Walk

The start point was the National Trust car park at Ash Landing, on the road from Far Sawrey to the Windermere Ferry. Settled in Dad's rucksack, we took the path from the rear of the car park, towards the ferry, coming first to the forlorn ruin that was once Claife Station.

'This station is now sufficiently pointed out by the elegant building lately erected thereon.... which renders it one of the most delightful places near the lake', as was quoted in Thomas Webb's classic Guide to the Lakes that first appeared in 1778. This described several viewpoints or 'stations' where tourists could enjoy the best views of the Windermere landscape. In those days tourists were encouraged to appreciate the formal qualities of landscapes and to apply aesthetic values.

Built in the 1790's, it was at its most fashionable in the 1830s and 40s, when it was mentioned in every guidebook, and was used for parties and dances as well as for landscape appreciation. The windows of the drawing rooms were the Station's most celebrated feature; each had a different aspect, viewed through different coloured glass to enhance variations in weather and season. The tinted glass in these windows was intended to recreate lighting effects in the landscape. Yellow represented summer, orange was for autumn, light green for spring and light blue for winter. There was also a dark blue for moonlight and a lilac tint to give the impression of a thunderstorm.

So, suitably educated, and with thanks to the National Trust for this information, we continued on our way. By the building, we went left to climb the steep and winding path through the trees to gain the ridge, then on over Mitchell Knotts to a gate on to the bridleway. It was here that we encountered the first of many white topped and numbered signposts. These were to guide us on this walk. This is without doubt a long established route, as the tops of some of the posts had rotted away to an extent that any white paint and number was no longer visible. Still we had our intrepid map reader Shaun with us, and he never failed to give us the right directions.

The path like most today was very muddy, but that was hardly surprising after all the rain recently.

"It's left here, towards Far Sawrey", called out Shaun.

The path ran straight then curved left round a small hill, to come soon to another signpost.

"Here we want to go north, on the path signed Latterbarrow, Hawkshead", called out Shaun.

"Will we soon be at Latterbarrow, then?", asked Little Eric.

"No lad, we have a long long way to go yet", replied Dad.

The track climbed on to pass by a small tarn, which had completely overflowed the path, so Dad had to to use stones by the wall to keep his feet dry.

"That would have made a nice picture, Dad", remarked Tetley.

"I agree" said Dad, making his way back over the stones again. His feet were still dry when he had further crossed them again to continue on.

As can be seen this was a good wide track, that eventually climbed steeply up Low Pate Crag to come by a wall on the right, and another white topped post junction.

"It's left here", said Shaun.

The path, hard to follow as it was indistinct, led through the trees, coming beside Black Stone Mires (a bog and morass to be avoided at all cost).

"We need to get to that small bridge ahead, and cross it right", Shaun remarked.

The path seemed to continue ahead, but our route was blocked by a large fallen tree, climbing over which, was not possible due to sharp branches sticking up.

"Hmm", said Dad, standing back to give the matter further consideration. After a short while he said, there's nothing for it but to crawl underneath", slipping the rucksack and camera off and placing them beyond the tree.

When we got to the bridge, it became apparent that before the fallen tree, we should have gone left through the trees, but there had quite definitely been no apparent path. Crossing the bridge, we then followed the path through the trees, before taking a narrow path right that climbed to the trig point standing on a rocky outcrop at High Blind How, the summit of Claife Heights.

"This is our third visit, but your first Little Eric", called out Grizzly, as we scrambled up to settle for our picture.

We then, as we have done in the past, played jump off the trig point to see how far we could roll down. When we were here in April 2006, Tetley won, but today Allen was the winner! [What are they like! Ed]

Descended to the path again, and going right we reached a junction.

"We turn left here", said Shaun.

This then brought us down to a wide forest road.

"We turn right here, and then soon we strike off left", called out Shaun, looking closely at the map.

"There's the signpost", shouted Allen. "It indicates left to Hawkshead, the way we need to go."

This section was on a narrow, rough and muddy path, level at first, then climbing over a hill, to descend rather more gently to a bridleway and yet another white topped signpost.

"To get to Latterbarrow, we should go straight on, but eventually we will have to come back here and then take the wide path signed Far Sawrey", said Shaun.

"Right lad", replied Dad, striding out ahead. The wide path dipped down then climbed again swinging right to come to a four-armed signpost.

"This is called 'Guide Posts' on the map", said Shaun. "We go left along the path signed Hawkshead."

To avoid any confusion here, we would point out that Dad took the above picture, looking in the direction we had just come from. So taking Shaun's advice, we followed the track, and after about a ¼m reached a sign pointing right reading Latterbarrow, whose tall obelisk we could finally see distantly. The path dropped steeply before climbing to round an area protected by a very tall fence. More about that later. The path then turned right, soon entering more woodland, to come to a stile. Here another signpost, indicated that going ahead by the fence would lead to Hawkshead, but taking the path climbing half right led to Latterbarrow.

"No need to tell you where we need to go now", said Shaun.

The clear path climbed steadily up the easy slope to the summit, adorned with this elegant obelisk, known as Latterbarrow Man.

by the base of which we sat for our photograph.

This is a fine viewpoint commanding a wide panorama from the Coniston Fells round to the Kentmere Fells, but sadly today they were all obscured by the cloud. The lower slopes were in view across Windermere, the large white building being the Low Wood Hotel.

This in the opposite direction of Hawkshead, to where most of the signpost directions we had followed had been pointing us to, shows clearly what a dismal day for views it was.

"Time for lunch ", said Allen, "I'm really hungry, and ready for a drink too."

"Absolutely", replied Dad.

While we were eating a group of about 5 arrived-mum, dad and children. They were from Newcastle. Dad chatted to them, and they kindly offered to take Dad's photograph, which he gladly accepted. We think it is a really good one too!

Leaving the summit we returned down the fell to the stile, and retraced the route through the trees and on to come beside the fenced area again. Having been cleared the area was undergoing natural regeneration, hence the tall fence to keep animals such as deer out. It can be crossed by walkers, which Dad did to give a slight variation to this part of the walk. To gain access and leave, he had to climb ladderstiles to end all ladderstiles!

"Right", said Shaun. "We need to return to Guide Posts and then continue to the bridleway we crossed before."

We had come from the direction in the background, and our route now lay along the bridleway signed Sawrey. The track, a forest road, climbed then beyond a gate became more grassy and muddy as it began to descend, passing first Wise Een Tarn, a former reservoir, where again the fine mountain view was lost in the low cloud,

and then Moss Eccles Tarn. This too was probably originally a reservoir. In 1926 it was bought by Beatrix Potter, who liked to row on the tarn and her husband fished in it. On her death in 1943, it passed to the National Trust, the current owners.

Finally this led us down to the village of Far Sawrey. Here we strolled on past the hotel, to then go left off the road, and climb a track to some houses, along the footpath in front and descend again to the road. This cuts off a corner and some road walking. It was then just on downhill to the car park.

"Thanks for a good walk Dad, said Little Eric. "It means too that I have now done half of the Outlying Fells."

"Thanks Shaun for your excellent map reading", said Tetley.

"You're welcome pal", he replied.

"I know what is next", said Allen, rolling about with laughter. "A visit to a tea shop."

"Spot on lad", replied Dad. "I am going to Jane and Sam's, at Low Newton."

"Great" cried Tetley, "that means we get to go in too."

Here Dad had a pot of tea, and delicious apple apricot and chocolate crumble with custard. Yummy!! It was nice to see them again too.

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