Date - 10th July 2015 Distance - 8 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL7 Start point - Empsom Road, Kendal (SD 512 937)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
The Helm 600 185 SD 5307 8873



Taking a satisfying drink from his mug and a bite of cake, Allen then said, "you have excelled yourself Grizzly, this orange and peach slice is absolutely scrumptious."

"Quite", agreed Southey, helping himself to another piece.

"It a new recipe, so I am pleased that you like it."

Tetley said, "thanks too, Little Eric, as I love the chocolate brownie."

"Me too", added Shaun.

"There is potentially a day down to walk with Uncle Eric on Friday, but is seems now that Dad has an osteopath appointment", said Allen, looking up from the iPad.

"Well that is in Kendal, where Uncle Eric lives, so maybe we can still get a walk in but just starting later", replied Grizzly.

Draining his mug, Allen said, "I will go and ask, and report back."

"OK pal", said Shaun, "we will see that your mug is recharged."

"Thanks", Allen called out as he ran out of the door.

Tetley said, "I seem to remember that Uncle Eric talked about a walk round the back of the Helm, so that might be a possibility.

"That would be another summit for me", went on Southey enthusiastically."

A few minutes later Allen returned. "Dad is going to ring Uncle Eric tonight, suggesting walking after his appointment, so it looks hopeful."

And indeed it turned out so, and the walk Tetley had mentioned was the one we did.


The Walk

Dad's appointment was 10:00, so we made sure to be ready in good time for his setting off to Kendal soon after 09:00. The treatment done, it was just a short drive to Uncle Eric's, finally starting the walk at 10:45.

"To start the walk proper, we need to get to Oxenholme Station, by bus", said Uncle Eric.

"That will be a novelty", remarked Tetley. "I bet Dad cannot remember the last time he went on a bus."

"They probably still had conductors", laughed Grizzly.

" It's not quite that long ago", responded Dad, with a shake of his head.

To add some interest getting into town, Uncle Eric took us along the back lanes that none of us had walked before. This was via Airethwaite and Caroline Street on to Windermere Road, and along Stricklandgate to the bus stop outside the Westmorland Centre. Here we waited patiently for the 41A bus to Oxenholme Station.

Alighting after the journey, Uncle Eric said, "we take the tunnel under the railway tracks." Beyond it was left uphill to the Station Inn.

Shaun was looking at the map and said, "I am sure we go right along this narrow road."

"Correct", replied Uncle Eric, "then soon we will branch off left on a path through bracken rising up The Helm."

After a few minutes climb we paused to take in the view north. "That is Benson Knott its twin summits marking the top of Hayfell", said Tetley.

"So that is what the road where we live is named after", said Southey.

"Yes pal", agreed Grizzly.

"We climbed that in December 2008 with you Uncle Eric."

"My is it that long ago."

Soon now we reached a kissing gate in the wall, Dad snapping Uncle Eric as he passed through.

A sign on the gate informed us that 7 wild ponies and 7 cattle have been allowed to graze on The Helm. A grassy path was followed soon coming to a tiny tarn, where the horses were bathing.

"Well!". exclaimed Dad. "I have climbed The Helm quite a few times but I never knew that this tarn existed."

Finished with their bathing the ponies cantered off passing the cattle grazing placidly.

Our way was on the path to the right side of the tarn, which climbed to a gate in the wall, to turn left up to the trig point at the summit. Here we wasted no time in settling on top for our picture. . "Yippee", cried Southey, "another summit I have bagged."

Behind us is the village of Natland, seen here below.

Ready for the off again, we made the descent, that is initially steep. Then shortly Uncle Eric said, "we go left on this narrow path."

It continued the descent through the vegetation, taking us once again through the wall via a gate and so on to the road.

"It's right now to the A65 at Barrows Green", instructed Uncle Eric. On the way we passed a house with these pretty flowers on the verge.

At the main road we crossed with care, walking right. Near a house Uncle Eric stopped and pointed out this interesting boundary stone between Heversham and Kendal Parishes that was placed here nearly 200 years ago. The plaque indicates it was made at the foundry of T Winder at Gatebeck.

"Just think how many thousands upon thousands of motorists pass here blissfully unaware of this", remarked Little Eric. "Walking is the proper way to see the countryside."

Soon it was over the stile left and across the field keeping near the house, to another stile. After this we kept by the wall on the right to a stile in it, beyond a hedge. Now crossed the large field to a gate at its far corner and then left under the railway. There were cattle with calves here, but they ignored us.

"It's left parallel with the railway", said Shaun.

Through the gate the path went right by the hedge and through a gap into the next field almost to its end, where crossing left we climbed a stile by a bungalow.

"We have been here before", said Tetley, "on another walk that took in the summit of The Helm."

Then on to a stile by the fence on the right into a field and by the wall on the left to a stile on the far side.

Here climbing over Dad's boot slipped off the through stone and he rather slithered down.

Uncle Eric was most concerned but it was only his bum that made contact, and as Uncle Brian said later, "there is plenty of padding there!"

We were OK, and tried not to laugh too much.

Turned right, then immediately left along the access to Craicult, taking the right fork towards the farm. "Last time we took the left fork, if I remember correctly", said Allen.

"You are correct", replied Tetley.

Before the farm it was right along an overgrown path with a stile at each end. At the far end this brought us to the farmyard where it was left through a gate, and then right to a gate and on to another gate into the field.

"That is a nice shapely tree", remarked Little Eric. "It will make a nice picture for the story."

Through a gap then round the perimeter of the field to the towpath of the dry section of the Lancaster Canal at Crowpark Bridge, following its route via stiles and under the defunct bridges. For the most part there is no sign of the canal at all being completely filled in.

Passing into Kendal, Uncle Eric suddenly left the path walking just a few yards to show us a old milestone, which again we bet many people are unaware of. The inscription '26 L', indicating a distance of 26 miles to Lancaster.

Now on a tarmac path we passed Kirkbie Kendal School and came to Change Bridge.

This was so designed that the horses while still attached to the barges could cross over, as the towpath moved to the opposite bank. This bridge is the only one of its type in Cumbria. It was built in 1819, and restored jointly by the Kendal Civic Society and South Lakeland District Council with the aid of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was opened in 2002 in celebration of the Queen's Jubilee.

So if approaching from the Lancaster direction, up this slope......

and across the bridge, to descend to the towpath on the opposite side.

Further on we passed under Parr Street Bridge, which can be seen had been at sometime extended to accommodate the widening of the road.

Finally at Canal Head, we turned left passing Gilkes Engineering works. Shortly Uncle Eric stopped and sat on a wall.

"Are we stopping for a rest?", queried Southey.

"No", replied Uncle Eric. "It is just another interesting feature of bygone times. This wall is in fact a bridge parapet, as once the River Kent had two streams that enclosed Gooseholme as an island."

"It is certainly a school day for us, today", remarked Allen.

Now going via Blackhall Road and some more back lanes to Stricklandgate, it was to the Wakefield Arms for Dad and Uncle Eric to have lunch. Uncle Eric had lasagne with garlic bread, while Dad had a chicken curry and then apple and cherry crumble with custard. Very nice meals and they both felt duly refreshed. We meanwhile had the picnic we had packed before setting of this morning.

So now just a matter of reversing the outward route to Uncle Eric's house.

"Thanks for a lovely walk and taking us on lots of new paths", said Tetley.

"You're welcome lads", replied Uncle Eric.


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