Southey's 7th Birthday Walk


Date - 14th July 2020 Distance - 9.25 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL4 Start point - Lanthwaite Green (NY 1589 2078)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



There was much excitement amongst us and some of our other Hug pals, as we learnt that Armathwaite Hall was reopening after the lockdown.

"It's just in time too", said Fletcher, who was adopted there on Dad and Uncle Brian's first visit in 2009. "Dad made a booking when he was last there in March, for the 12th July. I was very doubtful about this, but the great news is it is on again."

"I know said, Allen. "Dad is hoping to be able to do a walk or two, so we will be coming along, if that is OK."

"Of course", he replied.

"So who else will be going?", asked Southey.

"Well Polly my girlfriend of course. Also Fred and Gladly as they are the chief hug bears. Then Craig, Ralph, Richard, Ping, Pitter Patter and new boy Peter Rabbit. Uncle Brian put his foot down and limited the number to 8, so I am trying to stick to that."

Tetley replied, "it is a lot more than that if we are included."

"I know pal", replied Fletcher, "but Uncle Brian would have allowed 8 plus the 6 of you."

"We never pushed to come when Uncle Brian was alive, as we know that Dad would not have wanted to leave him for a whole day to walk", said Allen. Then his eyes filling up he went on, "I miss Uncle Brian so much."

"I know", said Tetley, putting a paw round his shoulder. "We all do, none more so than Dad, but I know that he would be happy that Dad is still going to Armathwaite. After all it was referred to as their second home."

Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric then arrived with tea and cakes.

"Ooh great", cheered Allen, getting the plates and mugs.

"I'll help pour the tea", said Southey.

"Thanks pal", replied Shaun.

So what are the cakes?", asked Allen.

"Chorley cakes from me", said Grizzly.

"Peach and apricot slice from me", added Little Eric.

"Lovely", cheered Allen. "Help yourself Fletcher."


What are the weather prospects?", asked Southey. "It is my 7th birthday on the Tuesday, so it would be nice if we could walk that day to celebrate."

"Tetley got the iPad and navigated to the Keswick forecast. "Monday is wet, but I know that Dad has said he plans to stay in the hotel that day." Another tap and he smiled. "looks like Tuesday will be dry, but cloudy."

"Good chance then", replied Southey. "So I suppose we should come up with and idea."

"A low walk", said Little Eric. "I am determined not to ask Dad to go on the fells."

"Round a lake perhaps", suggested Shaun. "How about Crummock Water. There is will views of lots of fells we have climbed in the past, so we can reminisce."

Tetley did a search. "The distance is about 9 miles, and I am sure Dad will be OK with that. A good place to start will be the rough parking area at Lanthwaite Green, as it will be best to stay away from Buttermere, where it is bound to be very busy and hard to park."

"OK we have a suggestion", said Allen draining his mug. "I'll see what Dad thinks,"

"Let's keep out paws crossed", said Southey. "I so hope Dad will agree."

He need not have worried as the smile on Allen's face told us it was on. "All we need is for the weather forecast to be right", said Allen.

It was too, and here is the account of our adventure.


The Walk

Fletcher had organised early room service for breakfast to ensure we did not delay Dad.

We all wished our pal Southey a Happy Birthday and gave him a hug.

"Thank you. It does not seem like seven years since I was adopted at the Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere, when Dad and Uncle Brian went to visit Kim, who had moved there from Armathwaite Hall."

Then with Dad back from breakfast and ready, we called goodbye to our pals wishing them a good day and dashed down to settle in the car.

"OK", said Dad. "We go along the A66 towards Cockermouth then turn off towards Lorton."

The narrow roads took us to and through the village. "Ooh" called out Allen, as he saw the fells and mountains ahead. "Just wonderful to be in the Lake District."

Shaun said, "in a few miles we should take the left fork. It will be signed Buttermere."

After a few minutes, Southey called out, "the junction is coming up."

In trees at first we then left them behind and the tall fells towered to our right. Almost immediately then Dad said, "here we are", as he pulled into the parking area.

