Date - 4th March 2020 Distance - 7.25 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL4 Start point - Armathwaite Hall (NY 2062 3250)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



It was Friday and all was well, as we had steaming mugs in paw and cakes on our plate.

"The fruit scones are scrumptious, Little Eric", said Southey, as he tucked into his second.

"So is the raspberry slice, Grizzly", went on Tetley.

"It was nice to get out and walk on Wednesday, from Hest Bank", said Allen. "Even if we were defeated on the section from the caravan park to Crag Bank."

"Just goes to show how much rain there has been", agreed Shaun. "The fields were not just waterlogged but completely flooded and totally impassable."

"I guess that's the last walk for at least a couple of weeks as Dad is away at Armathwaite Hall from Sunday", said Little Eric.

"It's Dad's birthday on Sunday, and yours too pal", went on Tetley.

"I know, and I can't believe that I will be 12", replied Little Eric. "How the years have flown by."

"I wonder who Fletcher is inviting to go and stay this time", mused Grizzly.

Fletcher was adopted on Dad and Uncle Brian's very first visit to Armathwaite Hall in 2009, and ever since then, he and his girlfriend Polly, have invited some of our hug pals to stay. The number got up to about 14, but then Uncle Brian put his foot down and said, "no more than eight." Here are Polly & Fletcher on one of the previous visits.

Well as if he had heard us, Fletcher then strolled in.

"Have some tea and cakes", offered Shaun.

"Thanks pal", he replied. Taking a bite he went on, "mmm, the raspberry slice is delicious."

"We were just talking about you and wondering who was going to Armathwaite next week", said Grizzly.

"That's why I have come to see you. Dad has told me that he plans to do a walk during the holiday, so I have come to invite you all."

"Ooh that's great", cheered Tetley. "We have been there, but just after a walk, but never to stay."

"Wonderful", went on Little Eric. "I'll be able to celebrate my birthday there."

"I'll organise a cake for you", replied Fletcher."

"Ahh that's kind, pal."


So Sunday arrived and late morning we settled in the car, with our other pals. Dad took the route up the M6 then west at Penrith.

"Look" called out Little Eric. "There's Blencathra. That was my last Wainwright summit in the Northern Fells."

Soon we could see Skiddaw just beyond, then the whole view opened out of the North Western Fells. "There's Grizedale Pike", pointed Allen. "That was my last Wainwright, almost ten years ago now."

Looking at the many summits in view Dad said, "I wonder how I managed to climb them all. But I was younger and had rather more stamina then. I still hope to get on the fells again, but we'll just have to see how I go on this year following Brian's death."

Fred who with his brother Gladly are the joint chief hug bears said, "it makes me tired just thinking about climbing the fells. Give me a comfortable chair any time."

Quite soon now we arrived at Armathwaite Hall, viewed here from across the lawns.

Fletcher went with Dad to check-in. Then with help of porters George and Liviu, the luggage was taken to the room. Then finally we came in and settled on the comfortable chairs. Ever since the first stay Dad and Uncle Brian have had room 131, that overlooks the lawns with beyond Bassenthwaite Lake.

"Wow", said Rigbye, "what a superb view", as he settled on the radiator by the window to enjoy it.

Dad has take many pictures of it over the years, and here are two. The first on a clear very calm morning, and the second with early morning mist hanging over the lake.

"Thank you for inviting us", said Grizzly. "It will be just wonderful to stay here this week."

"You're welcome", replied Fletcher.

So that evening we had room service as usual and had a lovely dinner, while Dad was having his in the Lake View Restaurant. As promised there was a cake for Little Eric, with 'Happy 12th Birthday' in icing. We all sang him Happy Birthday too.

"Thanks pals, I have had a truly lovely day."

So the days rolled by, with our other pals in rotation going down with Dad each day to sit in the lounge and/or go to the Brasserie where Dad had lunch some days. Rigbye, Lucky and Ragamuffin went to see Uncle Paul and Aunt Deborah, on Tuesday, as they had invited Dad for dinner. We were glad, it was six months to the day that Uncle Brian had died, and being with them helped.

When he got back he told us, "I have checked the weather and at least until early afternoon it will be dry and bright, so it's walk day tomorrow."

"Yippee", cheered Southey.

Oh and by way of our saying good night, at this part in our story, here is the view at sunset taken on 1st October 2015. The pointed fell in the centre is Catbells that overlooks Derwent Water, and is a very popular climb.


The Walk

Opening the curtains Dad said, "the weather looks set to be dry and for once there is hardly any wind.

We had our breakfast then Dad got his walking gear on and took us out to the car. While he got his boots on we quickly settled in the rucksack.

So turning his back on Armathwaite Hall...

...we crossed the car park to the gate in to the paddock.

"My what a tall tree", commented Grizzly.

The path led to a gate into the parking area of the Lake District Wildlife Park and onto the road at the entrance.

Looking at the signpost...

Shaun said, "our route is along the bridleway signed to Isel, through that gate. The track is called Buckholme Lonning."

The name intrigued us so we did some research. Apparently Lonning is a Cumbrian dialect word that means lane. There are many tracks in Cumbria referred to as Lonnings. In times past when some were converted into roads for vehicles they were renamed lanes. So if for instance this track was ever made into a proper road it would likely be called Buckholme Lane. This of course will never happen.

