Date - 28th December 2019 Distance - 8.25 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL7 Start point - Moor Howe (NY 4235 0059)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



Christmas was over for another year.

"I am glad that Dad went with Uncle Keith to Roger and Pam's on Christmas Day. It would have been awful for him to be on his own, this first Christmas since Uncle Brian's death", said Southey.

"It was pretty hard for him on Boxing Day. Watching Carols from Kings without him.", went on Allen sadly. "He shed a few tears, which was understandable."

"Not the only one", sniffed Tetley. "We miss him so much, but none more than Dad."

"He was a truly lovely kind and gentle man", said Shaun, as he trotted in with Grizzly and Little Eric.

"Ooh tea", cheered Southey, going with Tetley to get the mugs and plates.

He then helped Shaun fill the mugs and pass them round.

"What's the cakes today?", asked Tetley.

"Well as its Christmas, Grizzly and I have done mince pies", replied Little Eric.

We all helped ourselves, but before we could take a bite, Allen called out, "let's drink to our Uncle Brian. Remembering the happy times we shared with him and all the wonderful memories that will live on forever."

Then all raising our mugs we said together, "Uncle Brian. May you rest in peace with the angels."

"Thank you Lads", said Dad. "That is so kind of you. I miss him every single day, but we were both fortunate to have each other's companionship and love for such a long time. Such a blessing."

"Here", said Shaun, "have some tea and a mince pie".

"Thank you." Then taking a bite, "mmm the mince pies are delicious. Well done Grizzly and Little Eric." Then he went on. "I come about going for a walk on Saturday. "Uncle Leo gave me a copy of the Lake District magazine and there is a walk to High Borrans and Kentmere."

"I saw that too", said Allen. "We have done quite a bit of it before."

"That's true Lad, but the first part to High Borrans is new, as well as the last section from Grassgarth."

"Fine by me, said Shaun, "it will be great to get out in the fresh air."

"Me too", added Little Eric.

"Roll on tomorrow", cheered Grizzly.



The Walk

Dad had decided he wanted to start the walk around 09:30 so we made sure to be up and ready early and by 09:00 we were on the road to the start. The day was overcast but dry with only a light wind.

"How do we get to the start?", asked Southey.

"Up the M6 to junction 36, then along the A591 as if we are going to Windermere, but at Ings we take a narrow road right. This is Moorhowe Road. It actually goes to Troutbeck and we have used it many times over the years to get to Kirkstone and Ullswater. Today we park at the junction with Dubbs Lane."

We were the only car on arrival, but this is a popular start point for walks hence Dad's early start from home. As he got ready we looked about. "What's that stone over by the wall?", pointed Tetley.

We were all pretty stumped, Grizzly making the only suggestion, "the letters C C could stand for County Council?"

"But this was Westmorland in 1882", replied Shaun.

A search on the Internet provided no information, so it remains a mystery.

"I'm ready", called out Dad.

Quickly we got settled, telling Dad about the stone. He was unable to add any further insight either.

So from the parking area at Moor Howe, where another car had just arrived...

...Dad strode out along Moorhowe Lane, back in the direction we had come from Ings.

"OK", said Shaun, "we keep along here then take Borrans Lane off left."

This was clearly signed at the junction to our first objective and Dad strode along the walled lane.

A tarn came into view on the left that we thought initially was Borrans Reservoir, but looking at the map Allen said, "can't be it is too small."

Shortly Southey pointed, "that old barn is a bit unusual don't you think, being so tall compared to its floor area."

Soon now this large house came into view on the right.

A sign at the entrance told us this was High Borrans Outdoor Education Centre run by North Tyneside Council. It was originally built in the 1880s by a wealthy Liverpool shipping family the Durning-Holts, as a sporting lodge for summers in the Lake District.  The house was passed down the family line, being extended and developed over the years. The Holt family left during the Depression and the house stood empty until it was bought by the Somervell family in 1935. Sir Arnold was another wealthy businessman, and owner of the famous K Shoes in Kendal. During the Second World War, the family allowed High Borrans to be used to billet evacuee children from the North East, which is where the link with North Tyneside comes from. During the post war years, Lady Dorothy Somervell maintained links with the North East and in 1967 sold part of the estate to Tynemouth Borough Council to enable children to continue to benefit from a countryside experience. (we acknowledge High Borrans's website for this information)

Pointing to the left, Grizzly said, "there's the reservoir, through that kissing gate."

