KEARSTWICK, FLEET & BIGGINS from DEVIL'S BRIDGE

 


Summary

Date - 10th November 2013 Distance - 7.75 miles
Ascent -
680ft
Map - OL2 Start point - Devil's Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale (SD 614 783)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were achieved on this walk

 

Preface

Looking up from the book he was reading, Tetley saw Allen and Little Eric staring out of the window with mournful expressions on their faces.

"It is weeks and weeks since we last went walking", bemoaned Little Eric.

"I know pal", replied Tetley, putting a comforting paw on his shoulder. "But Dad and Uncle Brian have been away and then Dad has seemed to have lots of other commitments."

"And it has never seemed to stop raining either", added Allen. "It happens like this every now and then, Little Eric. We are getting out regularly then things intervene and for Dad the walking has to take a back seat."

He lapsed into silence, and with Little Eric turned again to look out of the window and watch the birds on the feeders in the garden. A few minutes later their reverie was disturbed by the arrival of Shaun and Grizzly, with the flasks and cake tin.

"Ooh tea time", cried Allen, his face breaking into a smile.

"There are cherry and ginger scones today", said Grizzly. Adding, "I have had a day off as Little Eric made them earlier, which was kind of him."

"No problem pal, I like baking and it allows you to rest your paw now and then", he replied.

The mugs were soon full of steaming tea, and the scones passed round. "They are really delicious", said Grizzly.

Just glad they meet your exacting standard", Little Eric replied.

Grizzly then went on, "I have not be idle either, as after watching the recording of Revolution on TV with my pals, I asked Dad about getting out for a walk. He agrees it had been ages since we last went and having checked the weather is resolved to go on Sunday."

"That's wonderful!" exclaimed Allen, the smile widening across his face.

"He and Uncle Brian have a pretty busy schedule this week with concerts in Manchester and Kendal as well as a play at Beetham, so it will be a country walk, starting from Devil's Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale, going via Kearstwick & Biggins", Grizzly explained.

Shaun then said, "Tetley and I did the walk back in 2003, but some parts at least will be new to the rest of you."

"I don't care, just as long as we get out and get some proper fresh air in our lungs", enthused Little Eric, and raising his mug, cried, "here's to Sunday."

"There's an ulterior motive too, from Dad's point of view, as he will be able to go to Elaine's at Feizor, afterwards", said Tetley.

 

The Walk

We were up early and throwing back the curtains could see that we were in for a gloriously sunny day, if rather cool! We quickly got the picnic packed and stowed in Allen's rucksack, and waited patiently for Dad to get his gear together. It was not long then before we were settling on the front seat of the car, and Dad backed out of the drive, to take the route up the north side of the Lune Valley.

Just beyond Whittington, Tetley said, "there's Sellet Hill, Allen, your first and 1000th summit, which you achieved earlier this year."

"That's right pal. It was a proud moment for me, and I joined you, Shaun and Grizzly, in reaching that milestone."

And for Allen's sake we include the picture of him at the summit on 3rd February this year. It was a windy day, so he had to hold on to the stone Dad placed on the trig point to avoid being blown off!

Very soon we reached the A65, and just right then immediately left, was the parking at Devil's Bridge. Dad quickly got ready, and we meantime settled in his rucksack.

We did not cross the bridge, as we have done for some walks from here, rather taking the clearly signed path...

...through the wide gateway, and along side the River Lune.

As can be seen the grass is white with frost, that persisted all day out of the sun.

"The path hugs the river, ending at the Radical Steps, that climb steeply to the path by the church", said Shaun.

"How many?", asked Little Eric.

"If memory serves me right, 86", replied Tetley.

And indeed he was correct, as the sign at the bottom showed.

We guess the last words should read 'take it easy', and Dad did, as he made his way up the flight, worn down by countless feet.

At the top, as Dad turned left, Shaun called out, "we should be going right."

"I know lad, but I want to take a picture of the church.

St Mary's Church is Grade I listed, with some parts dating from Norman times, including three doorways, one at the base of the tower, the other two on the south side of the church. It is constructed in stone with slate roofs, in a wide rectangular plan, having a nave, chancel, one south and two north aisles, a 19th south porch, and a west tower embraced by the aisles. Over the centuries many alterations have taken place, including enlargement and the top of the tower was rebuilt in 1705. The church was later restored in 1866 by E G Paley, when alterations were made to the roof, and the church was reseated, the chancel re-floored, and the south porch added.

