CASTERTON, FELLFOOT ROAD, SELLET BANK & WHITTINGTON from DEVIL'S BRIDGE

Allen achieves his 1000th summit


Summary

Date - (1) 3rd February 2013
Date - (2) 28th March 2013
Distance - (1) 11.75 miles. (2) 7.75 miles
Ascent -
(1) 1380ft. (2) 850ft
Map - OL2 Start point - Devils Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale (SD 614783)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Sellet Bank 384 117 SD 6027 7753

 

Preface

As Shaun, Grizzly & Little Eric strolled in, they saw Allen's paws flying over the iPad, as Tetley looked on.

"What are you on with, pal?", asked Grizzly.

Allen was concentrating so hard that it was Tetley who replied. "He's checking the weather for Sunday, to see if it will be fit to do the walk from Devil's Bridge and so bag his 1000th summit, Sellet Bank, exactly eight years to the day that he climbed it as his first."

Shaun said, "We bring flasks of tea, and Grizzly has made some of his delicious cherry and ginger scones."

"Ooh scrumptious" replied Tetley, going off to get the mugs and plates.

Returning he could see that Allen had completed the task and was smiling excitedly. "Great", he shouted. "It will be a cloudy but fine day, so I will get to my 1000th summit, as planned."

"Well for once you will not have to go and tell Dad which walk we want to do, as he knows the plan already", said Little Eric.

By now the scones were on the plates and the mugs full of steaming hot tea.

"Here's to Sunday and you achieving your objective, Allen" cheered Tetley.

"Thanks pal", and sinking his teeth into the scone, he went on, "these are so so scrumptious. Thanks for making them as always Grizzly."

"You're welcome. I love baking. Must get it from Dad, as he used to make cakes regularly a long time ago."

 

The Walk

3rd February 2013

Sunday arrived and we were up early to get the picnic ready and packed, as we were anxious to be off, none more so than Allen, for today he would achieve his 1000th summit. The walk would be a repeat, done eight years ago to the day, when Allen, joined the club, climbed his first summit, and we truly became STAG.

As in 2005 the day was cloudy but dry although very muddy under foot. Quite windy too, more so than eight years ago.

It was not a long drive to Devil's Bridge just outside Kirkby Lonsdale, which over the years has been our start point for quite a few walks. It did not take Dad long to get ready and we had got settled in the rucksack.

"I'm going to take the bridge, but before we set off", said Dad.

To do this we went through the gate on the left as if to walk by the river and then down the muddy path of the bank.

Spanning the River Lune, it dates from around 1370 and is constructed of fine gritstone ashlar. As can be seen there are three spans the eastern one measuring 29 feet (8.8 m) and the western two 54.75 feet (16.69 m) each. The piers are hexagonal, measuring 60 feet (18 m) around.

In common with many such named bridges, legend holds that the Devil appeared to an old woman, promising to build a bridge in exchange for the first soul to cross over it. When the bridge was finished, the woman threw bread over the bridge and her dog chased after it, thereby outwitting the Devil. Several large stones in the surrounding area, including the Great Stone of Fourstones, are ascribed to the Devil's purse-strings bursting open as he ferried masonry to build it.

Our route lay over the bridge, Dad pausing to take this of the river, looking to the A65 road bridge that had been recently repainted.

"Can we get on now?", piped up Little Eric, who alone had not done this walk before,

"Yes Lad", replied Dad, "but those shots will make a nice start for the story.

"Which way do we go?", he then asked.

Our trusty map reader and guide Shaun obliged with the reply. "We cross the Barbon road then go on straight ahead and then take the narrow road uphill to a junction, where we go left on the track Laitha Lane past the caravan site."

Up to the junction was fine on the surfaced road, but Laitha Lane was a different kettle of fish all together. A soil track that in dry weather is just an easy stroll, but after the rains it was just mud, and progress was only made with much slipping and sliding. Let's hope 2013 is a much drier year. After a while it swung right and arrived at a signed t-junction of paths.