"The sign says private", cautioned Allen.

"I know", replied Dad, "but we are only going along the path to the dam wall. We should be all right if I'm quick."

This shot shows the dam and outfall...

...and here the reservoir. This shot also illustrates how dull it was today. Heavy overcast skies and low cloud that obscured the fells.

The road led on bending right in a circle of the outdoor centre to the pass a few other houses and the farm, including this called the Old Laundry, where the tarmac ends.

We wondered about the name, Little Eric voicing our thoughts. "Once the laundry for the big house in the days of private ownership?"

"My thoughts too", agreed Tetley. "Probably extended and extensively remodelled over time as a house."

Now a track the route led past the caravan park towards a large house, the final end of the road. Shaun called out, "we take that signed gate on the left."

Crossing the very muddy pasture, Grizzly commented, "no risk of getting lost here." This is because there are waymarked posts every 20 yards! Beyond a gate we continued across the field to reach two adjacent gates.

The waymarks clearly indicated the through the right gate and then along a walled/fenced track, to the next gate and this three-armed signpost.

Shaun said, "it's left here towards Kentmere Hall."

Through the gate the track climbed gently between walls to another gate into open pasture. There was a cross track and a path going on ahead too. "Which way?", asked Southey.

"Right on the track keeping by the wall", instructed Shaun.

This soon brought us to yet another gate. Through this, Shaun was quick to call out and point, "now left through that gate signed to Kentmere."

"I like the way the top hinge has been secured into the overhanging stone", commented Little Eric.

"We've been along here before", commented Tetley. "But coming in the opposite direction."

Dad strode the clear track, where before the next gate it was flooded. "Hmm", commented Allen. "Along the left by the wall?"

Looking carefully Dad said, "actually that looks rather tricky with deep mud and pools. I think a wide circle round to the right is better."

This proved to be the case and soon we were striding on with Mickle Moss away to our right. "Definitely not a place to stray into", said Grizzly.

"I'm getting warm. I need to take my jumper off", said Dad, stopping by a pile of stones.

This necessitated us having to decamp from the rucksack. "Let's have our picture taken here for the story", suggested Allen.

"Good idea", agreed Southey. "We have to appear at least once in each story.

Now on and on through gates with sections of the track walled then open on all sides across moorland, finally snaking down to Park Beck running across in front of the wall seen in the distance below. Here we should have been able to enjoy fine views of the Kentmere Fells, but they were being shy today, lost in the low cloud.

Park Beck now had to be crossed via the stepping stones. Dad eyed them saying, "I am not going to risk that first one with the forty-five degree angle in these damp conditions."

So instead he stood on a stone barely submerged in the beck then in a flash we were on the other side. "Like a mountain goat", commented Southey looking back.

"The path beyond that facing gate leads to Whiteside End and then down to Kentmere", said Tetley. "We have been along there too coming in the opposite direction."

"Aye lad", you are quite correct.

"Well that is not our route today", said Shaun. "We take the clear track right alongside Park Beck."

Soon we were faced with more stepping stones to recross Park Beck. Done in a flash again by our sure footed Dad.

Onwards the next obstacle was the ford on Black Beck and more stepping stones. "They say things come in threes", laughed Allen.

Now on a steady descent towards Kentmere, the dark forbidding Acretarn Plantation loomed to the right.

"We have been along here before too", commented Grizzly. "I remember that ruined building."

Finally we passed through the few cottages at Croft Head to follow the surfaced lane ahead.

Shaun issued his next instructions, "soon after the lane bends left and before we get to Ullthwaite Bridge, we go right through a gate set back from the lane."