As Dad got ready, we looked across the road. "That's Whiteside with the lesser summit of Whin Ben in front", pointed Tetley.

Peering Grizzly pointed, "there is someone making the ascent."

"We know all about that", said Allen. "I recall our ascent, then on to Hopegill Head, and on over Grasmoor. Then down and up onto Wandope and over Whiteless Pike and finally Rannerdale Knotts."

"Believe it or not that was 2005", said Tetley. "How time flies."

"In 2012 we repeated the climb with Uncle Eric", went on Grizzly. "We made sure to bag the outstanding Birkett summit of Gasgale Crags, before walking on to Hopegill Head, and then via Sand Hill to descend via Gasgale Gill." Whiteside

"Happy days", said Dad. "I'm ready so come and get settled in the rucksack."

We did not need a second asking. Shaun said, "we go left past the farm and take the track on the far side of the buildings."

Following the clear path, this took us left, and then soon right along by a wall to a gate into Lanthwaite Wood.

Just yards ahead, the path divided. "Take the left fork", instructed Shaun.

The rough narrow path wound quite steeply down to the lake shore where stands the Boat House.

"Look", called out Little Eric. "A seat. Let's have our picture taken."

"Yes please", agreed Grizzly. "We should appear more often than usual as it is Southey's birthday."

Looking out across the lake, Allen pointed, "that's Blake Fell, Carling Knott and Burnbank Fell. If I remember correctly we have climbed them twice."

"You're right pal", replied Tetley. First in 2005, then again in 2009, when Little Eric came along too. The second time we did extra summits that were Birketts, as we chased down that challenge."

"More happy days", said Shaun.

So having got settled again, it was right on the good surfaced track through the woods.

At a junction Shaun advised, "Dad we take the left fork that drops down to the shore."

We were now at the most northerly point of Crummock Water and we stopped to admire the superb view.

Soon we came to the outfall, of which there are two streams controlled by weirs.

Grizzly recounted, "these join to form the River Cocker. This flows through the town of Cockermouth and there joins the River Derwent that flows through Workington on its way to the sea. On the 19th & 20th November 2009, prolonged rainfall on the mountains on Borrowdale and Honister caused these rivers to flood causing devastation in Cockermouth flooding numerous homes and businesses. In Workington a bridge was swept away and a policeman was drowned."

"I remember", replied Little Eric. "They were terrible times."

More benign today, we crossed the streams by footbridges.

The path then hugged the shore to cross another footbridge over Park Beck.

Looking north, Allen called out, "there's the Fellbarrow group. We first climbed them on 4th September 2005. It was a very significant day too, being when we met Uncle Bob for the first time. We saw him with his grandson Jack, as we approached the summit. Jack was standing on trig point as Uncle Bob took his picture. Little did we know what wonderful adventures were in store on the many subsequent walks with him."

Fenced and in trees we rounded the Pump House...

...with Mellbreak that dominates the west side of Crummock Water, before us.

Still hugging the shore we passed cattle, this young heifer standing quietly as Dad snapped a picture. "At least it's not sheep", said Allen with feeling.

Onwards, soon the path came close under the towering slopes of Mellbreak, and higher above the lake for a while. Easy walking being fairly level. Rocky in places as expected and boggy too, stepping stones helping in these areas.

Suddenly Southey called out, "look there is a lady swimming the lake."

"Oh yes, I see", said Little Eric.

We met a gentleman at this time, and Dad commented about her. He told us, "she in in training for the Great North Swim of Windermere. She has been training in Buttermere, and now Crummock."

"Is that Rannerdale Knotts dominating ahead on the far side?", asked Southey.

"Yes pal. We have all climbed it", replied Allen. "Another we have climbed a few times. It is wonderful to reminisce about those days."

"I am still learning to recognise the fells and mountains, but a know those ahead on the right. High Stile, Dodd Buttermere and Red Pike. That was a very hard day for you doing the ridge Dad. We really felt for you on that long long unrelenting descent of Red Pike."

