LANCASTER CANAL, CROOKLANDS, ENDMOOR & STAINTON

 


Summary

Date - 6th December 2016 Distance - 8.25 miles
Ascent -
770ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Stainton canal head (SD 52058 85440)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Southey looked up from his magazine, to see Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric trotting in with the flasks and cake tin.

Ooh great", cheered Southey, "my tummy was rumbling a bit, so cake will be very welcome."

Meanwhile Tetley had got the mugs and plates, passing the latter round and saying to Shaun, "I'll lend a paw filling the mugs."

"Thanks pal".

"What are the cakes today?", asked Southey.

"Just one selection", replied Little Eric, "but Grizzly and I think you will approve. We have made Yorkshire Curd Tart."

"Suits me", cheered Tetley.

"And me too", added Southey.

So soon we were all content with tart on our plates and steaming mugs in paw.

"The tart is absolutely delicious", said Tetley. "You have got making it down to a T."

"Thanks", replied Grizzly. Then as he was about to take another bite, he exclaimed, "where's Allen! He is a real cake face and tea belly. Not like him to miss out."

"He'll be here, have no doubt", laughed Little Eric. "He can smell tea a mile off, just like Dad."

And sure enough just minutes later Allen came dashing into the room, calling out, "I have news of a walk with Uncle Eric."

He was a bit out of breath, so Shaun said, "we can be patient, so first just take a minute to get your breath back, and also have your tea and tart."

"OK pal", taking a drink from the steaming mug that Tetley can handed to him. Then taking a bite of the tart he said, "it is absolutely scrumptious. Thanks Grizzly and Little Eric. What would we do without you?"

"As I have said before, you're welcome", replied Grizzly. "Little Eric and I love baking."

So having cleared his plate, Allen returned to the subject of walking. "There is a day down to walk with Uncle Eric, next Tuesday. They day is going to be dry if rather grey, so Uncle Eric has come up with an idea. We will have done some parts before, but some will be new. The plan is to start where the canal ends near Stainton."

Shaun interrupted, "I'll get the map, so we can trace the route."

This done Allen pointed, "here's the start. We then walk the canal to Crooklands, then make a circle to Endmoor. Climb from there over the hill, and then back to the start. Uncle Eric has also suggested an extension, via Skettlegill Hill and then via Stainton."

"Looks good", agreed Tetley. "As you say we have done quite a lot of this before, which these days is inevitable, but it will be a nice day out."

"It will round off our 2016 walks nicely", remarked Shaun.

"It will be new ground for me all the way, so roll on Tuesday", cheered Southey.

 

The Walk

We were up quite early. Tetley said, "Uncle Eric and Dad are not taking a picnic and plan to go to Cafe Ambio at the Auction Mart."

"But we will need food", said Allen.

"Quite" agreed Little Eric. "Don't worry Grizzly and I will get the sandwiches made and packed up."

Grizzly added, "As there will not be a stop on the walk, we can leave it in the car, so saving you having to carry it Allen."

So on a dry calm but very grey day, we met Uncle Eric at the car park by the canal at the current limit of the navigable section. The route to the start took us along narrow lanes passing Raines Hall.

"Look"called out Shaun. "Alpacas."

"There's a pull-in", went on Little Eric. "Can you get a picture Dad."

We arrived first, and Dad got his boots on. Soon Uncle Eric arrived and we called out a cheery. "good morning."

"Hi my friends. Good to see you", he replied.

They were soon ready, and with us securely snugged in the rucksack, we crossed to the opposite side of the canal to walk the towpath, in a southerly direction.

At the end of this initial straight section we passed over Stainton Aqueduct. "An embankment has been built across the canal", commented Grizzly.

"There's a notice here". said Tetley. "That might explain why."

This told us that on the night of Storm Desmond in December 2015 a seven foot high wall of flood water on Stainton Beck, which the aqueduct crosses, undermined the foundations resulting in a large crack in the arch. The embankment on the canal is to reduce the water level in the canal and so the strain on the aqueduct. The cost of repair will be in the order of £1.5m

"Desmond was an extremely destructive storm", commented Allen. "The forces of nature should never be under estimated."

So we continued on the towpath on this quiet and probably little used section of the canal. The day was calm so the surface was unruffled providing some nice reflections at times.

Further on Southey said, "look swans. The cygnet has almost shed it's ugly duckling grey feathers."

After a while the canal came parallel with a narrow road that passes Lane Farm, the home of the Westmorland Agricultural Society and the showground where the annual snow is held every September.

Just before we passed Lane Cottage, Grizzly calling out, "look, there are all sorts of examples of dry stone walling. I wonder what that is all about?

"Perhaps a competition at some time?", speculated Tetley. "It is a wonderful skill, the products of which have stood for hundreds of years across the landscape."

A number of bridges were passed under and at one Uncle Eric pointed out, "that metal post was to stop the ropes chaffing on the stone when the barges were pulled by horses."

Then we came upon this group of male and female mallards a dabbling.

A seat stands beside the towpath close to Crooklands, Allen saying, "will you take our picture, Dad, for the story?"

