Date - 27th February 2013 Distance - 10.5 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL7 Start point - Sun Inn, Crook (SD 4642 9510)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



Tetley and Little Eric were looking mournfully out of the window at the rain falling steadily, Tetley remarking, "this Sunday is such a contrast to the last, when there were blue skies for our walk above Kentmere."

"What an enjoyable day I had, bagging summits and seeing those wonderful views of the mountains covered in snow", replied Little Eric. "We surely have the best Dad in the world."

Further thoughts about this walk were broken by the whirlwind that was Allen, dashing into the room. "I bring news. Dad has checked the weather and decided that a walk is on for Wednesday, which will be our last chance before he and Uncle Brian go to stay at Armathwaite Hall, once again."

"Has he decided where to walk, or is it up to us to come up with an idea?", asked Little Eric.

We are to decide, but as Dad has a busy week otherwise, he does not want to go on the hills this time", replied Allen.

"Right then, we need to get our thinking caps on, said Tetley.

"My brain would work better if I had a mug of tea and some of Grizzly's lovely cake", said Allen, who was rubbing his tummy in anticipation.

"Shaun and Grizzly will not be long", assured Tetley glancing at the clock.

"So, what we want is an interesting area, that is not too far for Dad to drive, and with a cafe nearby for afterwards", mused Allen.

"Exactly", agreed Shaun, as he and Grizzly wandered in with flasks and cake tin.

Immediately Allen went to get the mugs which were soon full of steaming hot tea.

Grizzly said, "I know you all liked the apricot and cherry slice, so I have made some more for today."

"Wonderful", cried Tetley, who had got the plates.

Soon we were all tucking into the delicious cake, Little Eric saying, "it is absolutely scrumptious pal.

Now turning our thoughts back to the walk, Tetley said. "I suggest we go to the Crook area, as afterwards Dad could go to the cafe at Plumgarths."

"Good idea" replied Allen. "I'll boot the laptop and we can see the ones there are in the binders, in that area."

He opened the spreadsheet and we scanned down the list. "There's one here from the Sun Inn", called out Grizzly after a while."

"Dad's done that one a few times", remarked Tetley, who has a quite prodigious memory. "But if a recall, not for a long time and in fact I am sure that only Shaun and I have done it, so that would be good as it will be new for the rest of you."

By now Allen had opened the 'Walks Done' list and applying a filter, said, "it was in fact 2003 that Dad last did it with you and Shaun, so none of you will remember much of it, I guess."

"That's true", agreed Tetley.

"Sounds like a goer then", enthused Little Eric.

Draining his second mug of tea and grabbing the walk, Allen said, "right, I'll go and ask Dad."

Soon back, his faced wreathed in smiles, he exclaimed, "it's on and Dad said that it will be nice to do this walk again."


The Walk

After all the terrible rains last year, today was stunningly beautiful, with cloudless blue skies, and after a sharp frost overnight, it was quite warm later, almost feeling like spring. There has been generally a period of dry weather so we noticed that the ground had dried out quite considerably, which is especially good news for the countries beleaguered farmers.

Once again our route was north on the M6 just one junction and then along to the end of the link road that bypasses Kendal, where it was left at the roundabout almost immediately passing Plumgarths.

"There's your tea stop, Dad", called out Tetley.

"That's right lad. I have looked the cafe up on the Internet. It is called The 2 Sisters, run by sisters Magda and Monika. The menu looks good and all homemade too."

Just a few miles further on we arrived at the Sun Inn, Dad parking in the layby just beyond.

While Dad got ready, we looked about and Little Eric said, "what is that walled enclosure with the wooden gate, just beyond the layby.

"There's a sign on the gate, which will no doubt satisfy your curiosity", replied Allen.

This told us that the enclosure was Crook Pinfold, which was probably constructed in the 18th century prior to the enclosure of common grazing land and is situated close to the parish boundary. The name derives from the Old English - Pundfald - a walled enclosure to contain straying livestock before collection by the owner on payment of a small cash forfeit.

Tetley said, "and do you know that the forfeit that had to be paid, is the origin of the saying 'pin money'."

"How interesting", said Little Eric.

"Right I'm ready", called out Dad.

