ULPHA PARK, FRITH HALL, CASTLE HOW & BECKFOOT from DUDDON HALL

 


Summary

Date - 11th July 2013 Distance - 6 miles
Ascent -
890ft
Map - OL6 Start point - Corney Fell Road by Duddon Hall (SD 1926 8954)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Castle How (Ulpha) 473 144 SD 1894 9211

 

Preface

It was time for tea and cakes, so Allen, who was looking closely at the laptop, smiled gleefully, as Grizzly and Shaun, with Little Eric hitching a ride on his back, came trotting in with the flasks and cake tin.

"I'll get the plates and mugs", Tetley volunteered, putting down the book he was reading.

Filled with steaming tea, Allen and Tetley then passed the mugs round, with the plates.

"What is the cake today?", asked Tetley, with a hungry look on his face.

"Cherry and ginger scones, that I have cut and buttered, so the are just ready to eat", replied Grizzly. "I've got an apprentice too, as Little Eric has helped me to make them."

"Quite right", responded Allen, laughing. "He generally scoffs more than the rest of us."

"Well you sup more tea", quipped back Little Eric.

Looking at his pal Grizzly said, "you seem to have a very smug expression on your face, Allen."

"Yes, and the reason is that I have had a fruitful search of the index of walks. When Dad spoke to that kind gentleman, Allen Crane, who had found his mobile phone, he recommended to Dad, doing a walk taking in Frith Hall. Well, I have found one by Mary Welsh, that was published in the Westmorland Gazette, that covers that area. It starts at Duddon Hall and takes a route through Ulpha Park, passing Frith Hall, to Millbrow on the road from Ulpha to Bootle. Then returns via Forge Wood and Middle and Low Park to Beckfoot", he finished proudly.

"Well done Allen!", cried Shaun. "That sounds like a super walk, and as you have discovered it, it's only right that you should go and tell Dad and see what he thinks."

So a few minutes later, having drained his mug of tea, off he went. Soon back, with a wide smile on his face, he called out, "Dad thinks it is a great idea and it will be another one of those many walks in the binders ticked off too. The forecast is good, so the walk is on for Thursday."

 

The Walk

We were up quite early and ready, dashing out to the car, when we heard Dad slam the boot shut, and calling goodbye to our pal Gladly, who was busy doing the crossword with Uncle Brian. The route was ever so familiar, via Greenodd and Broughton, as we have been this way many times for walks in the past. Beyond Broughton, the road drops down the hill, to the traffic lights at Duddon Bridge. Normally we turn right just before up the Duddon Valley, but today we crossed the bridge and then very shortly went ahead as the main road turned left, on the start of the road over Corney Fell.

"The start is at a layby on the left opposite the gates to Duddon Hall, a mile up the road", said Shaun, reading from the text.

So Dad kept glancing at the car odometer, and we found the start with ease. Soon ready and with us safely tucked in the rucksack, he set off on the continuing steady climb.

Shaun was looking at the map, and said, "we could extend the walk, if, just before the road junction, we go left and take a loop via a building called Smallthwaite."

"OK lad, let's do that then", replied Dad.

The path was waymarked, and led over initially rough ground to a gate into woodland. Then onwards along a narrow path, and with the vegetation at its height, we were glad of the waymarks, as a guide.

It was obvious that the path is little walked, and was hard to follow in places, but shortly it passed to the right of the secluded buildings of Smallthwaite. From the look of them, it was once a farmhouse etc., but now just barns. The way climbed, joining a wider track going right that was grassy and overgrown, and so on to reach the road via a gate.

"We turn right", called out Shaun.

"What it that hill ahead?", asked Little Eric.

Shaun looked at the map, then letting out a laugh, said, "it's called Penn, but with a double 'n'".

"Unlike the one in Eskdale, that we still have to do for our last Birkett", replied Grizzly.

"According to the map it is access land, so maybe we could do this one as well", said Shaun.

"Hmm", said Dad. "It does not look too inviting with lots of bracken, and I bet there is no proper path to the summit. If you don't mind I would rather give it a miss, and expend the energy when we make a further attempt on Pen, which will require a lot of effort on the final ascent."

"That's OK, with us" replied Tetley.

The picture shows our route, the track between the trees and Penn. Access to the fell, was in the event barred by a substantial and tall stone wall that has no stiles or gates.

Starting off Allen suddenly called out, "there is a caterpillar crossing the road."

"Oh I do hope it gets across safely", cried Little Eric.

There was little or nothing we could really do to stop it being, quashed by a passing vehicle, but we stood and watched to see if it got over safely. Fortunately it did, as no vehicles passed by on this section of the road during that time.

Very soon we arrived at the road junction, where we turned left, and then just yards along this Dad whipped the camera out to snap this shot of a Herdwick lamb sitting in the grass.