"Sure lads, Get yourselves settled."

As we left the canal to cross the bridge and walk to the main A65 road, Little Eric commented, "with what we have seen it has been an interesting walk so far."

At the A65, we crossed carefully, then went right past the Crooklands Hotel, to almost immediately go right into Bobbin Mill Lane, passing the wall post box dating from the reign of King George V.

"You can't resist taking pictures of these", commented Shaun.

"Well it's better than sheep pictures", laughed Allen. "So far today my luck is holding too."

The lane took us through the buildings and past a motor garage. "Long ago these would have been the bobbin mill", said Tetley.

We tried to find some information on the Internet, but drew a blank.

At the end we climbed the stile to open fields and then on via stiles and gates, with the Peasey Beck for company to our right. "If I remember correctly, this feeds water to the Lancaster Canal", said Grizzly.

"Yes lad, you are quite right", agreed Uncle Eric.

Along here there is a raised section that may possibly have been part of the embankment where a narrow gauge horse drawn railway once ran for the gunpowder works at Gatebeck.

Passing the weir and climbing the next stile by a gate, we continued on a raised track by the wall.

We had passed a gentleman running the opposite way, and he now passed us again. Then a little later he came past once again, this time giving his dogs a run!

The track ended at a gate to a narrow road, where we walked left up the hedged lane to Endmoor and along Enyeat Road to the A65, passing according to the walk Calverts Antiques. Now long closed, the building is now a private house. Uncle Eric said, "before Calvert Antiques it was the Co-op."

In front of this on the green stands this millennium clock...

...this plaque attesting to those involved in bringing the project to fruition.

"Our route is immediately across the road through that kissing gate, as indicated by the ivy clad signpost", informed Shaun.

What faced us was the first of two steep climbs today on an otherwise pretty level walk. This was over Wood Bank, climbing to the brow, where today sadly the fine view of the Lakeland Fells was totally obscured by the cloud. Then descending to the access track at Stubb Farm, with its caravan park and this warning sign for motorists

"We take the path opposite, again signed Field End, instructed Shaun.

This climbed the slope to a gate by a large tree, then went left to a stile by a gate and then right along a muddy cart track. This was followed as it bent left to a waymarked gate, and then straight across the large pasture to a ladderstile onto a Commonmire Lane.

"We go right", said Shaun.

The road led us past Low Commonmire, Shaun instructing, "we should take the next lane left."

This snaked along between hedges...

... to eventually come beside the canal. Climbing the bank, a path led right. This brought us to the Stainton Aqueduct, where we used the dam to cross to the towpath and return to the start, so ending the published walk.

"So", said Uncle Eric. "Do you want to do the extension?"

We put our paws together, and our prayers were answered, when Dad replied, "yes."

This started by walking along the lane we had driven down this morning to pass Sellet Lodge, and then shortly take a signed path left to a kissing gate. Beyond at the hedge corner the path went diagonally right to a big stile in the wide hedge, where Dad snapped Uncle Eric's picture.

"We go left to that ladderstile", said Shaun, "and beyond right by the wall, drifting slightly left to a stile in the hedge ahead,"

After this the route was clear via a ladderstile to the right, and over this Shaun then said, "we go diagonally to that stone step stile in right corner."

The path now kept by the wall on the right crossing a further stile and on to pass round Crosscrake School to a gate onto a road.

"Where now?", asked Southey.

Shaun glanced at the map and said, "left a little way then take the path right through that gate."

A ladderstile could be seen ahead and right, Allen saying, "that must be the route."

"Correct", agreed Shaun.

"That's Skettlegill Hill with the prominent tree, and our route", said Tetley, looking up from the map

The clear path can be seen, leading to a stile right at a wall corner, and then up over the hill descending the far side to Skettlegill Farm, using the new bridge over St Sunday Beck to gain the road.

As we made the crossing, Little Eric pointed left, saying, "there's the old bridge. The banking has been destroyed, another casualty of Storm Desmond?"

Now it was a few steps left to then take the path right through two gates, and up the slope to a waymarked stile in fence and then over the hill to step gap stile at wall/hedge corner.

"Now we go diagonally right to that stone step stile by the gate after which it is right on the muddy track by Eskrigg Wood", said Shaun.

At end we swung right to a gate and then left by a wall and followed this right to gain the road at Stainton, by climbing a gate. In actual fact we should instead have gone a little left to pass between houses to the road.

Strolled on into Stainton, Uncle Eric saying, "there is something you will all want to see", pointing ahead to the charming narrow arched bridge over the beck.

It has been a listed structure since 1952. Probably dating from the 17th century it is approximately 3 feet wide between the parapets.

It was then just a matter of following the road to the cars.

"Lovely walk", said Southey. "Thank you for suggesting it and working out the extension too Uncle Eric."

"You're welcome."

Allen gleefully cheered, "and I have got a sheep picture free story."

So now drove to Cafe Ambio at Junction 36.

I'm ready for some food", said Allen rubbing his tummy.

We had our lovely picnic in the car, while Dad and Uncle Eric went for tea. Dad also having a piece of delicious fruit flapjack.

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