"Aye lad it was really tough. The steps created when they 'fix the paths', are so very hard on the knees, and I feel it more and more as I get older. I do not think we will ever do the Buttermere ridge again."

Pointing straight ahead, Little Eric said, "that's Fleetwith Pike with Haystacks on the right, and in the middle under the cloud the ridge of Grey Knotts and Brandreth. With the way the cloud keeps coming and going on the tops, it is as well we left those for another day. That is of course Dad if and when you feel able to tackle them again."

Finally looking across Southey said, "I can name those too. The ridge to the right is Wandope and Whiteless Pike. On the left that is Lad Hows in the foreground, and the path behind leads to that very very steep ascent that can be seen of Grasmoor."

"Last time we did those was with Uncle Eric", said Tetley. "That ascent to Grasmoor was ever so steep. Another we will not be repeating, Dad."

"No lad, definitely not."

Dad strolled on. Southey pointed, "there's a small promontory just ahead.

"It's called Low Ling Crag", said Tetley.

"Nice if we could have our picture taken at the highest point, for my birthday", said Southey. "I know it is not a summit, but there is an ascent. All of 10 feet by the looks of it", he went on with a laugh.

Returning to the main path it was onwards to cross a footbridge over Scale Beck. "Oh look", pointed Allen. "There's Scale Knott."

"Your comment is somewhat wry", said Southey. "Why"

"Well lad we climbed this in 2011, one of the mopping up tops of the Birkett challenge. Dad followed the advice of Wainwright for its ascent that was exceedingly steep. If you look carefully, the route is through the bracken along side the fence and in the same direction as the fence bends away left, where it got even steeper, to the summit. Then it was on to Mellbreak bagging the two tops, before descending to return through Mosedale. This path in fact brought us to the col between Scale Knott and Mellbreak again. And here we discovered a much gentler path off Scale Knott to the valley. If only Dad had walked a few hundred yards left initially, he could have avoided the ever so steep climb."

"Yes lad, if only", sighed Dad.

"Some pretty wildflowers here", pointed Grizzly. "I wonder what they are called."

Silence. Then Little Eric said, "another mystery for our Hug flora and fauna experts Bracken and Moss to solve if they can."

Later Grizzly asked them, saying, "once again we need to call upon your expertise."

That's alright pal", replied Bracken, as he and Moss looked at the picture.

A short discussion ensued. There was murmurs of agreement, as Moss said, "it is Bog Asphodel."

"Thanks pals, you never let us down."

We were nearing the southern end of the lake. Southey looked across, saying, "what is that fell called?"

"High Snockrigg", replied Tetley. "That was another of the mopping up Birkett summits that we climbed from Newlands Hause in June 2011."

"What a lovely name", cried Southey. "I wonder what it means?"

Grizzly attempted this task, thinking that he would find the answer in Dad's book 'A dictionary of Lake District Place Names'. "Huh", he said, "it is not included. I have tried Googling but have come up blank pal. 'Rigg' means ridge. Perhaps the first part was actually some ones' name. Hence Snock's Ridge."

"Thank you pal for trying", said Southey. "I think your suggestion is plausible."

Back with the story, soon now we reached and crossed Scale Bridge...

...and walked the surfaced track into Buttermere village. So many people here, and there was not a parking space to be had.

"I see why we started from Lanthwaite Green", stated Southey. "Is it always like this."

"Yes pal", said Shaun. "a very popular place for tourists."

"So let's get on away from here", said Little Eric.

"We pass the Fish Hotel, then walk down the main car park to it's far end", instructed Shaun.

Here a sign posted gate on the right led onto the path by a footbridge. "We ignore the bridge and go left alongside Mill Beck", pointed Shaun.

After a while this led into open pasture and towards the lake shore.

Pointing right Shaun said, "it's over that footbridge, and then follow the path by the wall as it skirts round the edge of Long How."

This brought us to a gate left into pasture. "That's the route. It will lead us to another footbridge. Once over that the path is left through woodland and then open pasture to the road."

