Date - 19th November 2020 Distance - 7.75 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL2 Start point - Devil's Bridge (SD 614 783)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



It was Tuesday afternoon, and we were a bit down in the paw. Even the cake and tea were not really lifting our spirits.

"I feel sorry for Uncle Eric, not being able to make the walk today, due to locking his keys in his car", said Shaun.

"I know, but while were were waiting for him to come the rain was falling, and the skies did not seem to be brightening, so perhaps it was meant to be", replied Tetley. "We have days down for next week, so if the weather is kind we can do the walk then."

For the moment turning our thoughts away from walking, Allen saying, "the chocolate coated flapjack is scrumptious Grizzly."

"I can see, as you are polishing off your third piece."

Southey was also on his third piece of blueberry slice. "Delicious, Little Eric. Thank you both of you for making the cakes, as always."

"You're welcome", he replied. "Can I have another mug of tea, please?"

"Of course pal", said Shaun. "Pass your mug over."

Tetley was now looking at the iPad. "Tomorrow is a poor day with more rain. That's all it seems to do lately. However Thursday looks like being fine with some sun, before more rain on Friday. I wonder if Dad will take us out on Thursday?"

"We need to come up with an idea, first", said Southey.

There was quiet for a little while, as we all thought about this, before Grizzly spoke up, "how about walking from Devil's Bridge?"

"That's an idea", agreed Allen. "It seems a while since we did that."

Southey said, "it will probably be a repeat, but the countryside is lovely. How about the one that goes up to Rigmaden?"

Checking our website, Tetley said, "it's nearly 12 miles. I think that would be asking a bit too much of Dad, at present."

Shaun piped up, "I recall there is one that takes in the first part of that walk, but then goes in a circle via Biggins."

"Come on Southey, help me lift the binder down, so we can have a look", prompted Allen. Then scanning the index he said, "here, number 69. Last walked in 2013. Around 7 miles or so. I reckon Dad would be happy with that."

Meanwhile Little Eric had booted the laptop, opened the 'walks done' file. "Southey, you were starting to walk with us around that time, but for some reason Dad did not take you that day. So it will be new for you."

"That would be great", cheered Southey. "I guess there is already a story, so whilst it would be nice for my picture to appear on this repeat, I am not bothered if Dad decides not to take the camera."

"Ok", said Allen, draining his mug. "Give me the sheet, and I will go and ask Dad."

"We'll fill your mug for when you come back", called out Tetley.

"Thanks pal."

Fairly soon, Allen returned. "Dad is very happy to repeat the walk. I also explained about you not having done it Southey. So, Dad says he will take the camera, and depending on how many pictures he takes, we can decide whether just to expand the original story or write a new one."

"Super", cheered Little Eric. "Here's to Thursday."

With regard to pictures, Dad went a bit clicky clicky, and took over 40! So a new story it is.


The Walk

We knew that Devil's Bridge is a popular start point for walks so Dad had told us he wanted to get there for 09:00. It was as well too, as there were already plenty of cars parked when we arrived.

We quickly snuggled down in the rucksack, so as not to delay Dad, who soon had his boots and coat on.

Heading towards the River Lune, we went left through the gate, just before Devil's Bridge.

Grizzly was ready with information, saying, "the bridge dates from 1370 and is thought to have been built by the monks of St Mary's Abbey York, and once carried the Skipton to Kendal road over the river, until replaced by the Stanley Bridge in 1932 that you can beyond. Devil's Bridge is a grade 1 listed structure and also a Scheduled Ancient Monument. In common with many bridges of the same name, legend holds that the Devil appeared to an old woman promising to build a bridge in exchange for the first soul to cross over it. When the bridge was finished, the woman threw bread over the bridge and her dog chased after it, thereby outwitting the Devil."

"Thank you, pal. We really appreciate how you add interest to our adventures", said Southey.

The clear path led on by the river, that was unsurprisingly flowing fast after the recent rains.

Finally the path ended just before the river bent right, at the bottom of the Radical Steps. There are 86 steps and a notice at the foot told us that they were constructed in the 1820s by Dr. Francis Pearson of this Parish. Originally they comprised 46 steps with 11 landings.

"Oh dear", said Little Eric. "I am glad to be in the rucksack."

So taking a deep breath Dad started up. After a brief pause halfway to catch his breath, he then completed the climb.

As we reached the top, a lady passing by said, "made it."

"Yes", replied Dad, "but the days when I could run up these is long gone now."

Just a few yards left is the impressive St Mary's Church.

"What can you tell us about this pal?", asked Allen.

"This is another grade 1 listed building. The oldest parts of the church are Norman. Three doorways and the inner north arcades date from the early 12th century, and the base of the tower and the south arcade are from the later part of that century. In the 14th century the north and south walls of the church were demolished and were rebuilt further outwards, the new south wall incorporating the earlier south doorway. A chantry chapel was added 1486. A clerestory, pinnacles and battlements were added in the 16th century, but were removed in 1807 by Francis Webster, who added an overall roof. Further restoration took place in 1866 by E G Paley. This involved raising the roof, giving the outer north aisle a separate roof, reseating the church, re-flooring the chancel, and adding a south porch."