The track is surfaced for most of its length and was dry apart from a few puddle. Gates and bridges over streams allowed progress, with part of it running close to the the River Derwent that was unsurprisingly in flood.

Looking across Tetley pointed, "that ridge is Setmurthy Common."

He went on, "it is one of the Wainwright Outlying Fells that we climbed with Uncle Eric in April 2008."

"Wow, you never cease to amaze me at your memory, Tetley", said Little Eric in wonder.

"Somehow the facts just stick in my head", he replied.

Here we are on that day at the summit marked by just a few stones.

Looking back, Allen pointed, "there's mighty Skiddaw, with to the left Broad End. Then to the right in front is Ullock Pike in deep shadow."

"Aye", sighed Tetley, "they were long walks, and when we climbed Skiddaw in 2009, we bagged 12 summits."

"That's right", agreed Little Eric. "As well at the Wainwright summits, we ticked off the associated Birketts."

Further on some of our lovely Herdwicks were wandering in and out of the fields on either side. These two posed for Dad. From the colour of their fleece, Shaun said, "they would have been born last year."

Soon now we passed through Long Close Farm, where the cows eyed us from the barn as Dad strolled by.

Then followed the access, passing these daffodils just coming into bloom.

"Sign that spring is here, even if it still feels like winter. There is no real sign of any prolonged settled weather either", commented Southey.

At the road Shaun said, "we go ahead and follow it round the bend to go off right into the fields towards Isel Hall."

Keeping a look out, it was Grizzly who called out, "here's the sign. It must be through that gate."

The path was by the fence. Allen commented, "according to the map there is a reservoir under the field."

Pointing, Little Eric said, "well then, that must be some form of inspection access. Good place for us to sit and have our picture taken."

"Too right", cried Southey as he scrambled out of the rucksack.

Reaching the far side of the field, Shaun said, "we pass through the gate, and then go right along the fenced track."

This led to a gate into another field and so by the fence to a stile. "That's a tall one", laughed Little Eric. "No good for my little legs."

Onward the fence/hedge now to the right, and crossing where part of a new pipeline has been laid.

This is a huge project by United Utilities to construct a pipeline from Thirlmere Reservoir to provide water for west Cumbria. When completed this will as well, end the extraction of water from Ennerdale.

Dropped down and crossed the bridge over this hurrying stream and so to a stile onto the road.

His face buried in the map, Shaun said, "turn right, follow the road to a junction and then turn left."

Here the road stretched ahead long and straight. Looking left Grizzly commented, "the skies are as black as night to the north and for sure it must be raining. Just as well we are not heading in that direction."

To the left and a bit ahead is this hill. "What is it called?", queried Southey.

"Another of the Wainwright Outlying Fells", said Allen.

"Yes", agreed Tetley. "I think it is Caermote Hill that we climbed with Uncle Eric in October 2008."

"I agree", said Shaun. "Where this road joins the A591, it is just a short way north, standing above the road on the right side."

Here we are on that day at the rocky outcrop that is the summit.

"That's Binsey, dominating the view ahead. The most northerly of the Wainwright fells," said Little Eric. "We nicknamed it Wheelie", he laughed.

Onwards Dad went, passing Isel Old Park and then Irton Cottages...

...and so finally reach Irton House, this signpost opposite indicating our route.

Part way down the drive, Shaun said, "it's through this waymarked gate to the left. Then we go diagonally right across the pasture to next gate, and then on by fence on the right to next gate."

Through that he then said, "now left by the hedge to that gate by the wood."

There, Little Eric said, "where now?".

Shaun replied, "turn right and keep straight across the pasture and along by the fence on the right, and through the gate in it."

Headed on across the field and beyond the next gate followed the rough track, fording a stream and passing this ruined barn.

Eventually we came to a gate into the Armathwaite Hall Estate, where the waymark directed us left to follow a path that finally drops down to track at Coalbeck Farm, with the Lake District Wildlife Park on the right.

Pointing Allen called out, "I can see the Red Pandas, Chura and Mei Li. Our hug pal is called Mei Li after her."

Dad had visited the park last October and here is a shot of one of them. We do not know which.

Further on Grizzly called out, "the lemurs are being fed. It is amusing how the hold their tails straight up in the air."

At the farm we then followed the track right past the park entrance and to the road, then across the paddock to the hotel.

"Look at those pretty spring flowers by the tree", called out Tetley.

Dad got his muddy boots off leaving them in the car, and then went to the room and changed, before with us in tow he went to have lunch in the Brasserie. Not surprisingly he was hungry after the exercise. Here we are.

After as we headed to the lounge to relax for the rest of the afternoon, we noticed that it had been raining. "Good timing again Dad", remarked Shaun.

There was just one more full day then of our stay to go. Had Uncle Brian been here this would have been his 90th birthday. All of us felt very sad, and we felt for Dad. We were glad that Uncle Paul and Aunt Sheila came to stay that evening, so Dad was not on his own. Of course we miss our Uncle Brian terribly, but he is at peace free from the suffering he endured during 2019. His 88th birthday was the last he celebrated at Armathwaite Hall.

So there is just one final picture to include, of all of us who had been invited by Fletcher and Polly.

Top step - Lee, Fred, Rigbye with Pong panda, Gladly & Barnaby
Middle step - Lucky, Fletcher, Polly & Ragamuffin.


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