"It is quite an impressive building", remarked Grizzly, as Dad was lining up the shot. He then said, "look at that grave close by the path. It commemorates a young man who was drowned in the river. Judging by how ornate the headstone is his fellow workmen indeed must have respected him."

Turning his back to the church, Dad now strode off past the top of the Radical Steps, only to stop once again after a further few yards.

"Why are we stopping again?", asked Little Eric.

"Because this is the famous Ruskin's View, that incorporates the sweeping bend of the River Lune and the hills behind above the valley stretching away into the distance", replied Tetley. "It was praised by John Ruskin as 'One of the loveliest views in England', and it was painted by J M W Turner."

Looking across Little Eric replied, "it is indeed quite lovely."

So after quite contemplation of the view, we set off again, along the pleasing wide path through woods....

...to reach the old iron gate with the adjacent kissing gate leading into Underley Park.

"OK", said Shaun. "We go a few yards to cross that small bridge, and then walk left by the fence to Home Farm.

As we approached another gate, Shaun said, "the footpath is ahead between the fences with the beck to the left, as indicated by the waymark, which will take us on to the drive and so to the road where we turn right.".

There were a few houses, and Tetley said, "this is the hamlet of Kearstwick."

As we walked along, Little Eric spotted this old milestone. "What do the figures indicate?"

"Well pal", said Allen. "This is the old road via Old Town, between Kirkby Lonsdale and Kendal. So that on the left indicates it is 11 miles to Kendal while that on the right shows it is 1 mile to Kirkby Lonsdale."

The road was quiet as Dad strolled along and looking at the map again, Shaun instructed, "at the next junction we take the left fork signed Lupton, then very shortly go left again along the track past the house called Hot Ridding."

As we started along this track there were away to the right trees some still showing autumn colours.

"We take the stile in the fence right and then it is over that step stile by corner of the wood", called out Shaun.

Beyond Dad climbed the slight rise, and glancing at the map again, Shaun instructed, "we now make for the far left corner of this large field."

This involved a descent to cross a small stream, and then a short ascent to the step stile in the wall ahead, to walk on by the wood to its far end, where Shaun called out, "it is through the gate in the hedge on the left, and then on in the same direction now with the hedge on the right."

The route drifted left round a garden and so to the ladderstile to the road at Hop House.

"Wow that was great map reading and direction, pal", said Little Eric. "I wish I could be so confident."

"You will in time", replied Shaun. "When we get home, I will sit down with you and give you some more instruction as to how to interpret the map in relation to the landscape."

The route was now right past the house and then soon left along the track of the bridleway, that led to a gate into Lowther Plantation.

"Do we go on ahead?", asked Allen.

"No pal", replied Shaun, "We take the gate immediately left and then go right by the wood, climbing to the brow and then descending to another track."

This part was not altogether pleasant for Dad as the field was pretty boggy and whichever side of the brow we were on the water was draining down. This was hardly a surprise after all the rain, though.

The track went left and right, our direction being left, passing along the way this massive holly tree. "Plenty of supplies for Christmas there", remarked Grizzly.

Ahead was Fleet Farm, but just before there were a number of large wooden poles lying by the track, Allen calling out, "that looks a good place for us to sit and have our picture taken, and to have some lunch, as my tummy is rumbling."

"OK, I get the hint" replied Dad, and after we had settled he lined up the camera.

The route was through the buildings, of Fleet Farm, that is now the headquarters of Barden Energy, that specialise in renewable energy solutions involving biomass. Then along the access drive to the busy A65, where there is this signpost pointing along the access drive.

If, after reaching the track at the end of the boggy pasture, we had gone right instead of left, we would have eventually come to Tosca Farm. However we prefer to think of this as, 'the bridleway to the opera!'

"We turn left along the road, and then go right on a track past Hollin Hall", advised Shaun.

The A65 is a busy and dangerous road, so we were a little worried about Dad walking along it, but as is correct he immediately crossed to the right side, so that he was facing the oncoming traffic. Then taking care he walked as quickly possible, squeezing into the verge and hedge when cars passed.

Reaching the track, Little Eric gave a sigh, and said, "I'm glad that is over."

The track climbed passing to the right of Hollin Hall, and then on ahead along a grassy hedged track. This led via a gate into a field where the path was slightly sunken as it meandered to a gate into a small walled enclosure.

"Where now?", asked Allen.