Returning to the top of the steps, we stopped again in just a few yards to take in, the view we had seen many times.

"Ahh", said Allen, "the wonderful Ruskin's View." Then reading from the information panel he went on, "the view in front of you was described by John Ruskin in 1875 as 'One of the loveliest in England, therefore in the World'. Painted by Turner in 1822 the scene presents a gentle panorama of river, meadow, woods and hills in almost perfect balance."

"Just so beautiful", breathed Southey. "How fortunate I was to come and live with Dad, and to go on the walks. If Kim had not moved to the Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere from Armathwaite Hall, I would never have been adopted."

"That bouquet of flowers fastened to the railing is very colourful", commented Little Eric.

"I could look at this view all day", said Shaun, "but we had better be getting on our way."

We had not gone very far however, before Grizzly pointed left saying, "that mound on Cockpit Hill is the remains of a medieval motte castle."

Our attention focused, Grizzly then told us, "the motte is preserved as an earthwork mound with a height of about 5m surrounded by a slight intermittent ditch with a width of approximately 3m. There is a hollow in the top of the motte which is reputed to have been used as a cockpit during the post-medieval period."

Exiting the graveyard that Dad had entered to take the picture, we continued left on the delightful path through the woodland.

In a few minutes, Southey called out, "look a seat. Picture time pals."

"Sure thing", agreed Tetley, as we scrambled out of the rucksack.

The path began to descend and then exited into Underley Park.

"That nicely shaped tree, bare of its leaves will make a nice picture against the blue sky", mused Shaun.

After crossing the small bridge the path swung left by the fence towards Home Farm.

"This path and fence is new", said Tetley. "Before there was just a muddy track."

"You're right, pal", agreed Allen.

We passed a lady walking her dogs, and Dad enquired about the path. She said, "yes it is new, the work being done during the first lockdown. It certainly makes it easier in these wet periods. Apparently there was once a tarmac path here, a long time ago."

After crossing a track, the fenced path continued with the beck to the left and out to the drive at Home Farm.

Here we met a lady with her border collie, and a long chat with Dad ensued. Her opening words were, "I cannot get over how lovely the scenery is round here. I feel blessed to be out."

"Yes it is quite beautiful around here", Dad replied.

The conversation touched on how different life is now with all the technology and social media and how hard it can be for young people. She has two teenage boys.

The lady said, "we only moved here two weeks ago."

Dad asked, "where did you live before?"

"Yealand", was her reply.

"I know that area well. Which one?"


This started a discussion about Yealand Manor that had once been the training centre for Provincial Insurance, who Dad had worked for. He said, "I attended a number of courses and conferences there over the years." Dad then went on to recall, "the first was in January 1970. There were so many people on the course that I and a couple of other lads were lodged at the village shop."

"Oh my", she replied. "In 1971 at the age of 5 my parents bought that very same property. It's quite a revelation that you once slept in our house!"

"What a small world", commented Dad.

Goodbyes were now said, after what had been a fascinating conversation for both the lady and Dad. All through this her border collie and sat patiently waiting to continue its walk.

"I am beginning to wonder if we will ever complete this walk today", laughed Tetley.

Well happily for us all, on the rest of the walk we did not meet any more walkers.

At the drive end Shaun said, "we turn left to walk through Kearstwick."

On either side, well spaced out, are a number of substantial houses, like this.

Suddenly Little Eric called out. "Look, there is Kearstwick postbox. I like the way it has the protruding lintel over the top."

Then almost immediately we passed this milestone. "What do the figures represent?", asked Southey.

"Well pal", said Allen. "This is the old road via Old Town, between Kirkby Lonsdale and Kendal. So, that on the left indicates it is 11 miles to Kendal, while on the right shows it is 1 mile to Kirkby Lonsdale."

As we strolled on, Southey asked yet another question. "What is that large hill away to the the right?"

"Middleton Fell", replied Tetley. "We climbed that with Uncle Bob." Then giving it some thought said, "that was in 2008. We also climbed it two years earlier with Uncle Eric."

Allen went on. "The summit is called Calf Top. At 609.58 metres it was thus just fractionally below 2,000 feet, the threshold for mountain status. In 2016 the Ordnance Survey carried out a recalculation and measured the height to 609.606 metres. So, fractionally higher than 2,000 feet, it is now officially a mountain."

"Thank you pals, replied Southey. "I am in awe of the breadth of your knowledge."

Soon we approached a road junction, Shaun stating, "we go left signed Lupton, then left again to Hop Ridding at the signpost we can see ahead."

At start of the track a tractor and trailer were parked and we could see the farmer working. Seeing us he said, "I am finishing off this new fence, but have not yet installed the stile. It is my job for this afternoon. So just use the gate at the end for today."

"Thank you for telling us", replied Dad.

So, through the gate we crossed the field to the obvious step stile by the wood. Beyond, and over a slight rise, Shaun pointed, "we need to make for the far left corner and that ladderstile."

This involved descending to cross a small stream. Progress was hard going as the ground was extremely soft and some detours were necessary to avoid the worst, but finally this was accomplished.