"It is left here to High Casterton", advised Shaun. "On the return we come to this junction again but from Casterton."

Strolled on along the continuing track, Allen calling out, "those snowdrops are a sure sign that spring is on the way."

We soon reached the road and walked on through the village, Shaun instructing, "we go right at the next junction then almost immediately left and on to pass under the railway bridge on the long closed line."

Just beyond a signpost pointed right. "We follow that", said Shaun.

This led up to beside the old track bed to a gate and then half left to a hedge corner, to walk ahead beside it to Wandales Lane, seen below. It is arrow straight and this section is indeed on the course of the Roman Road that ran from Ribchester to Carlisle.

"Where now?", queried Little Eric.

"Along the track opposite to Bindloss Farm", replied Shaun.

From here our way was on the path in the right of the picture, leading to a gate on the right across a field to another track. Going left we passed through two gates and so came to the southern end of Fellfoot Road.

This is a muddy and grassy track that runs north, pretty straight, crossing the road from Casterton to Bullpot Farm, then continuing on under Brownthwaite Pike and Casterton Fell, before turning west and descending to end at the Casterton to the Barbondale road. This shows the lane towards the Bullpot Farm road.

It was along this lane that Andy Goldsworthy, the internationally acclaimed landscape sculptor, created 16 sheepfolds each containing a large boulder. They were either rebuilt or restored on the sites of existing sheepfolds, breathing new life into these structures that are environmentally responsive and connect directly with the farming traditions of Cumbria. This was part of Cumbria County Council's countywide sculpture project that ran from January 1996 to April 2003 by which time 46 folds had been achieved.

As we started off along the lane, Shaun said, "let's see if we can spot all the sheepfolds, as we did last time."

"Ooh yes", enthused Little Eric, who not having been here before, was up for the challenge.

There are four on the first section up to the road to Bullpot Farm, but somehow we missed one, as Dad only had three pictures by that time. So we redoubled our efforts on the next section and successfully spotted all twelve, which Dad kindly photographed too. Step stiles on the lane side give access to the folds and Dad used these too to take the shots. This, as it was to turn out when we repeated the walk some weeks later, is number three of the first four.

Crossing the Bullpot road and walking on, Tetley called out, "look it's feeding time for those sheep".

"Oh don't encourage Dad", cried Allen despairingly, as he saw him hauling the camera out of the bag.

It was not very much further, when Little Eric called out excitedly, "there's the first two of the twelve along here."

They were situated on opposite sides of the lane, this being slightly further on.

To view our pictures of all the sheepfolds, click the link - Andy Goldsworthy sheepfolds

The lane led on and keeping our eyes peeled, we successfully spotted all twelve sheepfolds, the last one being on the left as the track descended to join the Barbon Road.

"It's left here and we follow the road until reaching the houses at Fell Garth", said Shaun.

Part way along we passed the entrance drive to a property called the White House, according to the name board screwed to a large tree. "I didn't realise we had walked so far", quipped Tetley laughingly.

At Fell Garth the signpost pointed left, over the stile to then cross a small stream, that we were to find completely dry when the walk was repeated proving how quickly the land had dried out in those intervening weeks. Beyond it was through the gate into a field,

where walking on took us past the impressive Hole House.

"My tummy is rumbling", complained Allen. "How about stopping for a bite to eat. We could sit on the top of that cattle feeder over there."

"Well now you say that I am ready for a sandwich and drink", replied Dad.

We all felt better for the snack and before setting off again, Dad took our picture.

"Where now Shaun?", said Grizzly.

"We go on ahead to pass the buildings we can see called Langthwaite and then reach a track that we take right to a road", he replied.

As we approached the road Shaun then instructed, "it is on across the road along that narrow road."

This led under the defunct railway once again and so into Casterton, passing the buildings of the independent school. It was founded in 1823 and among its early pupils were the Brontë sisters, although that school building was in nearby Cowan Bridge.

