Date - 22nd October 2016 Distance - 10.75 miles
Ascent -
not recorded
Map - OL2 Start point - Cowan Bridge (SD 6231 7650)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Gragareth 2058 627 SD 6879 7930



Southey and Allen were engrossed reading their Cumbria magazines. "There are some good articles", commented Allen.

"Yes pal", replied Southey looking up. "Thanks so much for taking the subscription out for me."

"You're welcome pal, and after all you were adopted from there."

Just then Shaun with Little Eric riding his back and Grizzly arrived with the tea and cakes.

"Great", cheered Allen, going to get the mugs and plates.

"I'll lend a paw with pouring the tea", said Southey.

"Thanks pal."

What's for cake?", asked Allen.

"We have done Yorkshire Curd Tart", replied Grizzly.

"Lovely", replied Allen, "it is really scrumptious."

"Mmm", agreed Southey having sunk his teeth into a piece.

Little Eric was about to take a piece, when he paused saying, "where's Tetley?"

"I think he was chatting with Dad", said Shaun.

"Perhaps discussing a date for a walk", mused Allen.

"Well, we will find out now, as here he comes", said Little Eric.

"Here's your tea, pal".

"Thanks Shaun. Ooh Yorkshire Curd Tart. Wonderful."

After he had eaten the piece, he then went on, "Dad has told me that he intends to take us walking on Saturday. So, we need to come up with a plan."

"With Dad not going to the Lakes at present, I wonder if we might progress my challenge to climb all the summits in the Limestone book?", asked Southey.

"Why not", agreed Allen, "and we will not be far away from Elaine's Tearoom, for refreshments for Dad afterwards."

Meanwhile Shaun had got the book, and was scanning down the index. "How about Gragareth?"

"There's the road that goes to Leck Fell Farm, where we can park just before the farm", said Grizzly. "But, the problem then is to make it into a decent circular walk."

"Quite", agreed Shaun. "So, what we need to do is Wainwright's walk from the book. He starts from Leck, but as he points out there is nowhere to park. But we can still do the round, but start from Cowan Bridge."

"Yes the car park is just off the main road before the bridge of the long closed railway line", interjected Tetley. "We have used it before."

Draining his mug, Allen was about to pick up the book and as usual go off to see if Dad agreed with our idea, when Tetley said, "you always go pal. So, let me, then you can have another mug of tea and piece of pie."

Well, being a real tea belly and cake stuffer, Allen did not need a second asking. "OK pal, thanks. We'll see that your mug is refilled for you."

"Thanks", called out Tetley as he trotted out of the room. He was soon back with a wide smile on his face. "It's on. Dad said that his back has been better recently, so he is prepared to try a hill, and there is a good walk in before the real ascent starts."

"Great" cheered Southey. raising his mug in salute to Dad.


The Walk

The plan was to start walking around 10:00, so we made sure that we had the picnic made and stowed in Allen's rucksack, in good time. We heard Dad slam the car boot shut for the final time, as we ran out to the car and settled on the front seat. Having checked the weather, Allen said, "we are in for a dry day with sunny periods and lightish winds."

As Dad pulled out of the drive, Little Eric asked, "which way are we going?"

"Up the Lune Valley to Kirkby Lonsdale, then south along the A65."

We just sat back and enjoyed the lovely drive up the wide valley. As we approached Cowan Bridge, Tetley said, "Southey, see this house on the right, with the plaque on the wall. Well this was the once the Clergy Daughters' School where, for a little while, the Brontë sisters went to school."

After the walk Dad had intended to go and take a picture, but in the event we all forgot.

Turning left, the car park was immediately on the left. There is no official charge, but a donation is asked for in support of the village hall, so Dad put this in the box.

Soon ready, and with us safely tucked in his rucksack, Dad strode off under the old railway bridge.

The road led on and on passing a few houses. "That tree is displaying some of its autumn tints", commented Grizzly.

After a sharp corner, Shaun said, "that is Bank House Farm, and to avoid a bit of road walking we can use a footpath on the right."

"There's the sign", called out Little Eric.

Climbing the stone step stile, this was the route to follow....

and then after a further gate, parallel with the wall.

"Nice sweep of trees", mused Southey.

Next Dad had to climb the stone step stile, by which was this indicator post.

"What do the initials mean?", asked Southey.

"General Post Office", replied Tetley. "It is here to mark that a telephone cable is buried in the ground. The initials relate to a time when the telephones, letters, parcels etc., were all under one umbrella and owned by the Government. Much has changed. The phones, mail and parcels all being privatized as BT (British Telecom), Royal Mail and Parcel Force."

At the end of the next field, we took the ladderstile in the wall on the left, to be faced with a huge tree trunk. Dad took a moment to assess the route, Allen calling out, "there's a sign pointing left."