Southey said, "the instructions make reference to a stone step stile."

As we were climbing over, Little Eric said, "the ladderstile is obviously new, and I can actually see that the step stile is still there underneath."

"OK", called out Shaun, "We continue by the wood to its end then take the gate left and go on ahead on the opposite side of the hedge."

More hard going for Dad with boggy ground. "I'll be glad to get this section over", he sighed.

Approaching Hop House, the path edged left round its garden to then reach the old ladderstile & bridge to the road.

"Turn right, past the house", called out Southey.

Soon he told us, " now it's left through those double gates and follow the track."

At its end was a gate into Lowther Plantation. "We ignore the track ahead, instead go through the gate left then right along by the plantation", advised Shaun.

This was another wet and pretty boggy section, ascending to the brow, and then descending to pass through one gate and then another onto a track at a three way path junction."

"Turn left, to pass through Fleet Farm and so to the road", called out Southey."

The track was muddy to the farm that is the headquarters of Barden Energy that sell biomass boilers, then surfaced to the A65.

Laughing Grizzly said, "maybe this track should be called Fleet Street."

"Oh very droll", chuckled Allen.

"We actually call it the 'path to the opera', due to the sign by the A65", stated Tetley.

Reaching this, Southey said, "why? It reads public bridleway."

"Huh, its been changed, since 2013. It used to read Tosca", Tetley said firmly. And to prove his point here is the picture Dad took on that day.

"Ok, now for the slightly perilous bit, left along the verge of the A65, to take the path past Hollin Hall", advised Shaun.

Dad was careful and thankfully there was not too much traffic, but we were glad to get onto the track. Passing the buildings our way was straight on, along a grassy hedged track. This led, via a gate, into a field and a slightly sunken path that meandered to a gate into a small walled enclosure.

Here Shaun said, "it's left to that gate, then beyond half right over the undulating pasture to a gate onto the road by some sheep pens."

Arriving at the gate to Gallowber Lane, Grizzly pointed. "There are the remains of a Romano-British Settlement/Enclosure. According to the website, the semi oval settlement enclosure is delineated by a thick rubble bank, 2 metres wide and 1 metre high, faced with the remains of limestone slabs positioned on end."

Southey said, "I wonder what it was like all those centuries ago, and what went on here."

Then focusing back on our walk, he said, "cross the road and go through the narrow stile opposite and then walk up to the wall corner.

This opened up the view to our beloved Lakeland Fells. "That is a fine view" called out Allen. "Bowfell and Esk Pike, with behind Great End and to the immediate right Allen Crags, after which I am named. Then of course further right the Langdale Pikes and High Raise."

Keeping by the wall we crossed two further fields. Sheep were grazing. Allen called out, "don't stand there, go away."

They patently ignored him and two were very happy to pose for Dad. "Never mind pal", said Tetley, consolingly. "They are quite fine looking sheep after all."

As we neared the next narrow gap stile, Little Eric called out, "there is some lovely light on the Coniston Fells and Bowfell to the far right."

"Majestic", called out Tetley.

Now we descended the next field to a stile in the left corner near some buildings, to follow a short fenced track and take a stile right. Then we followed the clear over this final field on to Pit Lane, turning right to walk down to High Biggins, a hamlet of large stone houses. .

"Look at that Coat of Arms, set in the wall", called out Tetley. "I wonder what family it represents?"

Despite searching even our super sleuth Grizzly, had to admit, "I can't find anything."

"Perhaps a reader my be able to enlighten us", responded Little Eric.

As the road bent right, Shaun said, "we go ahead on that path through the woods."

Seeing another seat, Tetley said, "let's have another picture here for the story."

"Great pal", agreed Shaun.

When Dad was writing the story, Tetley said,"why are you looking up Allen."

"I was dreaming of the sandwiches cake and tea when we got back to the car."

"I am not surprised", laughed Tetley.

At the end of the woods we crossed the field to reach the road at Low Biggins.

"We go right", said Southey.

"Just to the left is the postbox. Will you take a picture please Dad", implored Little Eric.

So then along the road through Low Biggins, passing these white painted cottages.

"Where the road bends right we go left to Wood End Farm", advised Southey.

"Ah" said Dad, "I remember the rest now. Over the stile in the wall then across the field and through the rickety metal gate."

"Correct Dad", agreed Tetley.

"Then right on and on eventually down the hill to the road to Whittington", went on Allen. "There cross and follow the narrow path between the houses, and over the field to the A65, and so to Devils Bridge."

"What a super and most interesting walk", cheered Southey. "Thank you Dad and pals for doing it again."

"You're welcome lad."

"Refreshment time Dad?", asked Tetley.

"Aye lad, I'm going to Elaine's. She is operating as a takeaway, but I am hopeful that she will be able to reopen after the lockdown"

Dad enjoyed delicious steak pie mash and vegetables, followed by blackcurrant crumble and custard and lots of tea.

Aunt Pat and Uncle Leo came after a walk, so it was nice for Dad to chat with them a little. There was opportunity for a little chat with Elaine too, although he was kept pretty busy with customers. Good to see.

A grand day out.


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