"Ooh noooo", shouted Allen in despair, "failed again!"

Mind you, we love to see them, and the lambs all seem to have slightly different markings on their faces, rather like a fingerprint. They are without a doubt our very favourite sheep, and without them grazing the fells, the growth of vegetation would not be kept under control.

"We go on to cross Logan Beck Bridge, and then through the second gate onto the wide track." instructed Shaun.

Reaching this point, Tetley called out, "here's the signpost directing us to our route."

The track climbed steadily, with the slopes of Penn to the right.

"How pretty and colourful those foxgloves look", called out Grizzly. "Nice shot for the story."

Beyond Penn, the track was enclosed on either side by woodland, then once past this, the view opened out, and Allen called out, "that is Hesk Fell and The Pike over to the left."

"Oh yes", agreed Tetley. "We climbed them again in June last year with Uncle Eric."

"And I bagged them too", added Little Eric.

After Dad had taken the shot, Shaun then called out, "there are the remains of Frith Hall, to the right ahead."

The ruins are a short way off the track, and stand out starkly, beside a barn that has been quite recently restored. In the 17th century Frith Hall was the hunting lodge of the Huddlestons of Millom. Later it became an inn catering for travellers using the trail. Weddings were performed here and smugglers used the inn. Our thanks to Mary Welsh for this information she included in the text of the walk.

"Wow, Alan was not wrong, there is indeed a beautiful view down the valley to Seathwaite", breathed Grizzly. "It is just a shame that it is rather hazy, and the distant mountains cannot be seen clearly."

"From the map, the hill in the centre in the middle distance, would seem to be Wallowbarrow Crag (958ft, 292m)", informed Shaun.

"Were hungry", complained Allen and Little Eric in unison.

"Well this seems to be a good place to sit and have a bite to eat", agreed Dad.

We sat on the ledge of what long ago had been a window, and after finishing our sandwiches and cake, posed for our picture.

Then, while we were settling in the rucksack ready for the off, Dad took this shot of The Pike, perfectly framed in the window.

Returned to the track, then turned right and walked on, to soon cross the small Bleabeck Bridge.

Just a little way beyond, we saw a small hill standing away to the right. "Does it have a name?", asked Grizzly.

"Castle How", replied Shaun, looking at the map.

"Well lads, we could not get to climb Penn, so the very least I can do is take you to this summit, however minor", said Dad.

"It is just a very simple scramble, observed Allen. "If only Pen in Eskdale could be so simple!"

"Quite", replied Dad.

Very quickly we were at the summit, where Dad took out picture as usual, with The Pike as a backdrop.

Our ongoing route by the wall can be clearly seen, and here we passed more of our beloved Herdwicks, one who sat by the wall just waiting to be photographed. As Dad had been good enough to climb Castle How, we did not have the heart to refuse to include this picture.

Shorn of its fleece, because it is summer time, it will soon regrow in the autumn, ready to protect against the cold that will have to be endured through the winter.

Soon we came to the gate onto the road at Millbrow, turning right and descending down to the houses and disused chimney, the site of a former bobbin mill.

"We have been here before, of course", remarked Tetley. "It was on the walks to climb the Bigert. As there was not any parking at Hole House, we instead parked at Ulpha Bridge. Then we walked along the road to here, and so through Rainsbarrow Wood, and then to Hole House, where we made the ascent to Bigert. The first time was in October 2008, and then we went back again in October 2011."

"Oh, yes, I remember now", went on Grizzly. "Dad was not entirely sure that we had got to the summit the first time, hence our climb again in 2011. It turned out that we had indeed reached the top the first time, but at least any lingering doubt was removed."

Our return route, was through a gate directly opposite the houses, and clearly signed. Here too, we saw the only other walkers today. A couple with their two children.

The first section was across open land, but then after another gate, the clear track led on through woodland. For a short way soon after entering the woodland the River Duddon was close by on the left.

"There maybe a nice picture of the river, if we can get through the trees to the river bank", suggested Allen.

"Good idea", replied Dad leaving the track left.

Then followed a pretty walk through the delightful woodland, for about a mile and a half to reach Beckfoot, crossing the lovely old bridge,

to come to the houses beyond.

And this, Beckfoot Mill, that would long ago have been yet another of the many mills in the Lake District. Logan Beck runs beneath the bridge and behind this house, so would probably have provided the power.

"This is very pretty", said Little Eric, "and a lovely way to end the walk."

Very soon after Beckfoot we reached the road, where it was just a short way left to the car. We all had another snack, after which Dad then just drove us home.

"Thank you for a lovely walk, Dad", said Grizzly.

"And thank you to Alan Crane, for suggesting this area to walk", added Allen.

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