MILL SIDE, RAVEN'S LODGE, FOULSHAW & ULPHA from WITHERSLACK

 


Summary

Date - 28th November 2020 Distance - 9 miles
Ascent -
500ft
Map - OL7 Start point -Layby on old road near Derby Arms, Witherslack (SD 4407 8289)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Tetley walked in. "Your Lake District magazines have arrived, Allen and Southey."

"Thanks pal", they replied. "Has your Dalesman come too?"

"No, it's not due for another week."

"I am looking forward to seeing what interesting articles there are this time", said Southey."You're welcome to read it, after I have finished", said Southey.

"Thank you."

Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric then arrived.

"Ooh tea and cakes", cheered Allen. "I'll get the mugs and plates."

Southey said, "I'll lend a paw to fill the mugs."

"Thanks pal", replied Shaun.

Grizzly said, "today I have made Chorley cakes, and Little Eric has done peach and apricot slice."

"We've not had the peach slice for a while", said Southey helping himself.

So all was quiet as we tucked in. "Love the Chorley cakes", said Shaun.

"And the peach slice is delicious, Little Eric", went on Allen, who unsurprisingly was on his third piece.

Changing the subject, Tetley said, "it was good to walk with Uncle Eric, on Wednesday and he enjoyed the walk from Arnside, even if getting across the moss was most difficult due to the rain."

"I doubt that the ground there ever really dries out", commented Grizzly.

"So, mused Southey, "is a walk on for the weekend?"

Little Eric got the iPad and checking the Met Office app, said, "Saturday looks to be best for any brightness. Sunday is going to be overcast and very dull."

"We need to come up with an idea that I can go and ask Dad about", said Allen.

"Well", replied Shaun. "I have been looking through the walks index and bearing in mind humans are not supposed to travel far during the lockdown, there is one from Witherslack. It goes under Whitbarrow Scar first then through Foulshaw along the Kent estuary. Done only once in November 1998."

"That's around the time that you and I had started to go on the walks together", said Tetley.

"Yes pal, we indeed went along, but it is new to the rest of you", replied Shaun.

"Well I am happy to do it again, as I cannot remember anything about it, even with my good memory", stated Tetley.

"OK", called out Allen, draining his mug. "Give me the instructions and I will go and see what Dad thinks."

As he trotted out of the door, Shaun called out, "we'll refill your mug, after all you have only had two so far."

"Thanks, you all know what a tea belly I am."

"Any more cake", asked Little Eric.

"Yes please", replied Tetley and Southey.

Then Tetley said, "there will be some left for cake stuffer Allen too?"

"Oh yes, we make double these days", replied Grizzly.

Soon Allen returned. "Thanks", he said accepting the steaming mug of tea. "Dad likes the idea. He too cannot remember very much about the route."

"So, here's to Saturday", cheered Southey, "and the best Dad in all the world."

 

 

The Walk

We awoke to blue skies, but with the light easterly wind as the day went on it clouded over. Dry though, and on the exposed embankment the breeze was cold. Winter approaches.

Dad had decided not to set off too early so for once we had a bit of a lie in.

Having loaded the car, Dad and us then had breakfast, after which we ran out and settled in the car.

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

"Up the M6 to junction 36 then along the A590. We ignore the turning to the Lyth Valley then after a few miles go right to Witherslack", replied Shaun.

So we sat quietly chatting as Dad drove along and after a while Grizzly called out, "the turning is coming up."

In just a short way we came to the Derby Arms on a corner, where turning left after about 100 yards there was a layby on the right, where Dad parked.

Soon ready and us settled in the rucksack, Shaun instructed, "we return past the Derby Arms."

"This once had lots of passing traffic, as this section of road and that ahead was the main road, until the new sections were built some years ago. I suspect it must had suffered a loss of trade at that time", commented Dad.

Glancing left, eagle-eyed Little Eric pointed, "there's the postbox. Another I have seen, and a colourful picture for the story."

"OK, we cross and continue on the old road", advised Southey.

"Is that a bit of mist hanging above the field?, queried Little Eric.

Then as we walked on a little further, Allen replied, "I think it is smoke from the fire over to the right. There is no wind to disperse it."

A passing cyclist called out to Dad. "I like the teddies in your rucksack."

Dad called out, "they come with me on all the walks."

He did not catch what Dad had said, so stopped. "What is the story about this?"

"I have collected teddies for 40 years and these are the walking group. They have their own website telling the stories of their adventures. It is called stagwalks."

"I'll have a look", he replied as he made to ride on.

Dad strode on, Shaun saying, "we take the second path, signed to Bull Bridge, in about half a mile."

Keeping a look out, it was Grizzly who called out, there's the sign pointing along that hedged track. From its condition the sign has been there for many years."

Peering at the map, Tetley said, "there is no Bull Bridge. Bit of a mystery, unless that is the name of the buildings."

The hedged track curved right and over the cattle grid, we came to Swimmer Farm, so we were still no wiser about Bull Bridge. In the bottom right of the picture is the kissing gate that was our onwards route.

