Date - 1st December 2019 Distance - 5.5 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL6 Start point - Parking on old road (SD 1802 8646)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Knott Hill 922 281 SD 1745 8729



"Brr", said Allen. "It's turned really cold", as he looked out at the frost covered lawn.

"Makes a welcome change from all the rain and nice to see the sunshine", replied Tetley, looking up from the magazine he was reading.

Hearing he padding of feet, Allen said, "tea and cakes are on the way."

"Great", cheered Southey, "I'll get the plates and mugs."

Tetley then helped Shaun fill the mugs with steaming tea and pass them round. "Thanks pal", said Shaun.

Little Eric announced, "it's a scone day. I have done fruit, while Grizzly has made cherry and ginger."

So we all dug in. "They are both scrumptious", said Tetley.

"Mmm", agreed Allen & Southey, who helped themselves to another.

"So I see", laughed Grizzly, "that's your third each. Still it's good to see they are appreciated."

"We never take for granted the time you and Little Eric spend making the cakes", replied Tetley.

So all content, our thoughts as always turned to walking. Little Eric had the iPad in paw and said, "Sunday looks to be a super day with clear skies, if cold. Perhaps Dad will take us out."

Looking over his shoulder, Shaun commented, "Dad has a busy time. A concert on Saturday night, lunch out on Monday and walking with Uncle Eric on Tuesday. We will have to ask very nicely indeed."

"A job for Allen as usual", replied Southey.

"It's always me", complained Allen.

"Well you never fail to get Dad to agree", replied Grizzly.

"Hold on", said Tetley. "We need to come up with idea first. Let's look at the index of walks in the binders."

Shaun booted the laptop and we all crowded round. Scanning down, Little Eric said, "there are two walks that go to the Swinside Stone circle."

"Ah yes", said Tetley. "There was only Shaun and I in the group then. We did the longer of the two."

"Dad has marked that the other is effectively done, although a slightly different route and start point", replied Little Eric. "As most of us have not been there, perhaps we could suggest to Dad doing the shorter one. That way he can truly say it has been done in its entirety."

Draining his mug, Allen said, "I'll do my best to try and convince Dad."

"We'll have a fresh mug of tea ready for you", said Southey.

"Thanks pal."

So we all kept our paws crossed. Allen was soon back with a smile on his face. "Dad says yes, provided he is not too late back from the concert, and gets a good night's sleep."

"Yippee", cheered Little Eric. "We do have the best Dad in the world.



The Walk

We awoke to another beautiful day. Cloudless skies, cold with little wind.

"Ooh it should be a super day", said Southey. "What time are we setting off."

"Around 9:45", replied Allen.

We made sure to be ready and as Dad loaded the last of his gear, dashed out and settled in the car.

The drive was familiar having taken most of the route many times. Along the A590 to Greenodd, turning right and up over the tops at Gawthwaite and down to bypass Broughton in Furness.

"Wow the views are spectacular", commented Grizzly, seeing the Coniston Fells to the right and ahead Black Combe etc.

Arriving at the traffic lights at Duddon Bridge, Tetley said, "we have been along the road right up the Duddon Valley lots of times."

"Yes", agreed Dad, "but today we continue over the bridge, then it is not much further to the start."

"We are looking for a turning right signed to Broadgate", said Shaun.

Immediately off the main road at the junction Dad parked on the old road. "This will do", he said.

As Dad got ready we hunkered down in the rucksack.

"OK", said Shaun, "we walk the narrow lane right."

Dad strode out, the lane taking us through the hamlet of Broadgate.

"Just before Cragg Hall, it's left on the track that leads to Swinside Farm", instructed Shaun.

Reading the signpost, Southey called out excitedly, "it points to the stone circle."

In yards, Grizzly pointed, "that's a fine tree house."

The track climbed steadily, but being surfaced was easy walking. As the view opened out ahead, Tetley called out, "those fells poking up are Kinmont Buck Barrow and Buck Barrow above the Corney Fell road. I remember the last time we climbed them with Uncle Eric in 2014 the mist was down making finding the summits more difficult."

"No such problem today", replied Allen. "What is white house to the right called?"

"Windy Slack", replied Shaun. "It's access is off the road we walked along initially that ends at the Corney Fell road."

The fields are dotted with sheep, but Allen had his paws crossed that none would be in camera range and there would be a sheep picture free story.

However his hopes were dashed as Dad spotted this one posing in a field to the left.

"Darn", said Allen.

"Hard luck pal", said Southey consolingly.

At the cattle grid on to open fell, the view ahead was dominated by Raven Crag below which nestles Swinside Farm. "Look" pointed Grizzly. "There's the stone circle."

Following the track on towards the farm it was through a gate on the right to the circle. Somewhat surprisingly we were not alone. A gentleman, who told us he was from Staveley was also taking pictures. A birdwatcher, he had walked here, before going on Hodbarrow to see a specific bird.

Now on our own we stood, to take in and feel the magic of this special place dating from the Neolithic/Bronze Age.

As can be seen the circle is complete and according to an information board at the gate one of only a few in such a state. On the map it is named Sunkenkirk Stone Circle, but is also known as Swinside Stone Circle, as it is overlooked by Swinside Fell to the west. The site itself consists of a 28 metre diameter ring of about 55 close set stones of porphyritic slates of which about 30 are still standing. Originally there were 60 stones. The gap seen on the far side forms the entrance. This entrance is further marked by two outer portal stones, and it is thought that formed a sight line to the midwinter sunrise. The name Sunkenkirk comes from a legend that the Devil pulled down the stones each night as the circle was being built.

This below is a close up of the stones on the left, in the above picture -

Pointing, Allen, said, let's sit on that fallen stone for our picture."

Tetley mused, "I wonder what went on here all those thousands of years ago?"