So we dashed back and settled in the rucksack. "Which way Shaun?", asked Grizzly.

"We continue along the road in the direction of Windermere and then take the first turning left, Dobby Lane, walking to its end at a t-junction", he replied.

Along the lane, as in other places the snowdrops were out, a sign of spring on the way.

Approaching the junction, Shaun instructed, "we are headed to Crook Hall, our way being via the footpath, over the facing stone step stile."

Beyond a clear path climbed quite steeply half right to a gate in the wall, from where a green path led on bending left to a ladderstile.

As Dad climbed over, Allen called out, "I can see a tower that looks like it belongs to a church, but that is all there is, just the tower."

"You are quite right, Allen", replied Tetley. "It is all that remains of the old St Catherine's Church. "The rest had to be demolished as it was unsafe and the church was relocated lower down, by the road."

Shaun added, "We'll see and find out more soon, as it is on our route."

The path continued to Crook Hall skirting to the right of the buildings, and then followed right towards the tower, through a field with sheep grazing. So, anyone who has read our stories before, will know what the next picture will be. Yes, a sheep that stood and posed for Dad as he lined up the camera. Well at least we will get this out of the way early on in this tale. Bit of an ugly looking brute, not like our lovely Herdwicks that we see on the Lakeland Fells.

Continuing we came to a gate in the wall that encloses the mound on which the solitary tower stands.

A plaque, informed us that the tower, built in 1620, is all that remains of the old Church that served the Parish from 1516 to 1887, when, because of structural defects, the body of the Church had to be demolished. The tower was allowed to remain as a local historical landmark. It was restored in 1993.

Looking away from the tower, Grizzly called out, "and there is the new church down in the valley."

The view from the mound beyond the tower provided a superb prospect of the Coniston Fells, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Esk Pike, Great End, Allen Crags and Langdales. Such pictures have been included in a few of our recent stories, so we have decided not to repeat them here.

"What an interesting walk this is turning out to be", said Allen.

"And there's more to come with the churches at Crosthwaite and Underbarrow", replied Tetley. "Which way now Shaun?", he went on.

"We go on along by the wall to the left below the mound."

Now, things change over time, and so there are always risks, when doing walks like this that were published 20 years ago, that the instructions will not prove to be a guide to the present. And so it was here. As Shaun had said the route was by the wall and then the next instruction was to pass through a substantial gap stile. This is gone having been replaced by complex of three gates, to adjoining fields.

"We should basically go on ahead as the general direction, and there does appear to be sort of gap stile by the right most gate", said Shaun.

"OK lad, but I do not hold you responsible if this is not correct."

It wasn't, so we had to back track. Dad then went through the middle gate, but again this was wrong. We back tracked, but to the opposite side of the field, where climbing a wall/fence, we finally get into the correct field. Then crossed this to climb a gate to the reinforced track from High House, and so get properly back on route.

When we got home, Shaun looked at the map again and told us, " I reckon we should actually have taken the left gate and then gone up with the wall on our right to come to a track from Crook House. Then turn right on this to the gate higher up onto the track from High House, which was, I recall, waymarked."

A good wide track was now followed to Birk Moss, here continuing as directed by the signpost.

The route was clearly waymarked being over grassy terrain and partly on a track. At one point suddenly the view opened out over the wide valley.

"That's a lovely view", said Little Eric. "What valley is it?"

"The Winster Valley", replied Tetley. "I think it looks rather Turneresque, with the haze and the smoke rising in the still air."

Finally the way led down to a lane opposite the farm called Bulman Strands, as the signpost at Birk Moss had indicated.

"That is an interesting name. I wonder what the origin is?" mused Allen.

Once again, as on Sour Hows, Grizzly did not disappoint saying, "I thought you might ask, so I looked it up in the book of Lakeland place names by Diane Whaley. Bulman, appears to mean, 'the pool or marsh where bull(s) graze'. Strand is a reference to shore or stream, in this case the place by the River Gilpin."

"Thank you pal", you are always so helpful and informative", replied Allen warmly.

"We go left along the road, as far as the access to Foxhole Bank", advised Shaun.