"We turn left to that gate in the wall ahead, then beyond we go half right", replied Shaun.

The pasture undulated, and there was no clear path, but clearing a rise, we saw a gate onto to a road by some sheep pens, Shaun saying , "that is where we need to go."

Just adjacent to this lies an ancient settlement the circular embankment of which can still be seen.

"It would be nice to get a picture for the story", remarked Grizzly.

So, we proceeded to do a complete circle, Dad trying different angles, and after considering all the results, we thought this was the best. Distantly behind a line of fells can be made out. They are some of our beloved Lakeland mountains and hills. A search on the Internet has failed to reveal any more information about this settlement, so if by chance any reader could enlighten us further, we would be very appreciative. We are always thirsty for knowledge about things we see on our adventures.

A party of walkers had come along the road, and were now following our route, by initially climbing the stile on the opposite side of the road. It was just as well then that Dad spent had spent some time getting pictures of the settlement, as it took a little while for them all to get through the narrow gap stile.

"OK Lads, I'm done", Dad finally announced.

"Right", replied Shaun. "Once we are through the stile, we climb up the field to the wall corner, and then on ahead with the wall on our left."

With the advantage of gaining a little height, there was now a fine view to our beloved Lakeland Fells, and so we paused to properly appreciate them.

Little Eric said, "for years the rest of you have been able to reel off the names of the fells, but finally I too am getting the hang of them, so let's see if I have got it right." So taking a deep breath he went on, "to the far left is Dow Crag, then in front going right Coniston Old Man and Brim Fell and set back Swirl How, with Great Carrs and then further right to the fore, Wetherlam.

"Yep, that's spot on so far, pal", encouraged Allen.

So next right are the Crinkle Crags and the long seeming ridge that is Bowfell & Esk Pike, with I think the one that seems to have a bit of snow, being Great End. Finally then on the right are the Langdale Pikes, that are Pike o'Stickle, Loft Crag, Harrison Stickle & Pavey Ark."

"Well done!", exclaimed Tetley, giving his pal a hug. "That was exactly right. See we told you that the names would stick eventually."

So with Little Eric feeling very proud of himself we now walked on by the wall, with the group of walkers ahead.

In the next field sheep were grazing, and Dad was able to snap a shot.

For once Allen did not complain, this was because the sheep in this field were part of the flock owned by Jonathan, Elaine's husband at Feizor. Later when Dad called after the walk, he told Jonathan, explaining the colours on the fleece, and he said that this was actually one of the ones owned by his daughter Lucy.

At the second stile Dad finally caught the walking group up, and getting through amongst them, we then left them behind. Across the field another very narrow stile allowed passage through the wall. It was a real squeeze, and honestly seemed more suitable for us than humans!

"We make for a stile on the left corner of this field", advised Shaun, as Dad strode on.

Beyond we walked a short fenced track and over yet another stile, and then across this final field to the road, here going right down to the few houses of High Biggins.

Approaching a junction Shaun called out, "we go left, then at the corner take the path left into the woods.

This path through the woods was quite delightful, ending at another stile into a field and straight across this to the road at Low Biggins.

"We go right and then left at the junction", said Shaun.

This brought us to Wood End Farm, where Tetley said, "we have been here a few times on walks in different directions.

"Oh yes", added Allen. "The route is now across the field before the farm, and then right to descend to the Whittington road."

So, through the stile and over the field and through the rickety metal gate, as Allen had said, it was then right through two more stiles and so on down the hill, with to the left this fine view of Kirkby Lonsdale and the Lune Valley beyond.

Ahead in the direction of Devil's Bridge, some of the trees were in full autumn colours. "How lovely", said Grizzly.

At the road, we crossed and took the narrow path between the houses, and on over the field to the A65, which Dad crossed carefully once again to return to the car at Devil's Bridge.

As Dad got changed, Tetley said, "refreshment time now I guess?"

"Yes, and of course I am going to Elaine's", replied Dad.

Here he had lovely sausages eggs and chips, and delicious apple and gooseberry crumble with custard. Elaine was in bed ill, so Jonathan had had to do all the cooking. It had been really busy too, so it had been bedlam for a while, but with the able assistance of Laura, Hannah B, Hannah R and Emma, they had coped. All credit to them!! Dad's meal had been cooked perfectly, something he told Jonathan, when he got chance to sit and chat to Dad.

So then all that remained was for Dad to drive us home. Thanks for a good day. Great to be out again!!

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