Date - 15th April 2014 Distance - 9 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL19
Start point - Loftus Hill, Sedbergh (SD 6577 9198)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



It was Sunday, and a quiet relaxing day. Tea was in paw, and we had some of the lovely cakes that Grizzly and Little Eric had made, on our plates.

"The apple and cinnamon scones are delicious, Grizzly", said Southey his eyes closed in ecstasy.

"So is the chocolate coconut and cherry slice, Little Eric", added Shaun, helping himself to another slice.

"Is there a walk in prospect, this coming week?", wondered Southey.

Allen grabbed the iPad, and quickly navigated to the calendar. "There is a date down for Tuesday with Uncle Eric." Then a few taps later, "the weather looks good too, sunny most of the day."

"As to where we might walk, we will have to see what results, after Dad has spoken with Uncle Eric", said Tetley.

"More tea, Allen?", asked Shaun.

"Silly question", laughed Grizzly, "We all know he is a real tea belly, just like Dad."

As to the walk, we had to wait until the next evening. Dad came to seek us out. "Uncle Eric will be leading a walk for Christian Aid, shortly and wants to reconnoitre the route first, so I have agreed we will do this with him tomorrow."

"Where are we going then?", asked Southey.

"We will start in Sedbergh, then walk up past the site of the castle, and continue east before dropping down to walk by the River Rawthey, past Sedbergh to Birks, and visit the tiny hamlet of Brigflatts, and so back to Sedbergh."

"Sounds lovely", replied Allen.

"We will have walked some before, but the section to Brigflatts will be totally new.", said Dad.

"Well it will all be new to me", cried Southey with glee!


The Walk

It had been agreed to meet Uncle Eric at Loftus Hill car park in Sedbergh . The drive had been up the beautiful Lune Valley, with cloudless skies that were to persist all day, providing for superb views of the fells.

"A joy to be out", enthused Little Eric, "and have Uncle Eric for company too."

Our timing was perfect, as we arrived at the same time as Uncle Eric, just following him into the car park.

As we got out of the car, we called out, "good morning Uncle Eric, it is nice to see you."

"And you too, Lads", he replied.

Dad ready and us safely tucked in the rucksack, we left the car park right and then almost immediately right again to then go left through a narrow passage past old houses, to the main street.

"That was a lovely, diversion", remarked Shaun.

"I thought you might like it", replied Uncle Eric.

Turning right it was along the main street to its end at the junction. Here we took a track left, unsigned, other than for 'Howgills B & B', which climbed out into the country. The blackthorn was covered in blossom, and this made a pleasing shot looking back down the track.

"Castlehaw lies off to the right, which is shown as a Motte and Bailey castle, like the others we have visited in the Lune Valley", said Allen, who had been looking at the map over Shaun's shoulder.

Just a little further, Tetley called out, "there it is, and there is a gate in the wall giving access to it."

"Let's go", agreed Uncle Eric, "it will be something to include in the walk."

Here is the motte. Dating from the late 11th century, it stands about 30 feet high and is surrounded by a ditch about 15 feet wide.

Dad eagerly made his way to the top. Looking round, Tetley said, "I can see why they built the castle here, as it has total command over the Lune Valley, Garsdale and the Rawthey Valley."

Looking towards the Lune Valley, the bailey was immediately below, and Sedbergh beyond.

"Come on", called out Grizzly, "let's play kings of the castle, and have our picture taken.

Then before we had time to blink, Dad had swung the camera up and captured this of Winder (1552ft), on the southern side of the Howgill Fells, that dominates over Sedbergh.

All done we descended to the track and turning right walked on. Passing a football field, Dad commented on the low goalposts.

"It must be for the Sedbears!", replied Uncle Eric.

This made us all laugh out loud.

Coming to the Howgills, we passed to the right and in front of a holiday let barn, and on to a gate to open pasture. Crossed this keeping by the fence to the right, to climb a stile, and then onwards to signpost marking a junction of paths, by a barn. "We are going to Ghyll Farm", said Uncle Eric.