On the right was Holy Trinity Church, being commissioned in 1833 by the founder of the school.

"Can we go and look inside?" asked Grizzly.

"Yes lad", replied Dad, as he strode up the path. However, as is a sign of the times, the door was locked. so we had to be content with the outside view.

"OK", said Shaun, as we reached the main road, where looking back we had another fine view of the church, "we cross and go through that narrow gap stile opposite, and follow the narrow path beyond and then go left on the wide track."

The track led past houses and Tetley, said "we have been this way a few times before on walks up and down the valley. It will lead to a gate where we go left over the field towards Casterton Hall."

"I have said this before, but how do you remember all these things", breathed Little Eric in wonder.

As we crossed the grassy path towards the Hall, we saw the word 'Footpath' in large letters and an arrow pointing left. Dad remarked, "I recall when I first came this way that the path went ahead under the archway of the Hall and out to the front, but for a long time now it has been diverted."

We climbed a narrow waymarked path left to a wide track and then followed this ahead to a signpost where we went right, getting a glimpse of the impressive Grade II listed Hall, originally the home of William Wilson Carus (1754-1851).

Here a waymark directed us left over soft grassy pasture to the main road, going left for a short distance to the entrance to Casterton Golf Club.

Immediately a signpost loomed up and Shaun called out, "it's right here, the path being Laitha Lane."

"That will lead us to the three-armed signpost near the beginning of the walk", piped up Little Eric.

"That's right pal", replied Tetley. "See, you are getting the hang of it too."

Reaching this and now having completed the full circle we walked right to retrace the route, except that Dad took the signed path right through the caravan park to cut off a corner, and so come to Devil's Bridge, passing the very popular snack van.

Crossing the bridge again marked the completion of the published walk and the commencement of the extension. "It's off to my 1000th summit", cried Allen excitedly.

"Immediately over the bridge, we take the gap stile on the left and go diagonally across the picnic area, to then cross the A65 and take the path opposite that led between some houses to the road to Whittington", advised Shaun.

At the road, Little Eric said, "where is it now."

"Through the kissing gate opposite and up the hill", replied Shaun.

This climbed steeply over pasture and at the brow we continued on ahead to reach a track that led to Wood End Farm. As we had done eight years ago, Dad went left and through the farmyard. However beyond it became clear that the path has now been diverted on along the field and then over a stile past the buildings. Still if we had done this we would not have seen this lovely dog who ignored us apart from one sideways glance and sat patiently waiting for someone. We hoped they would come soon for his sake.

Reaching the road at the end of the farm access, a three-armed signpost gave directions, and Shaun said, " we go left signed to Sellet Mill."

Reading Dad's instructions, Tetley said, "this path is going to be very stony and will involve walking in the stream at times."

Although initially it was grassy and muddy, it soon became as Tetley had read out, and indeed Dad had to resort to paddling through the stream for some of the way. We were glad for his sake when we arrived at Sellet Mill, taking the stile on the right and up the field for a short way.

"We go through this gate on the left, and over the narrow field to open pasture", instructed Shaun, once again.

"Not long now, Allen", called out Grizzly, as Sellet Bank lay before us, the sheep grazing on its slopes.

Making a direct ascent, we soon reached the trig point marking the summit and Allen let out joyous, "yes, my 1000th summit and I join Shaun, Tetley and you Grizzly, in having achieved this!" He then went on, "I would like to sit on the top of the trig point for my picture, to mark this achievement."

"It's rather windy, so you are sure to blow off", said Little Eric, rather despairingly.

"Never fear", said Dad, "if you can stand it, I'll use this stone to rest on your leg, to keep you stable."

"No problem", Allen replied.

The next problem was then to take us all by the trig point, which was surrounded by a pool of water and mud.

"Because of the wind we need to be on the lee side, but it's sods law that this is where the most water and mud is", moaned Grizzly.

"We've got to manage it", replied Allen, and with Dad's help we did.