In a few yards we descended the reinforced bank to rejoin the road, turning right to continue the steady climb.

"Look at those sheep, sitting in a group", said Southey. "Worth a picture don't you think Allen?"

"Hmph", he grunted. "There goes a sheep picture free story", as he saw Dad getting the camera out.

As we strolled on the views opened out. "That's Casterton Fell over to the right", called out Grizzly.

"That with Brownthwaite Pike is part of the challenge. Thanks to Dad I was able to bag them in May", said Southey.

Then after a while, as Dad strode steadily on, he complained, "will we ever get to the end of this road?"

Pointing Grizzly said, "that's Gragareth ahead."

"I can see some cairns", replied Southey excitedly. "Are they the Three Men."

"No pal. They are further along the ridge and not in view from here", Grizzly answered.

At the car park in Cowan Bridge, people had been meeting, and the cars then passed us on the road. We now saw the people coming toward us, all kitted out for caving.

"Rather them than us", remarked Shaun.

"Quite", agreed Dad.

Soon now the tarmac ended becoming a surfaced track to Leck Fell Farm.

"The route is through that gate", pointed Shaun. "Then along the track to the brow."

"Are you sure, as there is a sign on the gate saying it is private land?", said Southey.

"It's only to stop motorcyclists", replied Shaun.

"Last time with Uncle Bob, we climbed fell immediately from here", said Tetley.

"That's right pal", agreed Shaun. "We took in all the other cairns that have sprung up. But if we just want to head straight to the famous Three Men of Gragareth, then Wainwright indicates we should follow the track."

"I think we should follow the instructions and for the sake of Dad's back too", suggested Southey.

"Thank you lad", said Dad. "That is very thoughtful."

Dad strode out and on reaching the brow, Shaun the said, "this is where we need to do right and head up the fell."

The climb was trackless and rocky in places, then after a little while Allen called out, "look, there's the Three Men of Gragareth on he skyline. Not far now"

Soon there Dad took a picture of them, but Tetley said, "someone has built a bit of a fourth cairn between two of them. It spoils the whole effect"

"I agree lad."

So Dad demolished it and here are the famous Three Men of Gragareth.

"Will you take our picture", implored Southey.

"Of course lad. Get yourselves settled on the middle cairn."

"I realise this is not the summit", said Southey. "So which way now", as we got settled in Dad's rucksack.

"With Dad's back to the cairns we just head straight on up the fell", replied Shaun.

There were paths and the terrain was quite easy and twenty minutes later we were at the lonely summit trig point

Surrounded by a muddy pool and with it being rather windy, Shaun wisely said, "I do not think we should try and sit on top."

"I agree", said Allen, taking a closer look at the pool.

"Aww", complained Southey, "I would like my photo on top, and perhaps this stone could be used to hold me in place."

"I do not really agree", said Dad, "but you have been warned so don't blame me if you fall off and get wet and dirty.

He should have heeded Dad's warning as that is what happened, but to give him credit Southey did not complain. He dried out as the day went on, and after a bit of a bath, was clean as a whistle once again.

The views were sadly a bit hazy today as can be seen in this brooding shot of Ingleborough.

A clear path brought us to the wall, where Dad stopped to phone Uncle Brian, to make sure all was well, which it was.

Strolled on by the wall to cross this via a ladderstile that had seen better days, by far.

Strolled on to then climb another in the facing wall and continue ahead.

After a while Shaun said, "I'm sorry Dad, but I omitted to say that we should have gone through the gate on the right, as we need to be in the pasture that is Ireby Fell, on the other side of the wall to our right."

"Not to worry lad, I'm sure I will find a spot to get over." A veteran at doing this, it was soon accomplished and then we crossed to the right to gain the tractor track and follow this past Ireby Fell Cavern, where steps wind down to gain access.

"Those fells to the left look familiar", said Tetley. "They are Low Plain and Tow Scar that we climbed from Kingsdale. It was December 2013."

"You're right", agreed Allen. "Did not seem as long ago as that though."

The path led on and on and on down to the boundary wall at the bottom, the path finally drifting left to a waymarked gate.

If Dad and Shaun had just taken a second to think they would have realised that the footpath to Ireby was to the right, but perhaps also it was the cows crowding by the gate that put Dad off.

So we went through the waymarked gate to the left, initially down a short walled path to open pasture. Then rounding the left side of the hill came to a gate on the right and then along a track to gate on to a road and so into the village.

Looking at the map, Shaun said , "it does not tally with this being Ireby."

"It's not", said Little Eric, pointing to the sign reading Ireby 3/4m!

"Yes lad, you're right", said Dad. "We are in fact at Masongill. We should have gone right through the gate where the cows were. Never mind, it will add some extra distance to the walk, and despite this I will get to Elaine's before she closes."