After the far side of the field it was over the ladderstile into the corner of the next field and then almost immediately another, to continue ahead now with the wall to the left, and before long we were descending gently to Ghyll Farm.

"Look at the lambs", cried Little Eric. "Aww they are so cute."

As we passed through the yard, the farmer was working in a barn and Dad and Uncle Eric stopped to chat a minute or so.

The way now led along the farm access to Stone Hall Farm. Passing to the right, we kept to the concrete access road, and on to reach the main road at a junction with a minor road. Along here too the blackthorn was in blossom, and made a nice shot backed by Knott (1407ft).

"This is not exactly where I had planned we would come to", said Uncle Eric. "My original intention had been to cross the fields to come down further along this minor road."

"We are happy to go back and find that route", said Shaun.

Uncle Eric thought about it for a few seconds, then said, "thanks, but I am not bothered about missing that part."

Instead it was left along the minor road, passing the signpost where we would have come out, then onwards to Buckbank Farm. "We have walked down to this farm before, but coming in the opposite direction", said Tetley.

"We go right now, although there is no sign", remarked Uncle Eric.

"Look" called out Dad, "the waymark is attached to the concrete block wall in the yard, and indicates we go along to the left of the wall."

It was then through a gate and shortly another gate, and along the track, to yet another gate to open pasture. Now walked on over the brow, and then downhill to come by the River Rawthey, and climb a stile in the fence. Peering through the trees we could just make out Hebblethwaite Hall Gill joining the River Rawthey. At the end of the next field we arrived at a gap stile onto the A683 at Straight Bridge.

His eye on the map, Shaun said, "it is across the road and through the stile opposite".

At a lower level, there were railed steps on the far side down into the field. The delightful gated way now led over pastures and by the river. Shortly to the right was the buildings of Scrogg House, and opposite we noted that yet another river was joining the Rawthey.

"What is it called?", asked Southey, who was eager to extend his limited knowledge, having not walked here before.

"Tetley replied, "Clough River, which runs through Garsdale. It actually starts in Grisedale as the Grisedale Beck, to the east of Baugh Fell." Then he went on, "we have walked this path before, as I remember the gate and succession of steps that take the path up the short steep bank ahead.

More fields followed, with gates, and crossing two footbridges to reach the road at New Bridge. It is single lane and carries the road to Garsdale.

"Where to now?", piped up Little Eric.

"Across the bridge then continue by the river on the opposite bank", replied Uncle Eric.

As we strolled on, Southey commented, "what a fine view of the hills behind. What are the called? I guess that you have climbed them?

"We have, Little Eric included who with us all has completed the Howgill challenge", replied Allen. "The hills are from the left, Crook (1509ft), Sickers Fell (1634ft) and Knott (1407ft)."

The river curved right, and the houses above on the left were part of the hamlet of Millthrop, where the river is spanned by another nice bridge, called unsurprisingly Millthrop Bridge. It probably dates from the 17th century and is Grade II listed.

Our route now was across the bridge, from where the above shot was taken, and on a path to Birks as indicated by a signpost. This was also part of the Dales Way long distance path.

Initially we crossed a pasture partly carpeted in celandine, to its far right corner. "What a lovely sight", remarked Grizzly.

Beyond we entered more lovely woodland, where again there were carpets of celandine. In a month there will be wild garlic and bluebells - a sight to behold!

There were a number of paths here and none are signed, and if we come again, we will know to keep right at any junctions, to get to the gate to a track by the wood. However had we done this we would have missed walking along this narrow sunken path.

At the end of the wood, it was across the field, with a small tarn called Bruce Lock down to the right. At the bottom we passed through a gate and on to come to Birks, along the edge of one of the playing fields of Sedbergh School, with the impressive Birks House dominating the scene.

