Date - 24th November 2013 Distance - 7.75 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL7 Start point - Skelwith Bridge (NY 3443 0349)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



As Shaun and Grizzly trotted in, they saw that Little Eric was tapping away on the iPad. "It looks to be a nice day on Sunday, so maybe we will be able to get out for a walk."

"Strange you should say that", replied Grizzly. "I was just chatting to Dad, and he told me that indeed he is planning to take us walking. However he has said that he does not feel like going on the hills and so hope we will not mind doing a more level walk, but nevertheless in the Lake District."

"I am happy with that", said Shaun, but first I bring tea and Grizzly has the cake."

"Oh yes, we must get our priorities right", cried Allen, going off the get the mugs and plates.

Tetley just sat laughing his head off. "Allen is so so like Dad. A real tea belly and cake lover too!"

"Nothing wrong with that", riposted Allen, setting the mugs and plates down.

What's the cake?" asked Tetley.

Chocolate caramel shortbread", replied Grizzly.

"Ooh scrumptious", enthused Little Eric, immediately helping himself from the tin.

So all content with steaming mugs and cake, our thoughts turned to deciding our walk for Sunday.

Shaun said, "I think we should look in those binders of walks that Dad has collected over the years. There are still a good number that have not been done."

So with Tetley and Allen's help he lifted the heavy binders off the shelf. We then poured over the index, and after a while Shaun pointed, and said, "here's one from Skelwith Bridge."

We read it through, Tetley saying, "we have done a lot, if not all of these paths before and have been to Colwith Force, but I reckon much of it was in the opposite direction, so if we were to do this we would get a different perspective."

"Well it looks to be a nice walk, and I do not mind repeating paths, especially in the Lake District", stated Allen.

Grizzly said, we did some of this in December 2010, with Uncle Eric." Then picking up the iPad, and after a few taps, went on, "here is the account we wrote."

We scanned down the text and pictures, then Allen said, "that day we started from Elterwater. So, quite a lot of the walk planned Sunday will be different from that."

"I say let's just do it!", exclaimed Little Eric.

"I agree", replied Shaun firmly.

I'll go and see what Dad thinks", said Allen, draining his mug.

It was not too long before he returned, and the smile told us Dad had agreed to the idea. "Dad says he will probably go to Grasmere afterwards and see Kim, so wants us to ask Southey if he would like to come along again too."

"I'll go and find him", responded Tetley.

Just a minute or so later he returned, a smiling Southey for company.

"Thanks pals", Southey enthused, "I would love to go on the walk", as he accepted a mug of tea and piece of cake too. "Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisaged how lucky I was to be, being adopted by Dad."


The Walk

We got ourselves up quite early and packed a picnic, then settled in the car, as we heard Dad slam the boot shut. The journey was ever so familiar taking us to Windermere and then at Ambleside taking the Coniston road, that brought us after a few miles to Skelwith Bridge, where Dad parked by the roadside at the start of the road that leads to Langdale.

The day was very calm with variable cloud and a little sun at times, and not too cold.

As Dad was getting ready, Southey asked, "which way do we go?"

"We walk along the Coniston road, crossing the river, to take the second signed path on the right", replied Shaun.

Soon ready, Dad shouldered the rucksack that we had settled ourselves into, and strode off, the time being about 09:30.

From the road, the track led on towards some houses. "Our route is through Bridge House Coppice", said Shaun.

Coming to the gate, Tetley laughed, saying, "there is no doubting which way we are supposed to go"

Beyond the good path climbed through the trees, levelling after a while and coming into open land.

"What are those mountains?", asked Southey.

"The Langdale Pikes", replied Little Eric. "The rounded summit to the left is Pike o'Stickle, then to the right of the depression is Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark. Loft Crag lies in front of Pike o'Stickle, but from this angle it is not clearly defined."

"Hey pal", enthused Allen, and patting Little Eric on the shoulder. "You really are getting the hang of the naming the fells."

"Thanks", replied Little Eric, "But I still have a way to go to be as good as the rest of you."

The track meandered on, coming to a junction where we went left to climb to Park House.

As we walked through the yard, Grizzly called out, "look, Southey, there is the apprentice stone set into the wall. The alphabet is carved in five different scripts, and local knowledge says it was a teaching aid for Stone Masons."

Beyond we crossed the drive and as directed by the waymarks the route led us through gap stiles to Park Farm, crossing the access track and through a metal kissing gate, into the large pasture beyond. Here some fowls were scratching about.

Looking up, Southey called out again, "what is that mountain over there?"

Quick as a flash, Little Eric replied, "Wetherlam, at the northern end of the Coniston range."

Tetley then said, "to give the scene more detail, to the right the dark coloured summit is Great Intake on Low Fell (1713ft) and then the pointed summit behind and left is Birk Fell Man on Birk Fell (1722ft). We climbed the latter in July 2008, on the way to summit Wetherlam (2502ft). The path drops away after Birk Fell Man to Birk Fell Hawse, then rises steeply up Wetherlam Edge to the large cairn on the summit."

Allen then said, "I remember that when we got to Wetherlam, we met a nice lady who kindly took our picture with Dad."

"Yes, and when we climbed the Langdale Pikes in October 2009, we met her again on Harrison Stickle. Seeing us as she reached the summit, she said to Dad, 'I have met you before, on Wetherlam, where I took your picture'", went on Tetley.

"Oh happy days!", cried Shaun.

Well, the reminiscing over, Dad strode off again, the path leading to a stile into a copse high above the river, which then zig-zagged down via steps. This shot was taken from the bottom looking back, where we had descended.

Climbing the stile, part of which can be seen at the right of the picture, the path brought us to a stone step stile on to the road.

"Where now?" asked Southey.