After all this was done, we then gave Allen a big hug each to congratulate him. Meanwhile Dad ate his other sandwich, then it was back into the rucksack and we headed down off the hill in the general direction of Sellet Hall, and getting out of the wind too.

"We go over the stile in the fence ahead to the right of the of Sellet Hall", said Shaun.

This done it was then left and we followed the clearly waymarked route to the narrow road called Hosticle Lane, going left on this all the way to Whittington. As we strolled along, away to the left we had another good view over the fields to Sellet Bank the trig point standing out. This shot was taken on the walk on 3rd February 2005.

At Whittington it was left and then almost opposite was the church dedicated to St Michael The Archangel, here depicted in the Millennium mosaic at the entrance.

It stands within the bailey of a former castle and it is thought that a church has been on this site since 1200. The oldest part of the present church is the tower, which dates from the early 16th century. The rest was largely rebuilt in 1875 by the Lancaster architects Paley and Austin, its cost being met mainly by Colonel D. C. Greene of nearby Whittington Hall.

"Can we go inside?", asked Tetley.

"Certainly, provided it is not locked, like Casterton", replied Dad

It wasn't and we stood and admired the interior, looking along the nave towards the altar.  There are four bays to the nave, the arcades being supported on octagonal piers with pointed arches.

There is a stone reredos, that depicts the last supper, with the apostle Judas leaving to betray Jesus.

As we returned along the chancel, Grizzly said, "look at those Coat of Arms. I wonder what they are all about."

"There is a notice standing on the chair over there, which should answer your question", replied Tetley.

This told us that the painting depicts the Coat of Arms of George III. It is believed that it was removed from the church when it was restored in 1875. It was placed in the Old Rectory Stable where it remained until it was rediscovered by builders in November 2002. On the reverse are two painted inscriptions which reads, 'Made and Painted in 1661' and 'Painted by Robert Smith in 1819, April 24 K-Lonsdale'. This would suggest that it was originally painted in 1661 as the Coat of Arms for Charles II and then repainted in 1819 as the Royal Arms of George III.

"How fascinating", remarked Little Eric. "I am glad you suggested coming in here Tetley."

Returning along the nave, we noted the marble font below the tower, and the ropes for the peal of bells. "I bet they are a lovely sound, ringing out across the valley on a Sunday", said Shaun.

That concluded a most interesting visit and we made our way back to the road.

"Where now Shaun?, said Little Eric.

"We go right to the main road then on as if we are going to Kirkby Lonsdale, as far as the end of the houses, where we go through the signed gate on the right", he replied.

In the field the route lay on ahead to another gate and then half left on a wide track. This eventually crossed a stream and continued as a muddy path to the River Lune. Here we joined the Lune Valley Ramble path, that runs by the river.

This led along the river bank and over stiles and fields to Devil's Bridge.

A bridge can be seen in the picture above, and when we reached it. we saw that it carries four large pipes over the river.

"I wonder what this is about?", said Little Eric.

We stood looking, then suddenly Tetley said, "got it! It must be part of the Haweswater Aqueduct."

"Yes you're right ", agreed Allen.

We got closer and could hear the water flowing on its journey from Haweswater Reservoir to Heaton Park in Manchester.

It had been a great day out seeing so many interesting things, and gaining his 1000th summit Allen in particular was a very happy Bear!!!!

"I'm thirsty and I think I deserve some sustenance too", said Dad as he was getting his boots off.

"The cafe just over the bridge seems the best idea", suggested Tetley.

"Just what I was thinking", replied Dad.

When he got there the assistant was wiping down the grill, but she took pity on Dad and made him a lovely bacon butty, which was washed down with a mug of tea.

 

28th March 2013

After Dad had spoken to Uncle Eric, we were excited that a walk was on for Thursday and that we would have Uncle Eric for company.

Dad said, "Uncle Eric has long wanted to see the Andy Goldsworthy sheepfolds along Fellfoot Road, so we are going to repeat the walk we did on 3rd February, but just the round from Devil's Bridge."

