KITMERE, RIGMADEN & WYNDHAMMERE
from OLD SCOTCH ROAD

 


Summary

Date - 19th May 2013 Distance - 6.5 miles
Map - OL2 Start point - Pull in on Old Scotch Road (SD 598855)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

"So are we walking on Sunday?", asked Little Eric, who was helping Grizzly and Shaun get the plates and mugs, as Allen and Tetley strolled in.

"Yes pal", Tetley replied, "but Allen has looked up the weather, and it seems it will be a day of dull grey cloud, so not really any good for the hills."

"Dad has said we can decide on the walk, and Tetley and I thought it might be nice if we can find one that none of us have done before", added Allen. "However, I think we should get priorities right and get the tea poured and cakes on the plates. It will get my brain into gear too."

"Why am I not surprised by that?", laughed Shaun, as he opened the flasks, "you are such a tea belly."

Seeing a question form on Little Eric's face, Grizzly said, "I've made apple and cinnamon scones, just two each, so mind you take note Little Eric."

"Alright", said Little Eric, although he was disappointed as he was really hungry and was hoping to have three at least!

Seeing the disappointment on his pals face, he said, "I'm only joking, there's two dozen here." As Little Eric's face brightened, he went on, "mind you, I expect there to be some left over for tomorrow!"

So all happily munching away, we put our thinking caps on.

"I think we should look in the binders of walks Dad saved from the newspapers, as I reckon there must be some Dad did a long time ago, before any of us went walking", mused Grizzly.

"Good idea", replied Tetley, "but we can initially look at the index on the laptop, for the dates they were walked."

Allen obliged and then opened the page, and we gathered round as he slowly scrolled, and not far down, Shaun said, "number 44, Kitmere and Wyndhammere, has a date of July 1987, which is 10 years before even I started going with Dad on my own. He has also commented that there are excellent views."

Seeing the map was OL2, Tetley went off to get it, while Grizzly and Allen got the binder and found the walk. Then with the map spread out, we looked for the start.

"The description indicates parking beside the road by some sheep pens, where the bridleway starts on the Old Scotch Road", read out Allen

"It's here north of Kirkby Lonsdale and along the right fork from Old Town", pointed out Shaun.

Then as Allen read the highlights, we traced the route. "Well for certain we have not done this walk in its entirety, but some of us at least have done the part in Rigmaden and through Hag Wood, but in the opposite direction", said Tetley who has seemingly instant recall of past adventures.

"Well, if we are all agreed, I'll go and ask Dad and see what he thinks", stated Allen, as he drained his mug

We all nodded assent, so off he went, and in just a few minutes he was back, with a beaming smile on his face, and gratefully accepting the refilled mug from Shaun, said, "Dad thinks it is a great idea, as after 25 years, he can remember little detail of this walk."

"Yippee", cried Little Eric, grabbing another scone in celebration!

 

The Walk

Making sure we were up early, we all pitched in to pack our picnic and stow it safely in Allen's rucksack. Then hearing Dad slam the boot of the car shut, we dashed out to settle on the front seat of the car, calling our goodbyes to Uncle Brian.

The initial part of the drive was to Kirkby Lonsdale, which we were all familiar with, but there after we were on new ground. Passing Booths supermarket, it was left at the junction, then through some narrow streets, on the road to Old Town, a small hamlet. Then soon we took the right fork and motored along the empty road, that ran pretty straight, for just over a mile and a half, to find the pull-in by some old sheep pens, where the clearly signed bridleway to Rigmaden goes off right.

Dad was soon ready and with us safely tucked in the rucksack, we headed through the gate and along beside the fence, with Tailbrigg Hill ahead and to the left.

Just this year, a new wind farm has been erected near Old Hutton and from our start point now looms large just to the west, and today with the low cloud the blades were partly obscured so giving a somewhat ghostly appearance.

It was a day of cloud, but warmer and muggy, so much so that from Rigmaden, Dad walked just in his t-shirt - first time this year! Oh what a long and cold winter we had had this year. Only yesterday there had been heavy rain and on some days recently as well, so the paths that had nicely dried out, were pretty muddy once again.

As we walked along, Shaun said, "according to the instructions, we should be able to get a glimpse of Kitmere to the right."