On arrival the path we had to take was indicated by a signpost reading Hubbersty Head 1 mile, which was indeed the next place we were heading for. Also there was this pleasing name board for the house.

Along the access track we crossed the River Gilpin, and then a cattle grid. Here the route was waymarked right, to avoid the buildings. This led to a gate, then immediately left and shortly right climbing to a further gate. Through this the path continued to climb to the brow and another gate, as can be seen below.

Beyond, the path swung a bit left and then kept ahead to a narrow road, which we crossed onto the access track to Greenbank Farm.

It was here that we met the only other walkers today, two ladies, who Dad stopped and chatted to. They asked if we had come from Foxhole Bank, which was where they were headed, so Dad indicated the route for them. They also helpfully too, told us that the path was through the stile on the left, along the track.

Strolled the access track, and soon Grizzly called out, "here's the stile."

Beyond, the next gate was waymarked, and then avoiding a very boggy area, we climbed with the wall to our left, to a stile. Climbed this and then just kept on ahead, now with the wall on the right, over pastures and latterly through woods, via gates and stiles to arrive at the few houses of Hubbersty Head.

"Where do we go now?", asked Allen.

Peering closely at the map, Shaun replied, "we should keep on ahead past the large house of Hill Top to the left, following the hedged track. Then just before it climbs steeply, we go left over the fields."

This we did and the path left was signposted, so there was no doubt. The route was then clearly waymarked all the way to Mirk Howe, the climb to the buildings being made after crossing a step stile tucked in a corner and then edging down stone steps by a large tree. This shot was taken after crossing the stile. The farmer certainly does not want anyone to go through the gate on the right, from the way it had been securely tied up three times.

At Mirk Howe the way led at first along the access track, but then was signed off this over more fields, to enter an area where trees had obviously been planted very recently. A sign read that this will be 'The Queens Diamond Jubilee Wood'.

"There's not much to see now, apart from the saplings within protective covers, but it will be much different in a few years time", remarked Tetley.

"Maybe we should make a note to do this walk again in another 10 years, and see the difference", added Allen.

This picture was taken looking over the surrounding wall and turning our backs on the wood to be, we crossed the River Gilpin by the stone footbridge to the road and the village of Crosthwaite.

"It's right here", said Shaun.

This led to the main road by the village green.

"I'm hungry", complained Allen. "Don't you think it's time to stop for lunch, Dad?"

"Now you say it I could do with a bite to eat, so let's sit on these stones by the edge of the green", replied Dad.

As we sat munching away, a passing lady cyclist noticed us and called out, "what a lot of teddy bears".

Dad called back, "they accompany me on all the walks."

"To which she replied, "wonderful"!!

Before leaving Dad took our picture, as we have to appear at least once in each of our adventures.

"OK Shaun, where now?" asked Grizzly.

"We take the signed path opposite between the houses", he replied.

This led over pastures, stiles getting us over the intervening walls, coming eventually to a gate on a narrow road called Mill Lane.

Looking right Tetley said, "that complex of large buildings look like a mill, so hence the name of the lane."

We looked this up when we got home and indeed it was Crosthwaite Corn Mill, that while the machinery remains intact has not operated as such since the late 1960s. Currently the site is used by the Dove Nest Group. They are a business development company providing courses for the development of business client's employees.

Reading the instructions and checking the map again, Shaun directed, "we turn left for a short way to where the lane makes turns right, leaving it follow the signposted hedged path the goes on ahead."

This climbed up and then descended to Crosthwaite Church that is dedicated to St Mary. As we approached Allen said, "that will make a nice picture Dad."

"Can we go and have a look inside?", asked Grizzly.

We did and here is the picture that Dad took.

Immediately adjacent is the Punch Bowl Hotel. "Uncle Brian and I have been there a few times, although some years ago now. It had and still does have an excellent reputation."

Strolled through the car park to the road, turning right, ignoring any of the side roads.

"The instructions say, walk to the village name sign, and then take the drive that climbs left to pass some houses, after which we continue along the unsurfaced track. We then need to look out for the waymark directing us right into a large pasture.", advised Shaun.

"We are not half keeping you busy today pal, but your guidance is essential", said Little Eric, sincerely.