Coming to the road, Shaun said, "we go left, round the bend to then take the stile on the right. There are two paths from the stile, and we take the left one."

This was clearly indicated by the two armed signpost, to Brigflatts, now our next destination.

This crossed a succession of pastures, kissing gates allowing progress, where ewes and lambs were grazing. As we approached this one was lying down seemingly asleep, but then sat up, providing Dad with this gift of a picture.

A cattle creep allowed passage under the old railway embankment...

and through the gate seen on the far side, more pastures were crossed with gates allowing progress through walls & fences, to reach Brigflatts, a small group of cottages and Friends Meeting House.

The lovely garden with seats, was a haven of absolute peace and utter tranquillity. We were welcomed into the building, and went into the room where the meetings take place. Not a sound here, or in the garden. As the saying goes, truly, the silence was deafening! A perfect place to de-stress.

Many pretty flowers brightened the garden, including these primroses, that Dad took a picture of for Uncle Brian, as he loves to see these flowers.

Taking our leave of the tranquil surroundings of the Meeting House, Uncle Eric turned left. This soon brought us to Brigflatts Farm, that is now a small community with the buildings converted to houses, and as we passed through a lady at one of the houses called out, "there is no right of way though here."

So we turned back Uncle Eric saying, "this was not the case when I was here last time, but admittedly that was quite a while ago."

We have to say we are not entirely sure there was ever and actual right of way through here, as there was a sign on the large gate that was permanently open, reading - 'Brigflatts Farm - private'.

Well whatever we needed to get to the path by the river once again. Shaun was looking closely at the map and helpfully suggested, "we will need to walk through the village again and on to the A65. Then go left passing the access to Ingmire Hall on the right, to very soon take the path on the left, that is the Dales Way, beside the River Rawthey."

"Thanks lad", replied Uncle Eric.

This was a good path quite high above the river, passing behind Brigflatts where a high stone wall has been built, not too long ago it would seem as the stones were very clean, blocking any access.

There were some ducks in a field. Well it makes a change from pictures of sheep!!

The path led on through more kissing gates and into open pasture, coming to the Jackdaw Viaduct that once carried the railway over the river. "Wow, that's impressive", called out Little Eric.

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

"The path goes up over the embankment", replied Shaun.

We could clearly see a gate and through this the path ran left, to the very short steep climb to the long disused track bed.

Uncle Eric said, "I am a bit concerned about having to guide the walkers along the main A65, and also Gerry, from your GPS reading it is longer than I had expected." He then looked left, and seeing a gate in a fence across the track bed, said, "do you mind if we walk to the bridge we passed under earlier, to see if we can get up on to the track bed, as it would perhaps be an option for shortening the walk."

"No problem", said Dad.

It was not very far, just about half a mile there and back, and we were able to establish that access could be gained.

So, we now descended the far side of the embankment and walked on, fairly soon passing to the right of the sewage works and coming to Birks Mill, where the River Rawthey makes a sweeping bend to the right.

Now on the road, we walked into Birks, passing the stile we had taken earlier for Brigflatts. Then along the same path by Birks House, but now keeping up and left, to follow a good path/track to a road, crossing this into the more grounds of Sedbergh School. There are many buildings that are part of the school, this being one, with Winder behind.

Now it was just a matter of continuing on the path, passing to the right of the church and so reach Loftus Hill and the car park.

"Thanks Uncle Eric", called out Grizzly, on behalf of us all. "That was a super walk, and thanks so much for taking us to Brigflatts. We are sure that the Christian Aid walkers will enjoy it too."

"You are welcome", replied Uncle Eric.

Now we settled in the car to have our picnic - sandwiches, cakes, and tea. Meanwhile Dad and Uncle Eric went to the only cafe in Sedbergh that seemed to be open today. Dad had a bacon and egg bap while Uncle Eric had a bacon and sausage bap, and there was a pot of Yorkshire Tea with plenty of extra hot water.

A grand day out!


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