Date - 23rd February 2020 Distance - 6 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL2 Start point - Clapham car park (SD 7466 6945)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



Tetley looked up from reading his Dalesman magazine to see Allen with his paw round his pal Southey looking mournfully out of the window as the rain poured down.

"Will we ever get some decent settled weather", said Allen.

"Doesn't look likely pal", replied Southey. "I am fed up. The wind seems to be blowing strong all the time making it thoroughly miserable."

"Is there any chance of bit of a break that we might get to walk this coming weekend?", asked Tetley.

Allen grabbed the iPad and found the Met Office app. "Hmm, Saturday is poor and at first on Sunday. If we time it to start about midday we should get a decent few hours."

"That's always if Dad feels like going out, of course", said Southey.

Glancing out of the door, Allen cheered, "here comes Shaun and pals with the tea and cakes."

"I know what you are going to say", laughed Tetley. "I'm gasping for a cuppa."

"Ha ha, spot on", replied Allen.

Having got the plates and mugs, Southey said "what are the cakes today."

Little Eric responded, "Grizzly has made raspberry slice, and I have done chocolate caramel shortbread."

"That's a new one, Grizzly", said Shaun.

"Yes I thought I would try something different."

We all tucked in.

Allen said, "I love the raspberry slice. It's scrumptious", as he helped himself to another piece.

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

So bringing the conversation back to walking, Tetley said, "with only Sunday afternoon seeming to be available due to the weather, and if we are to go, somewhere not too far, and a place for Dad to have tea afterwards."

"Elaine's for that?", suggested Grizzly. "I know he will be going on Monday as usual, but I am sure would be happy to go on Sunday as well."

"So where to walk then?", mused Little Eric.

We sat thinking, then Shaun said, "it will have to be a repeat mostly, as there are few paths we have not walked in that area. How about a start from Clapham?"

"Hmm, that's a good idea", replied Allen, opening the Ordnance Survey app.

We gathered round. "How about walking to Austwick, then round via Pant Lane."

"That means we would return via Thwaite Lane", said Tetley. "So to link we need to go along Wood Lane. Then there are two options. We can follow all the way to the road at Silloth House, or before the end go left and cross Austwick Beck."

"Sounds like a plan", agreed Southey. "But, as I said it all depends on if Dad wants to go out."

"I know", sighed Allen, "You want me to ask?"

"Well you have the knack of persuading Dad", replied Shaun.

So off he went iPad in paw. "You had better fill his mug up", laughed Tetley. "He's a tea belly as well as cake stuffer."

We were a bit anxious, but needn't have worried as the smile on Allen's face told us the walk was on. "I think it was the prospect of Elaine's afterwards that swung it."

"Super", cheered Little Eric, and raising his mug, "here's to the best Dad in the world."



The Walk

The morning was poor weather and Grizzly said, "I wonder if it will clear up as per the forecast."

"Just a case of keeping our paws crossed", replied Southey brightly.

Well the skies did lighten and about 11:00 Dad called out, "I'm getting my gear together, so when you're ready get settled in the car."

"OK", replied Tetley. "Come on pals time to go."

The drive was so very familiar, being the route Dad has taken on the many visits to Elaine's as Feizor.

As we drove up the Lune Valley, Allen said, "just look at all the flooding in the fields, and where the river has overtopped its banks."

"I have never known such a prolonged unsettled period", commented Tetley. "Four or five months now."

"I recall what grandad Bill used to say", said Grizzly. "We get six months of winter and six months of bad weather."

Soon were were crossing the common beyond Bentham, coming to the A65. Crossed diagonally to Clapham village. As we passed the shop a gentleman was walking slowly along. "That's Alan Bennett", said Dad, "The author and playwright. We have seen some of his plays, and Uncle Brian enjoyed reading his many books. He has had a house here in Clapham for many years."

Parked, Dad soon got ready, while we jumped into the rucksack and hunkered down.

"It's through that gate by the signpost, at the far end of the car park", pointed Shaun.

"Half a mile to Austwick", scoffed Tetley. "Someone measured the map wrong. It's about three times that distance."

Beyond the gate it was left along the concrete track past the farm and out into the fields via this kissing gate.