Once in the pasture we kept ahead up the centre coming to a gate on to another narrow lane. "We go left to Blakebank, where we leave the lane and take the signed path past the houses and then immediately in front of the last house and through its well tended garden", instructed Shaun once again.

"Wow!", exclaimed Grizzly. "Just look at the masses of snowdrops."

We are sorry that the bare hedge is blocking the view somewhat, but this was private land and Dad would not rightly trespass. Nevertheless the picture does give a reasonably good impression of the extent.

Taking the gate from the garden, we walked a grassy ridge, descending steadily to a spring by a wall corner, with a facing gate.

"Do we go through the gate?", asked Grizzly.

"No pal", replied Shaun. "We climb the step stile in the wall on the left."

"Oh yes, I see it now", said Grizzly.

Once over we crossed the field, parallel to the wall to the right, to climb another stile. "We should now head for the left of that green building at Kirkby House, for the next stile", directed Shaun.

Then it was through the farm as directed by the waymarks and so along its access to the road, where we turned left into the village of Underbarrow. Here we visited All Saints Church that stands in a peaceful location over looking Chapel Beck and the valley.

The first church on the site was built in 1547, to replace a pre-Reformation chapel nearby. The second church replaced it in 1708, and the present church was built in 1869, to the design of Joseph Bentley of Kendal. This is a very Victorian church building, with an unusual octagonal bell tower and mini-spire. The spire is apparently secured to the tower, by a stone ball hanging on a chain!

Going inside, we looked along the nave to the chancel, with its polygonal apse.

"The nave has a fine timber roof", remarked Tetley looking up.

We wandered round looking a various things and noted the lovely stained glass windows, and just before leaving this fine font.

"Thank you Dad", said Grizzly, "I really do like visiting these churches we pass by on our countryside walks."

Leaving by the gate, we walked left along the lane to some houses. "The instructions say we should look out for a huge yew arch over the gate to one of the houses", said Shaun.

Shortly, Little Eric called out, "here it is."

At the end the way led through a narrow stile into pastures, where we kept on ahead almost to Beckside Farm. Just before Dad Struck left to cross Chapel Beck, shining in the sunlight, by the sturdy footbridge.

Crossing the ground beyond the bridge, Dad remarked, "I am glad we have had the period of dry weather, as there is little doubt that this part would have been horribly boggy a few weeks ago after all the rains."

This led to a kissing gate on to the access to Beckside Farm that we crossed, to climb the gap stile opposite and walk up the field beyond.

Beyond the next stile in the wall the path passed between the buildings of Low Crag and High Crag and so to the road, where turning right for the half mile or so, we arrived at the Sun Inn and the car.

"What an interesting walk", exclaimed Little Eric. "Thank you so much for taking us Dad, as always."

"Absolutely", added Allen.

"Cafe time now, Dad", said Tetley. "I bet you are ready too."

"Most definitely", Dad replied.

Returning the way we had come this morning it was only few miles to Plumgarths, and the aptly named 2 Sisters Cafe. This is run by sisters Magda and Monika, who come from Poland. This picture was 'borrowed' from the cafe website and we hope that they will not mind us including it in our story.

l-r Magda & Monika

The cafe is beautifully appointed with delightful countryside pictures adorning the walls and an unusual clock over the door. Dad, like every customer, received a cheerful and friendly welcome from Magda, when he gave his order, and afterwards he chatted a little more with her.

To eat he had a delicious bacon roll, then the scrumptious warmed deep filled apple pie and cream, and tea to drink of course. All the food is homemade and quite delicious. There are wonderful soups, artisan bread rolls & ciabatta with various fillings, quiche, pate, etc. And a mouth-watering selection of homemade cakes that are literally to die for. In short it is just our Dad's kind of cafe!

Not long after, Dad took Uncle Brian who too, was very impressed. Indeed as we write this tonight, they went again for lunch today. Dad had the wonderful chicken burger, comprising chicken breast, bacon, cheese and tomato, served with coleslaw and tortilla crisps. He highly recommends this too.

An excellent place to eat, and a must place to visit if you are in the area. For more information click this link - The 2 Sisters

And so, after our walk and Dad duly fortified, we returned home a very happy band!


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