None of us had an answer, but we knew that it must surely have been very important to the people who lived in those times.

As we set off again Southey said, "it has been just wonderful to come here. Thank you Dad."

Returned along the track where Knott Hill dominated the view.

Grizzly was looking at the map. "Knott Hill is shown as access land. The published walk does not include a climb to its summit, probably because it was off limits at the time. So... we were wondering if you would take us to the summit?"

"Yes ok lads, it will be a start to my perhaps getting on the fells again, next year."

First however there was the small matter of crossing Knott Moor. "There are no real paths, only perhaps barely visible tractor tracks", said Shaun. "But we must head to the right of the hill."

Cows with young and a bull were sitting on the start of the route, as is usually the case, so Dad had to keep left through the long grass and then drift right to cross this tiny bridge.

Plodding on, Dad said, "I'm glad it has been frosty and that the ground is frozen, otherwise it would have been difficult crossing this obviously very boggy moor."

"Thank heaven for small mercies", commented Tetley.

Beyond a gate the track was clearly seen and across firm ground. After the next gate we were in access land.

"There's a narrow trod leading up the hill", pointed Little Eric.

The ascent was steep, and coming closer to the wall in front the path led right.

"Hmm", said Dad. "We have to get over this wall. I don't suppose that the farmer has put a stile in it, since being opened as access land."

He was right and we began to doubt making it to the summit. "Ah", called out Allen and pointing, "the wall has partially collapsed there."

"This is perhaps where other walkers have crossed", replied Dad.

Carefully Dad got over then after a short steep section followed by a short gentle climb, the trig point at the summit came into view.

"Come on pals", called out Shaun, "picture time." Despite it being breezy up here we sat on top.

All round there were superb views. Here without the lads is the skyline to the east of the Dunnerdale Fells. On the right is Stickle Pike and Great Stickle.

Descending the same way, Grizzly commented, "we want to rename the the summit, 'Well'."

"Why?", asked Dad.

"Because it's 'not ill', replied Grizzly.

Now followed the grassy track left through a gateless gap, where we were presented with three potential routes.

"Hmm", said Allen. "Which way?"

Dad tried the middle one that petered out almost immediately. "I think we should take the left", said Shaun.

This meandered on keeping high, Tetley saying, "we need to be lower down."

Shortly after a wall corner, it too seemed to peter out, but then Dad said, "it goes right and descends."

Soon it became stony and much clearer again. "I'm sure we are on the route", said Shaun.

Dad stopped. "What's wrong, are you not happy about the path?", asked Little Eric.

"No lad, I just want to take a picture, across to Whitehall Knott and White Combe. Last time we were up there was with Uncle Bob."

"That was in 2009", said Tetley.

"Good grief, 10 years ago. Can't believe how time has flown by", replied Dad

Passing through a gap in a wall corner, the track led on passing the few remains of Knottend.

"Through that gate", pointed Shaun.

So walked the reinforced farm track between walls that once had been the access to Knottend.

Down to the right the remains of Baystone Bank Reservoir, shone brightly. Research told us that it was constructed between 1876 and 1877, being retired from use in 1996. The dam was subsequently demolished in 2011, so effectively it is now a small tarn.

"Where the farm track bends left, we keep ahead by the wall", instructed Shaun.

This was clearly waymarked, as was the onwards route over the pastures.

"That's a fine view of Knott Hill", commented Allen. "Much softer than the dark view we had from Swinside."

In fact Knott Hill was the ever present dominant feature for the rest of the walk.

In the final pasture we joined a track and going left soon came to the main A595. "It's right here", said Shaun. "Then we must cross by the church."

This is a fast road so Dad had to be careful crossing. The speed of the vehicles caused Southey to comment, "I noticed that sign as we were driving to the start indicating there have been 1245 accidents on this road in recent years. Little wonder seeing that some cars are clearly exceeding the speed limit."

"We take the road down the side of the church", advised Shaun.

"Ok lad. I'm going to see if I can get a shot of the church first."

St Anne's church was built in 1853-1854, and designed by the Lancaster architect E.G. Paley, at a cost of £1,678 (equivalent to £150,000 as of 2018). It was consecrated on 16 June 1854 by the Bishop of Chester. It replaced a chapel of ease on the other side of the road, which was built in 1721 and consecrated in 1725. Constructed in stone with sandstone ashlar and roofed with large slates. The plan consists of a four-bay nave with a clerestory, a south aisle, a chancel and a north vestry. (source Wikipedia)

Grizzly who likes to look round churches said, "can we go inside Dad?"

"Sure lad, but I suspect it may be locked."

It was, a sad sign of the times.

Strolled along the road past Thwaites School where a sign indicated it was established in 1714, and on through the village to cross the bridge, over Black Beck.

Immediately left a sign pointed along a narrow footpath.

"That's our route", said Shaun.

After a while the narrow path came to a gate into pasture. "We keep by the wall on the right", advised Shaun. This brought us to a gate onto narrow path on the edge of Fox's Wood.

The exit was via a stile into pastures and then on and on keeping by the wall on the left. After a gate the walled track soon brought us to the A595 once again.

"It's across the road and through that gap opposite", was Shaun's last instruction of the day.

Here joining the old road, we immediately passed the house and other buildings of Thwaite Mill. Once upon a time this site had been a sawmill and corn mill.

"Just as the sign at Hallthwaites had indicated", commented Tetley.

Then along the road to shortly reach the car.

"What a super walk on a super day", said Southey. "Thank you so much Dad."

"Full of interest too", added Grizzly.

"You're welcome lads.

"You are truly the best Dad in the world", called out Little Eric.

"Are you going to stop for refreshments?", asked Tetley.

"Well I could go to the cafe at Yew Tree Barn, but with it getting dark so early now, have decided to just go straight home.


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