The road hugs the lake with a steep sided drop to the shore, so here there was no option other than to walk carefully by the road. Mellbreak dominates the view across the the lake.

The slopes on the right are Rannerdale Knotts, which if you recall from and earlier picture, has steep crags at its end. Here, at Hause Point...

..the road rounds the crags and motorists have to be very cautious of oncoming vehicles at the blind bend.

Just beyond there is a layby where cars stop to see the breathtaking view of Crummock Water.

"Wow", breathed Southey.

"I came along here with Uncle Brian a few times, and we always paused for the view", said Dad. "How I wish I could still do that."

"So do I", sniffed Allen. "We all miss him so much." Then looking down he said, "I think we should have our picture taken, while we remember him."

Then we continued on the road, passing Rannerdale Farm and then Rannerdale Cottage. Here Grizzly called out, "what lovely blue hydrangeas."

Soon then we reached the car parks at Cinderdale Common. "This is where we parked with Uncle Eric for that steep ascent of Grasmoor", said Tetley.

Just at the edge pretty Cinderdale Beck flows under the road and on into Crummock Water.

Pointing right, Southey laughed. "I remember that sign about looking out for lambs."

"Is it on the road all the way back now?", asked Little Eric.

"No pal", replied Shaun. "Once past the parking areas, there will be a gate on the left. We go through it."

The grassy path initially kept close to the wall...

...then at a fork, Shaun said, "go left."

Here the path dropped down to the shore and then into High Wood. "It's eerie", said Little Eric.

Indeed. The densely packed lines of conifers prevented any undergrowth and just made the place seem dead. Hardly any bird song either. Grizzly commented, "this is a wood ripe for felling, the trees being replaced with deciduous woodland."

We were glad to get through and the next boundary took us into Lanthwaite Wood.

Here we met a gentleman from Whitehaven and Dad had a long chat about walking. He told us about going to Blackpool in his younger days. Dad told him how Uncle Brian went every year and to see all the shows.

So on then through Lanthwaite Wood to arrive at the Boat House, once more, and so complete the circuit of Crummock Water.

"Wonderful", cheered Tetley. "That's another area of Lakeland we can tick off."

So all that remained was to retrace our outwards route. Going left we climbed the rough stony path.

Allen piped up, "there have been no sheep pictures. I can hardly believe it."

"Oh pal", cried Southey. "You've gone and jinxed it now."

"I agree", sighed Grizzly.

How right they were too.

Out of the wood it was across the pasture by the wall with Whiteside dominating.

As can be seen sheep are grazing, and this ewe and lamb posed beautifully for the camera.

"Oh darn", cried Allen. "You were right pals. I spoke too soon."

He was further dismayed as opposite the car park another ewe and lamb were sitting quietly.

Then in front of the car, was this Herdwick lamb. "Ahh", said Allen. "I don't mind that one. We all love the native Herdwicks that live in the Lake District."

As we had crossed the field from the wood, Shaun had commented, "it's raining in Buttermere."

So our Dad had timed the walk to perfection as we noticed it coming over from Mellbreak, and we and Dad got settled into the car before it came on heavily.

"What now", said Tetley. "Refreshments Dad?"

"Yes pal and if the cafe is open that we passed I will go there. I tried to take Uncle Brian but is was closed then."

Well it was closed today too, so we just drove back to the comfort of Armathwaite Hall. We sat with Dad in the Lake View Lounge, while he had tea and scones with butter jam and cream. Simon the General Manager saw Dad and sat having a chat for a little while. He explained how hard it had been to get the hotel ready to accept guests again. We are all thankful for this and especially for Dad who loves to come here, as he has done over many years with Uncle Brian before his death. They also chatted about walking as Simon and his pal are attempting the Wainwrights. He has done nearly 100 so far.

"That was truly a grand day out", said Tetley.

"Yes lad it was, and I look forward to my dinner tonight."

"Well Dad, you have certainly earned it", said Southey. "Thank you for making my birthday so enjoyable.


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