Tetley said, "we have done the route to Ireby, but in the opposite direction. That was on a walk from Burton in Lonsdale in October 2014."

"However do you remember all these facts", said Southey with wonder in his voice.

"I don't know pal, but they just seem to stick in my mind."

Along the path this took us through the farm to a gate on the right. Here the waymark pointed to the bottom of the field.

"It is misleading", said Shaun. "We should be going diagonally right to that gate."

Through this there was then no doubt of the route.

After the stiles the next field was crossed to join a grassy track to stile by a locked gate and then along the walled track to Ireby.

Now all that remained was to walk the road from here to Leck.

Hardly from the village, Allen commented, "Wainwright says there is no parking in Ireby, but look there is a small area by the swings."

Dad replied, "well to be fair to Wainwright this was probably not here when he wrote the book in 1970, but it is worth remembering if we ever want to walk from here again."

The road led us past Todgill Farm, where nearby these sheep posed for Dad, much to Allen's chagrin.

The road meandered on and nearing Leck, Grizzly said, "there are some nice autumn colours on the trees."

"Mmm", agreed Little Eric. "Take some picture Dad, for our story, please."

Shortly the road took past Leck Church that is dedicated to St Peter. There has been a church here since 1610. The present church was built in 1878-79 at a cost of £3,000 providing seats for 224 people. It was damaged by fire in 1913, and was rebuilt by 1915 at a cost of £5,000, to the original design. Built in sandstone rubble with a slate roof consisting of nave, north aisle, chancel and timber porch. The tower is in two stages and is surmounted by a plain parapet and octagonal slated spire. Much of the stained glass survived the fire and was reinstated by Powells using the original drawings. There is a ring of five bells, all being cast in 1914.

At the junction Dad turned left to the car.

By now it was 15:30. "Elaine's time", said Tetley.

"Yes lad", responded Dad getting changed quickly.

Arriving there it was still busy and had been so most of the day. Dad had a nice scone with butter and jam and a warming pot of tea, while having a chat with Elaine. Fairly soon he was the only customer and as is quite normal Rachael and Sue were sweeping and mopping around him!

On the way home Southey said, "that was a good day and thank you for climbing Gragareth again for me."

"You are welcome lad", replied Dad. "Have to say though that my back is rather sore. I am seeing my osteopath Dennis next Friday, so until then I'm afraid there will be no more walks."

"That's alright Dad", replied Allen, on behalf of us all."

Addendum 9th March 2017

After our walk in the Lune Valley, it came as no surprise that Dad took us to Elaine's for a snack. This involved driving through Cowan Bridge, Dad saying, "I can rectify my omission, when we walked from there to Gragareth, and take a picture of the former Clergy Daughter's School."

"Thanks Dad" replied Allen brightly, "it will properly round off that story."

On the side is this plaque.

Conditions at the school were harsh, as this extract from Wikipedia infers -

The Cowan Bridge school imposed a uniform on the children known as the Charity children, which humiliated the Brontës, who were among the youngest of the boarders. They suffered taunting from the older children, Charlotte especially, who owing to her short sightedness had to hold her nose to the paper to be able to read or write. They slept two in a bed with their heads propped up, rising before dawn, making their morning ablutions in a basin of cold water (shared with six other pupils) which had often frozen during the night for lack of any heating. They descended for an hour and a half of prayers before breakfasting on porridge, frequently burnt. This is similar to Jane Eyre, where they get both burnt porridge and frozen water. They began their lessons at half past nine, ending at noon, followed by recreation in the garden until dinner, a meal taken very early. Lessons began again without pause until 5 p.m. When there was a short break for half a slice of bread and a small bowl of coffee and 30 minutes recreation, followed by another long period of study. The day ended with a glass of water, an oatcake, and evening prayers before bed. Punishments included privation of food and recreation, corporal punishment, and humiliations such as being made to sit on a stool for hours on end without moving, wearing a dunce's cap.
The hardest days were Sundays. In all weather, without adequate protective clothing, the pupils had to walk more than three miles (five km) over the fields to Tunstall church to attend the Sunday service. As the distance did not permit a return to the school, they were given a cold snack at the back of the church before evensong, then finally walked back to school. On arriving, cold and famished after the long walk, they were given a single slice of bread spread with rancid butter. Their Sunday devotions ended with long recitations from the catechism, learning long biblical texts by heart, and hearing a sermon of which the main theme was often eternal damnation. The Revd. Carus Wilson, unlike Patrick Brontë, was a Calvinist Evangelist who believed in predestination, and consequently in the damnation of the majority of souls. His preachings and writings, in the form of small manuals for the use of the pupils, were full of rhetorical force and other effects designed to make an impression on their young readers' minds


shopify analytics