The state of the ground is plain to see, but here the wooden planks by the fence avoided the initial boggy ground. All the way to Austwick the fields were wet and boggy, not that we were surprised after the months of rain.

We got as far as the large trees on the far side, when Allen said, "the sky looks very dark. For sure there is a heavy shower coming over."

"Right", said Dad. "I'll get you inside the rucksack, then shelter behind this wide tree trunk until is has passed over."

It was a hail storm that lasted about 10 minutes, that then gave way to blue skies. We popped our heads out again before Dad strode off by the fence. The storm clouds that has passed over can clearly be seen.

So onwards via more kissing gates and the gated stone step stiles towards Austwick.

Little Eric pointed. "Those trees stark against the blue sky will make a nice picture for the story."

Over one wall we encountered this stream running off the hill. "I bet that is not normally there, but just caused by the excessive amounts of rain", remarked Tetley.

Shortly Grizzly pointed, "there's another nice shot. That ruined barn and tree again against the blue skies."

Away down to the left there was a perfect example of the state of the fields after the rains. "I feel so sorry for the farmers", said Shaun. "It must be almost impossible for them to get about and work on the land. We can only pray that we get a week or two of dry weather, to give the water chance to drain away and the land to dry out."

Ahead we could see a seat. "Will you take our picture there?", asked Little Eric.

Before Dad could reply we noted that a couple with their daughter coming the opposite direction decided to sit and rest and look at the view. "It's ok lad", replied Dad, "we'll just wait until they have walked on."

As it was the wife took her husbands and daughter's picture, so Dad offered to take them all, which was gratefully accepted.

Dad then chatted on, about the weather and ground conditions, and they asked where we were going. It seemed that basically we were doing the same walk but in the opposite direction.

The lady said, I suppose you will be going to Elaine's afterwards."

"Oh yes", replied Dad.

They were familiar with the tearooms and agreed how good the food is and the friendly service. Dad told them how long he and Uncle Brian had been going, and the story of how the donkeys got their names. Briefly this is that when Elaine first got them, she told Dad and Uncle Brian she was trying to think of names. Uncle Brian said, "as long as you don't call them Brian and Gerry". Oh no thought Dad that was the wrong thing to say. And sure enough next week Elaine said, "the donkeys have been called Brian and Gerry."

They were amused by this.

And here they are. Gerry on the left and Brian on the right. They are actually father (Brian) and son.

So saying goodbye, we now went our separate ways, but not before Dad took our picture. This proved to be a little difficult in the wind, and the fact that there was no solid back to the seat. Some of us tumbled off more than once before Dad got the shot. We were non the worse for this apart from getting a bit muddy!

So onwards, and quite soon Dad was climbing the final stile onto the road at Austwick, where the signpost indicated it was 2 miles to Clapham, four times that indicated at the start of the path at Clapham. Tetley checked the GPS and commented, "they are both incorrect, the actual distance is 1.5 miles."

"We go left", called out Shaun.

A lady was passing and Dad chatted to her for a short way until she reached her house. Soon we came to the green and market cross. The structure is Grade II listed. The base, being a conglomerate of three steps of millstone grit, probably dates from the 15th century. The Tuscan pillar of millstone grit and ball finial dates from c1830s.

"If we are taking the planned route, it's right then very soon right again down Pant Lane", said Shaun.

We had been this way before with Uncle Leo and Aunt Pat. At the end of the houses a narrow path goes left and leads to the Little Bridges crossing Austwick Beck. Allen said, "I have my doubts about this today, after all the recent rains. We may not be able to get through."

How right he was too.

Dad walked right up to the bridge. "It's too deep", said Grizzly. "And even of you get over this one the next may be impassable."

"Aye lad, you're right."

So backtracking to the main road we turned right to cross the beck by Austwick Bridge. Here we met a lady and her border collies who were having a wash in the beck close to the bank. Dad talked about how high it was, the lady saying, "under normal conditions I let them further out from the bank."

We crossed the road and took the track Wood Lane that is signed to Feizor. "My mouth is watering at the thought of the delicious food at Elaine's", said Dad.

For the most part this is surfaced so easier walking if plenty of puddles.