"That will be great, as it will mean we will get a second chance to find the sheepfold we missed seeing, on the first section to the road to Bullpot", replied Allen.

"Quite, and getting a picture will mean our we can fully complete our website page", added Tetley.

"Let's have a mug of tea and cake to celebrate", said Shaun, opening the flasks.

"Ooh yes", cried Allen.

"You really are a tea belly", laughed Grizzly, as he passed round the chocolate caramel shortbread.

"This is scrumptious", breathed Little Eric. "Thanks for making it pal."


Thursday dawned with sunny skies, and despite the cold weather still persisting, it was less windy, so actually felt somewhat warmer than of late.

Met Uncle Eric at Devil's Bridge and we wished him good morning, saying how nice it was to see him again.

Setting off we followed the walk, as described above, to Bindloss Farm, to then walk up the track to the gate on to Fellfoot Road.

Since February the ewes had given birth to their lambs, so we have had to concede to Dad's request to include some sheep pictures, amongst the few to illustrate the main purposes of today's walk.

Here is a group of mother with her two lambs, sitting with their playmates.

So, we came to the first sheepfold, where we paused as we did at everyone, for Uncle Eric to have a look. Also Dad took the opportunity to record the grid reference and its location either left or right of the road, so we could include this information on the web page.

Strolled on passing through a gate, to find the next one, with a smaller boulder inside. "I remember taking a picture of this one", remarked Dad.

The track, if ever so gently was climbing and soon we saw ahead a line of trees and Tetley said, "I can see a fold on the left just before the trees."

"That's the fourth one, so we have missed it yet again", replied Dad. "However we have definitely not passed any since the one with the smaller boulder so it must be between that and the first sheepfold."

"We'll go back, we have to find it", responded Uncle Eric, promptly turning round and striding out.

Passing the one with the smaller boulder, Dad and Uncle Eric kept looking along over the walls either side to see if they could spot it, but to no avail, and we began to get a bit despondent.

Soon then we reached the gate and passing through, Dad suddenly said, "it's here, hidden behind that impenetrable mass of brambles, which make access impossible."

"Look the wall is broken down just beyond, so you will be able to get round the back", called out Allen.

So clambering over, Dad was able to get the missing picture to complete the set.

Discussing it afterwards as they strolled along, Uncle Eric said, "besides the obscuring brambles, the gate across the path distracts the attention too, so it is not surprising we missed it."

"Thanks for going back to seek it out", Dad replied.

Nearing the Bullpot Road, Shaun called out, "look one of the lambs is playing 'King of the Castle', on that feeder." Then looking at the map he went on , "I guess they belong to the farmer at Fell Yeat, the buildings of which we can be seen behind."

So we continued on, pausing at each sheepfold, Uncle Eric taking some pictures, until as Fellfoot Road bent left and started to descend, we reached the final fold on the left. A feature of each is that there is a small access in each so that the sheep can get inside, while humans have to climb over the stiles. And so when Dad offered to take our picture inside this final fold, we used this access, as our legs were too short to get over the stile! We left that struggle to Dad.

Joining the Barbon road at the bottom of the hill, we followed the route, eventually to Casterton and then on the wide track to take the kissing gate into the pasture, towards Casterton Hall. This was again full of sheep and lambs, these two posing for Dad.

Bypassing the Hall buildings, the path then led over pasture to the road. Dad walked carefully along this, Little Eric calling out, "that will make a nice shot of Casterton Hall, across the parkland."

Rejoining Laitha Lane by the golf club, we were pretty soon back at Devil's Bridge. We had brought at picnic of sandwiches cake and tea that we ate in the car, while Uncle Eric and Dad walked the short distance into Kirkby Lonsdale, here having a nice snack at the cafe called Cariad, on the square. Worth a visit if you are ever in Kirkby Lonsdale.

Then afterwards we said our goodbyes, hoping to walk again with Uncle Eric in a couple of weeks.

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