Beyond the fence the tarn is bordered by rhododendrons and any gap had long disappeared in the intervening 25 years.

"That's a pity", said Little Eric, disappointedly.

"We will come to a cross track, where we go on ahead probably through a gate", advised Shaun.

This track went left and right through a gate. "I bet if we walk a couple of hundred yards along the track right, we will be able to see the tarn", mused Allen.

There was no one about, and in fact we did not see any other walkers at all on the walk today, so Dad hopped over the gate and soon we had this nice view of tranquil and lonely Kitmere, a man made tarn. It has been here since at least 1884, as by the tarn was a small two story building that looked like a boathouse, bearing the legend on an inscribed stone - 'CWW 1884'.

"I wonder what the initials refer to?", said Shaun.

"Someone's name?" speculated Tetley.

Well as you will see later, we think we solved the mystery, following Grizzly doing some research on the Internet.

We stood a little longer, then Dad returned along the track and once over the gate, we rejoined the route by now going right through the waymarked gate and bearing half right down the field to a gate into the very northern part of an area of woodland called Park.

As it clanged shut behind us, Tetley said, "that's one way of making sure they are not left open, with the wire and weight arrangement." In fact this seemed to be the system in this area, as we encountered such arrangements on a number of the gates we came to today.

Beyond a muddy path led downhill, crossing a small stream, but was then blocked by a large fallen tree branch, forcing Dad to deviate off to get around it.

Shaun had his head in the map, and said, "we should soon ignore the track continuing ahead and turn down left."

On reaching the junction there was indeed no doubt about the route!

Looking right Grizzly called out, "just look at that swathe of bluebells."

"Beautiful", cried Allen. "Oh how I love to seem them", he enthused.

Onwards the path continued down, the stream passing under it, having descended through the sylvan woodland. "Just a lovely scene", said Little Eric. "Oh how lucky I am to go on these walks in our wonderful countryside."

Soon we arrived at a gate into open pasture at the bottom corner of the wood. An old building stands here, no longer used, but we guessed had been a stable, from the horseshoe that was nailed to the door. Looking back it made a nice scene, its roof almost enveloped by the trees.

Across the field, we soon reached another gate onto the road that we followed right downhill to Rigmaden. At the junction, set in the wall on the right and surrounded by ivy, is the postbox, installed during the reign of King George V, between 1910 and 1936.

"We keep on ahead", said Shaun.

This took us past Rigmaden Park. "I recall that the first time I saw this house, it was derelict, after what seemed to me to be a fire". remarked Dad. "But then when we came here a few years later it had been restored."

Intrigued to know more, our pal Grizzly did some research when we go home and this is what he found out, and told the rest of us-

"The house was originally built in 1825, on a site that had been occupied since the 14th century, to the designs of Francis and George Webster for Christopher Wilson of Kendal, but by 1948 dry rot forced the family to move out. Then in 1992 the late William Wilson had the Grade II listed derelict shell rebuilt as a family home. I have also discovered that there is a hydro electric turbine in the cellar, built by Gilkes of Kendal in 1882, that helps to heat and light the house. According to the website of the British Hydropower Association, it has a 5kw capacity and is one of the first and oldest (?) private hydro electric scheme still running, the turbine being fed from a reservoir with a 330ft head."

"That must be Kitmere", exclaimed Allen. Then checking the map, he went on, "there is a height difference of about 105 metres between Kitmere and Rigmaden Hall, which equates to about 330ft."

"I'm sure you are right", Grizzly replied. "That would also explain the inscription 'CWW 1884' on the building beside the tarn, referring to the family owner of the estate at the time."

"Well done with your deductions", said our hug detective pal Padlock Homes, who had overheard the discussions.

Right, we had better get back to the day of the walk. To get to the vantage point for the above picture, we had taken the signed path through a gate in the fence on the right, and climbed the field, that like many today was full of sheep and lambs.

Just before reaching Hag Wood, there was a large tree stump. Shaun called out, "good place for a picture, Dad."

In Hag Wood there were more carpets of bluebells either side of the wide path. The other plants are wild garlic that would soon be a wonderful swathe of white.

The way led past the long abandoned house called Woodside and on to exit into a field, where Dad went marching on up the middle.

