Date - 3rd December 2019 Distance - 5.5 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL7
Start point - Parking near Barley Bridge, Staveley (SD 4696 9880)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



It was Monday, and tea and cakes had arrived.

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

Soon we all had steaming mugs in paw and cake on our plates.

"The chocolate coated flapjack is delicious", enthused Tetley.

"Glad you like it pal", replied Little Eric.

"As is the mincemeat slice", added Allen.

"So I can see", laughed Grizzly. "That's your third piece. Living up to your cake stuffer reputation."

For once Dad was not at Elaine's rather he had gone to see "The Girls", for Christmas lunch at Formby Hall Golf Club. The ladies are the people Uncle Brian worked with at Wayfarers.

"It will seem strange with Uncle Brian not being there this time", said Shaun.

"It is hard for Dad, and like him I miss him so so much", sniffed Allen.

"So do we all", added Southey.

"What a super walk we had yesterday", said Little Eric. "So interesting, and quite magical visiting Sunkenkirk Stone Circle"

"Yes", agreed Tetley, "and we will be walking with Uncle Eric tomorrow. As to where we will have to wait until Dad has spoken to him tonight."

Well readers here is the account of that adventure.


The Walk

We met Uncle Eric in the village of Staveley, that is between Kendal and Windermere. The parking being by the River Kent just beyond Barley Bridge on the road to Kentmere.

"Hi Uncle Eric", we called out, "So good to see you".

"And you too lads", he replied.

Eager to be off, we got settled in the rucksack.

We walked the short distance to go left and cross Barley Bridge, where the River Kent rushes over the weir.

"It's like a mirror just upstream", commented Little Eric.

Turned right then almost immediately left as directed along the lane at Kingfisher Barn.

At the end of the houses then followed the footpath sign along a grassy path to a gate.

"Oh heck", said Southey, "that is steep, like the climb to Knott Hill on Sunday"

So up steeply across the pastures, by the wall on the left.

Sheep were grazing, and much to Allen's chagrin this one posed for Dad.

"Darn, there goes my sheep picture free story, yet again", huffed Allen.

"Promise I will try to avoid any sheep pictures in the next story", said Dad.

Through a gate the climb was even steeper so there was a pause to catch breath and take in the view.

"That's Sour Hows and Sallows shining in the sun", pointed Tetley. "I remember after reaching the Birkett summit of Capple Howe, we then walked to that line of trees passing to the left over a stile and so on to summit Sour Howes. The last time we climbed them was in February 2013."

"You have such an amazing memory, Tetley", said Little Eric. "I am in awe. It is also hard to believe it was nearly seven years ago."

Allen then said, "to the left is Hugill Fell, one of the Wainwright Outliers. We did that with Reston Scar in August 2018. The final descent or initial ascent is past that house with the grey roof."

The next boundary was crossed via a combination of a ladderstile and wooden step stile. By now we were level with Craggy Plantation, through which we were to walk. Climbed on a little way crossing right to the boundary wall of the plantation, to enter via this stone step stile.

This was recently put up for sale by the National Park Authority. Fearing what might happen to this local amenity a fund raising effort was instigated by local residents. Thankfully this was sufficient to allow them to purchase the plantation, and it is now looked after by Cumbria Wildlife Trust, for the benefit of all.

Followed the leaf strewn path that is rocky in places and undulating.

After a while we passed a seat. "Great place for our picture", suggested Grizzly.

The plantation is on a steep rocky area, and in places there were steps to get through the undulating ground.

After a wall gap the path soon doglegged left, coming close to the rear boundary and viewpoint.

"Ah, the Kentmere Fells", sighed Grizzly. "That's Yoke to the left with cloud brushing the top. We've had some good days on those over the years."

Pointing to the left, Southey asked, "does that rocky outcrop have a name?"

"Consulting the map, Shaun replied, "it's called Spy Crag."

Walking on we fairly soon reached the far boundary where the path went right and descended in a series of zigzags to a gate onto the road.

Uncle Eric said, "we go left."

The road climbed and bent left then right. "We need to look for a path off right", said Uncle Eric.

"There", said Grizzly, pointing to the signpost.

The concrete track ran by the wall to the right in which there was a gate. Looking at the map, Shaun said, "we need to go through that gate."

The walled track ran along the edge of the wood. A gate in the wall to the right gave access to Mike's Wood into which we took a short excursion. This was created in appreciation of a former Secretary of the Friends of the Lake District, Mike Houston. It was assisted by Ann Beddard, who gave some land she owned, so enabling the creation of a 4.81 ha native wood. During 1993/4 oak, alder, ash, birch, rowan, scots pine, hawthorn and juniper were planted. The wood is maturing nicely.

Not knowing where the footpath led, we returned to the track and strolled on to come to a gate, where we entered Spring Hag Wood. Reaching a junction, Uncle Eric said, "we go left."

Our progress was stopped by Allen calling out, "that's an interesting standing stone. Whatever does the writing mean."

We had no idea. Dad said, "the writing looks like runes." Eager to try and solve the mystery, we later had our paws tapping away on the laptop, but to no avail. Perhaps someone reading our story will be able to help.

Following the narrow road downhill brought us to another junction, where we turned right. Tetley said, "we have been on this road before but coming in the opposite direction and then we kept on up to Side House. Our ultimate destination was Potter Tarn and the fells around."

"My deja vu feeling was right then", replied Dad.

Reaching the road between Bowston and Staveley, Uncle Eric said, "turn left."

Then very soon it was right into Beckmickle Ing that is owned by the Woodland Trust.

Uncle Eric is a member of the Woodland Trust. Dad although not a member has supported a number of appeals to buy and care for areas of woodland. A very worthwhile organisation to support, particularly in these times of concern about climate change.

The delightful path crossed this hurrying stream... shortly beyond a gate come to a track and go immediately right over the newly rebuilt bridge at Hagg Foot. The original had been one of the many victims of Storm Desmond that struck the region on 5th December 2015.

"A fine job has been made of the replacement", commented Southey. "It should stand the test of time for future storms. Let's hope there are none as fierce as Desmond, though."

Looking at the map, Shaun said, "we are on the Dales Way now. The direction is towards that barn."

The path was narrow at first hugging the bank of the River Kent...

...then entering pasture via a gate, and at the far side to progress we climbed this ladderstile with railings.

"The provision of railings would seem to be with older walkers in mind", commented Little Eric.

"Like us", laughed Uncle Eric.

The route was never in doubt across more pastures and always close to the river.

Looking right, Tetley called out, "that's Craggy Plantation on the skyline."

"So it is", agreed Dad, hauling the camera out. "I had wanted to get and overall picture for your story."

So finally exited onto the road and then right into...

"That tower looks interesting", commented Grizzly.

The lord of the manor of Staveley, Sir William Thweng, had agreed to build a chapel in honour of St Margaret in 1338. The church was founded in 1388, of which only the tower now remains.

It was time for refreshments for Uncle Eric and Dad, so they went to Wilfs, which is and institution here. A bacon butty with tea for Dad and hot chocolate for Uncle Eric. His treat too, for which Dad thanked him.

Then we strolled back to the car.

"What a super walk Uncle Eric. Thanks so much", said Southey.

"You are welcome lads."

"Even though We have walked extensively around here, most of it was on new ground today", commented Dad.

So goodbyes were said. There are days down for next week. We are keeping our paws crossed that the weather will be kind.


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