A stony track led on beside the River Kent, then bending away right towards the buildings of Browfoot.

Walking through and up a very short steep slope took us on to Browfoot Lane. "We go right", said Shaun.

"Ah", said Little Eric, "we have driven along here to its end at a cross track, where there is just enough space to park to the right."

"You are spot on, pal", replied Tetley. "That was back in 2013, when we climbed Sour Hows and Sallows."

"Oh yes", agreed Little Eric. "It was so I could tick off those two Wainwrights and also the Birkett summit Capple Howe. My it does not seem nearly 7 years ago!"

It is much easier to drive along, as all the way there is a steady gradient, but with best foot forward it was not long before we reached the end.

"We go right signed to Kentmere Hall", called out Shaun.

According to the instructions there are views to the Coniston Fells and others. Sadly as with the Kentmere Fells they were being shy and lost in the cloud.

Coming to the next junction Shaun said, "turn left."

After a short section of climb the good track gradually then dropped down to the cottages at Grassgarth.

"Now it is right on that rough track", advised Shaun. "Then almost immediately it is left at the waymark and down the grassy slope to cross the track and so cross a small bridge."

After the bridge we passed right of a stable block and on to a gate.

"Oh heck", said Little Eric. "Those horses are blocking the gate."

As we approached they made no effort to move, but seemed totally unconcerned by our presence. "I can get the gate open a little bit, enough to squeeze through and then go round to the right", said Dad.

Having done this Dad paused to photograph the horses who had not moved a hoof at all.

Beyond the route was well waymarked. Across the large pasture where there were more horses that again paid us no heed and just went to join their friends by the gate. One that was young ran down, whereas this one just plodded slowly.

The route took us first over a stile and then on through a gate and across another gated bridge over the beck. Intrigued to know if it had a name, Allen used the OS maps app, to trace it. He told us, "it actually starts upstream as the outfall from Borrans Reservoir and runs through Ings and on to Staveley, where it is the River Gowan. Whether at the point we crossed it is the River Gowan I am not sure."

Beyond, having rounded a few trees, the path split. "We take the left fork uphill to that gate", pointed Shaun.

Then following the wall on the right soon a stile was reached on to Moorhowe Road.

As Dad turned right, Shaun said, "we have about a mile walk back to the car."

Dad paused to look at the map so he get landmarks to judge our progress, when a car stopped, occupied by a lady and gentleman.

He said, seeing me kitted out, "you seem to know what you are doing. Is this the road to get to a start to climb Helvellyn."

After a few seconds thought Dad replied, "yes." Then explained further, "follow the road to its end then go right through Troutbeck and on up over Kirkstone Pass and down to pass Brothers Water."

"Ah yes, my friend told me to look out for that."

"Right. So then keep on to either Patterdale of Glenridding."

He asked, "have you been up Helvellyn."

"A few times", Dad replied. "The route from this side is over Striding Edge, which is a narrow and dangerous path with steep drops either side."

"Thanks for the information", he said, before driving off.

It was 1pm, and therefore only about 3 hours of daylight. Certainly not enough time for Dad to get up, never mind down in daylight. As we walked on Dad said, "maybe I should have cautioned them about making an attempt."

"Well they seemed to be intelligent", replied Tetley. "Let's hope in the end they decide not to attempt it today."

As we strolled along we passed this gate. "It must be old seeing all the lichen on the wood, and look how moss covered the wall is too", remarked Southey.

So finally the car came into sight. There were a few more parked than this morning.

"That was absolutely super", said Southey. "Thank you from us all."

"You are the very best Dad in the world", added Little Eric.

"Going for refreshments?", queried Tetley.

"Yes lad. I am going to Cafe Ambio at Ings."

So while we sat in the car to have our sandwiches, cake and tea, Dad had a chicken burger with copious amounts of tea.

At home Dad said, "phew that has quite tired me out"

This was obvious by the fact he slept 6 hours solid that night!

A grand day that was enjoyed by us all.


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