"You're going the wrong way", called out Shaun, bringing Dad to a halt. "Our route is through that gate in the left hedge line."

"Sorry Lad", he replied.

However the position did provide a nice view looking to Woodside and Hag Wood. As Dad lined the camera up, Allen said, "ooh no, I have to agree that the sheep does add to the picture, but our hopes of a sheep free story have been dashed again!"

Then to confound Allen even more, the sheep and lambs seemed to want to say hello to Shaun, so providing Dad with another opportunity.

Beyond the gate, we passed a barn and then joined a hedged track to reach the road at Mansergh High. "We have walked this section from Rigmaden to here, more than once on other walks, but in the opposite direction", remarked Tetley.

"It's right here, along Fell Lane", called out Shaun.

This climbed steadily, as we were now effectively reversing our route from the Old Scotch Road, but further south. The verges either side were full of vegetation and flowers like these Forget Me Nots.

Well maintained and secure fences lined the lane on either side too, with sheep and lambs in the fields, so it was with some surprise in his voice that Little Eric said, "how ever did that lamb get out?"

As we continued along we scanned the fences either side, but no gaps were apparent, so none of us could answer Little Eric's question.

Where the lane turned left, we crossed and took the signed bridleway. Going to open the gate Dad spotted that it was tied up, so he had to climb over. No problem with that, but we have ask, why was it tied up in the first place?!!

This brought us to the Old Scotch Road once again, where we went right, having noticed a building away left that did not seem to be associated with farming, and then as we walked along the road spotted some inspection covers in a field on the right. This was another mystery that we were to solve later!

The Old Scotch Road is so named on the ordnance survey map, running from Old Town north passing Three Mile House and on to skirt Killington Reservoir to the A684 just east of the M6. Then continuing north off this towards Lowgill, but going off left to cross the M6 and then leave this right along a byway to the A685 at Fell Gate. It would seem that the origin of the name likely refers to it being part of an old drove road for cattle and packhorse traffic, to and from Galloway in Scotland. The link provides more information.

As we walked on, Shaun issued his next instruction. "the route is left at the next signed path".

This was a muddy track that ran straight, before bending left, to then run straight ahead again, crossing Blea Beck the outfall from Wyndhammere.

It ended on reaching the B6254, part of which we had driven along this morning from Kirkby Lonsdale to Old Town.

"We go right, then just after the road bends left, it is right along a narrow road", said Shaun.

As we strolled along this Allen said, "that's a nice house off to the right."

"It is Low Fell House", advised Shaun.

Next was Middle Fell House, where the road ended and along this section we had a nice view of Wyndhammere, another artificial tarn.

Then we continued along the track to High Fell House, following the waymark to a gate and so down to a broken wall, crossing this and walking up the next field newly planted with trees. Dad crossed the rough ground to the top of the wood on the right, here going through the gate to walk above the wood to a track, where we turned left..

In a field to the right stands a tower that intrigued us and close to the wall we could see more inspection covers.

We wanted to investigate, so Dad climbed the stile in the wall, and suddenly all was clear, this was the course of the Haweswater Aqueduct carrying the water to Manchester.

"That other building we saw earlier is obviously associated with the aqueduct too", said Tetley.

Reaching the road it was just short stroll left to the start.

"Thanks Dad on behalf of us all", said Little Eric, "that has been a really interesting walk."

"Food time now?", asked Tetley.

"Yep", replied Dad, "and I know it is a bit of a distance, but I am going to Elaine's at Feizor."

The sun was out now, and it was very busy at the cafe, with lots of people sitting outside. There were empty tables inside, but they had reserved notices, and when Dad asked Laura, she told him that they were for a vintage car club due to arrive shortly - 50 people were expected but in the end 70 turned up! The only table was that by the door to the toilet, and Dad had to sit facing the wall, while we were able to sit looking into the room. Jonathan, Elaine's husband, who Dad has lots of banter with, made the point that Dad was in his correct seat facing the wall!!

Megan looked after him, bringing his order of Steak and Guinness pie with chips and mushy peas, and then apple and blueberry crumble with custard and tea of course. The vintage car club duly arrived and before leaving Dad took some pictures of the cars, including this magnificent Bentley.

Morris Minor....

and MG and E-type Jaguar.......

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