"We go right, then shortly climb the steps to a stile into Tongue Intake Plantation", advised Shaun.

A sign can be seen just beyond, and we remembered that when we had been here before it was very interesting and informative about this woodland. So, we all took time to read it again to refresh our memories, and we make no apologies for including again this paragraph taken from our 2010 story.

It informed us that the moist climate and acid soils of the Lake District combine to encourage beautiful moss-rich oakwoods. A habitat that is rare in Europe and of international importance. The humid conditions also produce abundant ferns, liverworts and lichens. Sessile oak is the dominant tree, often with an understorey of birch, holly, rowan and hazel. Where the soils are richer, ash, wych elm and bird cherry are also to be found. In the past, trees played a vital role in local industries. The wood was regularly coppiced to produce charcoal for iron smelting and gunpowder manufacture, as well as bark for the leather tanning industry. Wildlife prefers woods of a variety of species, made up of trees of different ages, lots of dead wood and with a few sunny glades. The best way to care for these 'Atlantic oakwoods', is to leave them alone, apart from removing non-native trees and controlling the number of sheep and deer that might prevent the natural process of regrowth.

None of us needed to be told where we were going next, as a clear sign pointed right to the impressive Colwith Force, which drops in stages about 40 feet in total.

"Beautiful", breathed Southey. "I have never seen anything like it before. How lucky I am that you let me come along on some of the walks."

"You're welcome pal", replied Tetley. "It is great to have your company."

There was no path onward above the falls, Shaun saying, " we have to retrace the path a little way then go off right up hill."

The clear path ran near to river for a while, but then swung away left leaving it, climbing through the woodland and coming to a junction.

"We go ahead through the gate and on along by the wall right", instructed Shaun.

Shortly then it was through a gate in the wall and across the next field to High Park, here going through the buildings to the narrow road.

"What a lovely view of Lingmoor and Little Langdale", enthused Grizzly.

"OK, I get the hint", replied Dad, as he hauled the camera out of its bag.

Looking at the map, Shaun the advised, "we go left along the road that runs by the south-western side of Tongue Intake Plantation."

Finally this brought us again to the main Ambleside to Coniston road. A busy road, dangerous for pedestrians, so the kissing gate on the right giving access to a fenced path behind the wall was very welcome. This once again comes out onto the road at High Oxen Fell Cross.

"It is across the road, and along the track going in front of the cottage", said Shaun.

Climbing steadily we soon reached a junction where Shaun said, "we keep right along the old quarry track."

This was a pleasing track through the woodland the trees bare of their leaves......

that, at a sharp corner came to the gate ahead leading to Tarn Hows.

"Are we taking the option to walk round the tarn?", asked Little Eric.

"No, not today", replied Dad.

"Quite right too", added Grizzly, "there will be far too many people, as after all we prefer the solitude."

So, we just kept on the wide stony track, that then climbed for a little way, giving yet another fine prospect of the Langdale Pikes, in a dark silhouette against the the cloudy sky.

Little Eric piped up, "from this angle you can now clearly see the pointed top of Loft Crag to the right of the rounded hump of Pike o'Stickle."

As we strolled on, Shaun once again provided guidance, saying, "we keep on this track, ignoring the track left we have taken before through Iron Keld Plantation, to descend finally to the hamlet of Knipe Fold."

Here there were some lovely properties, including this 17th century former farmhouse, called Borwick Fold.

"What now?", asked Tetley.

"We continue on the road, until we come to Sunny Brow Farm", replied Shaun.

At the drive to the farm, a signpost directed us right, past this small but pretty pool, and then through a gate into open pasture.

Seeing a convenient rock beside the path, Allen demanded, "as we have not had our picture taken yet, that will make a good place to sit."

Well you did not think that you were going to get away with us not making an appearance!

At the next gate the path became enclosed running by a wall on the right and the east side of Iron Keld Plantation to the left. This then led on into Pullscar Plantation, the delightful path descending through the woodland, with the Pull Beck dancing along in its ravine. This eventually brought us to the road.

"That was a truly delightful section of the walk", mused Allen. "We are certainly blessed to have this wonderful countryside on our doorstep"

"It is on ahead and then left at the next junction to pass through the tiny community of Bull Close", instructed Shaun.

Reaching a junction in Bull Close, Shaun then said, "we turn right and now follow the road all the way to Skelwith Bridge."

The bridge was crossed once again and then it was just a few yards to the car.

"That was lovely", said Southey. "Thanks again for letting me come along. I know the rest of you have been on these paths before, but it was all new to me, and I really enjoyed every minute."

"Refreshment time Dad"?, said Grizzly.

"Sure is, and I am off to the Wordsworth at Grasmere, as you would expect, and see Kim too."

As soon as we arrived we knew Kim was working, as her car, named Buttercup, was parked there.

Very clean and shining, as apposed to Dad's dirty car not washed since before he went to Armathwaite Hall in early October, we could not for shame park next to Buttercup.

Kim was pleased to see Dad and there was time for just a little chat, discussing the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode, as like Dad she is a fan too. Southey got fussed but she said also, "where's Fletcher!" He of course is our pal Dad adopted from Armathwaite Hall, where Kim used to work.

Dad then went and had a lovely and filling ciabatta roll with Brie, tomato and avocado, washed down with a pot of tea. He got into conversation with the waitress, and on to the subject of walking. She has started walking the fells and is getting into the Wainwrights. A friend of hers has just over 100 of the 214 to do. With the exception of Little Eric, we all remember those days, a long time ago now. Dad told her about him taking us and she asked for the website address. After a another pleasant time here, it was time to head home, after just a further brief chat again with Kim, who thanked Dad for calling in.

And so a happy and contented group, we went home to tell our pals about the adventure.


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