Looking ahead, Allen said, "that's Moughton, dominating the view. The summit is on the table like area in the centre. We have climbed that a few times. On our own and with Uncle Bob and Uncle Eric."

After quite a way, a crossroads was reached. "If we are going to take the short route to Thwaite Lane, then it's left to the footbridge over Austwick Beck", called out Shaun.

About halfway we met a lady and Dad enquired about the crossing. She told us, "I have turned back. The bridge is flooded to about mid calf level."

"Thank you", said Dad, "that has saved me walking all the way."

So returned to and kept on Wood Lane to the road between Austwick and Helwith Bridge.

"Left", called out Southey.

Shortly we came to Mill Bridge, here crossing again Austwick Beck, clearly in spate...

...close by which is Silloth House. Behind this, long ago was a sawmill, hence giving the name to the bridge.

Rounding a bend, Shaun called out, "here's Thwaite Lane to the right. This is our route all the way to Clapham."

"I forgot my puffer lads, and for whatever reason my asthma seems worse today. Normally I would make light of the climb facing us, but I'll just have to make more stops."

"Oh dear Dad", said Little Eric, sympathetically. "Just take as long as you want."

After a steady climb the track crosses Crummack Lane.

Then it was on and on and on to its junction with Long Lane. Looking left Tetley said, "that's Robin Proctor's Scar."

"What is the origin of the name?, asked Southey.

So Tetley told him the tale, which we include below.

The story of Robin Proctor is not a particularly happy one. He was a farmer who lived in a Crummackdale farm with his wife and two small sons. He was a good farmer and his business was quite successful. Every night he would take his horse out of the stable and ride down the valley to the local hostelry. These nights of drinking and laughter became longer and longer and sometimes it would be well into the early hours before Robin was ready to make the long ride back up the dale to his house. He would often be so tired and drunk he would climb on his horse and fall asleep.  It was fortunate for him that the horse was old and clever and knew the way back to the farmhouse with Robin Proctor asleep in the saddle. Sometimes he would fall off and wake up with a start as he hit the ground, but often he was still asleep when the horse arrived back at the stable. Being a clever horse it found a way of dropping Robin Proctor into the straw where he would sleep until morning.  One night however the weather was very bad and the wind and the rain were awful. Robin’s wife told him not to go out with the weather so terrible but he would not listen and put on his greatcoat and took out the horse and rode off to the inn. He was not a bad man and before he started drinking he put his horse in the stable behind the inn for some shelter, as had some of his friends. The evening was a very merry one and after lots of beer Robin Proctor had become quite drunk. He did however remember that his horse was in the stable. He went to the stable behind the inn, brought out a horse and set off back home. Unfortunately he was so drunk that he hadn't realised that he had taken the wrong horse! It was too late. He set out riding the horse back towards his farmhouse and quickly fell asleep. This horse had no idea where it was going but being a good horse it kept on going up the lanes and was soon in the middle of the moors in the terrible storm, walking in the dark with Robin Proctor asleep on its back. The poor horse continued until it arrived at the top of a cliff and, not knowing any better, it kept on going, plummeting over the edge and falling on to the rocks at the bottom! They were both killed instantly and ever since the cliff has been known as Robin Proctor’s Scar. It is said that on wild and windy nights the sound of horses hoofs can still be heard around the cliff.  [Ingleborough Hall Outdoor Education Centre]

"Oh dear", said Southey, "what a sad tale."

Over to the left sheep were grazing. Dad, despite Allen's protestations, could not resist getting the camera out.

At the junction with Long Lane, we kept ahead to descend the stony track, and through the tunnels...

..and through the village to the car.

"Thanks Dad, as always", said Allen. "We are so very lucky to go on all these adventures."

"Elaine's now", said Tetley. "Your favourite tearooms."

"Sure thing", replied Dad.

We got to go in too of course. Molly, Sharon's eldest daughter and he best friend Megan were serving and gave Dad a friendly welcome saying, "hello nice to see you."

So Dad enjoyed a delicious bacon and cream cheese ciabatta with chips, then his favourite blackcurrant crumble and custard, and of course plenty of warming tea.

Good to get out.


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