The next field was a bit boggy as we crossed half left to a gate into the yard between buildings. "Go right and then follow the track as it swings left to the road at Mill Side", called out Southey.

Pointing very slightly left, Shaun said, "we take that track opposite."

This climbed and led through the buildings of Low Fell End.

"We should look out for an old water pump", commented Allen.

"There", pointed Grizzly.

"Harks back to the days before mains water supply that we now take for granted", said Dad.

"Look how Whitbarrow Scar towers over us here", called out Tetley. "Dramatic sheer crags."

Then he said, "this is the initial route to climbing the scar. I recall we started from Mill Side, and came through the farm. In a little way we drift left to a gate onto a rising path...

...that leads onto a wider track."

"Again I am in awe of your memory pal", said Southey.

At the track Shaun said, "go right."

Dad paused, and Tetley said, "if we were climbing Whitbarrow, it would be left for a short way to a rising path on the right,"

Setting off Shaun, issued more instructions. "The track leads to the buildings at Whitbarrow Lodge. At the entrance we need to keep left."

The path led on and on climbing to a brow, and then began a long descent, with the sheer face of Whitbarrow Scar towering above...

...to its end at Raven's Lodge. There we followed the access right to the old road again, and turning left to come by the main A590.

Reading the instructions, Allen said, "we are now faced we a 350 yards stretch on the verge of the main road."

"Or not now", replied Grizzly, pointing left. "As part of the cycleway network that footbridge has been installed parallel with the road."

"That's the way to go then", confirmed Little Eric.

Beyond the footbridge the path continued below the road, then ending by the A590. "Great", cheered Shaun. "We are opposite the the road to Foulshaw that is the ongoing route."

Carefully Dad crossed the dual carriageway, that was not very busy today. Starting along the road, Southey said, "what are those huge lorries with strange cargo?"

"Mobile amusement rides. The yard to the left is the headquarters of Taylor's Fun Fairs" replied Grizzly. "They take their rides to different fairs all round the country. Sadly though not at present. Yet another business badly affected by Covid."

Dad strolled the narrow level road, having to move off a few times to let vehicles pass. After a while we came to Foulshaw Cottages.

Seeing Dad lining up the camera, Allen said, "they are unremarkable. Why a picture?"

Dad replied, "because the date stone indicates they were built in 1951. The year of my birth."

"Can't believe you are 70 next year, Dad", said Tetley.

"Neither can I", replied Dad. "I do not feel it, most of the time."

Onwards we passed High Foulshaw Farm, where the road goes a little left then right. Almost immediately Southey pointed, "we take that path left across the field."

At the far side we passed through a gate to go right below the embankment. This is fenced off with wire and three strands of barbed wire, to totally discourage climbing to the top.

A clear path ran below the embankment, and where it bent left we kept by it across the pasture, until a gate allowed us to gain the top. This led to a gate where sheep were clustered. Most went down to the left, but this group ran ahead.

Exasperatedly Tetley said, "we are just driving them on and on away from the rest of the flock. We need them to go back."

"I know", replied Dad, "I'll drop down right and see if we can sneak past."

This was successful and Little Eric let out a cheer as they scampered back to their mates.

Dad climbed back up and walked on, stopping after about 15 minutes, as Allen called out, "there is a nice view to the Lakeland Fells. The sky looks clear up there, free of cloud."

"What can I see?", asked Southey.

Grizzly obliged. "The mountain left of centre is Red Screes. The col is Kirkstone Pass, and on the right is Caudale Moor."

Across the Kent estuary, Tetley pointed, "there's the huge quarry behind the houses alongside the road from Milnthorpe to Arnside. We walked round the top of the quarry and made the descent through those green fields to the road."

"That was the walk that initially took us through Dallam Park", said Little Eric.

Pointing more right, Little Eric called out, "those houses are Sandside, and the large building to the left is The Ship Inn, which you go to regularly Dad."

"Yes lad. I am hoping to start going again, when they reopen after the lockdown."

Further on the embankment curved right and Arnside came into view with the viaduct carrying the railway across the estuary.

After another bend in the embankment, Birkswood Point, came into view.

Southey spoke up. "As we can see this is where the embankment ends. Our route is a track behind the point. To get there, we drop down right and through that gate then across the pasture."

This track emerged on the far side of the point and bent right leading us to Crag Cottage.

There, seeing a bridge and road right, Little Eric said, "is that our route."

"No lad", said Shaun. "That leads to Ulpha Farm. We should continue about 50 yards or so, then go right and cross the footbridge over Main Drain, into pastures."

As Dad did this we peered over. "It is very substantial concrete construction", commented Tetley. "If there was a flood this certainly would not be carried away, unlike many others that were destroyed in Cumbria due to storms like Desmond."

Beyond we crossed the next few fields via gates and stiles the last being a ladderstile onto the road.

Before this Grizzly pointed, "there's a seat where we can have our picture taken.

"Oh yes", agreed Allen. "We have to appear in every story."

As can be seen there is a memorial dedication on the seat. It reads - Mark Coates 'Ulpha's Rough Diamond' Died 1st August 2013 Aged only 38.

"He was so young. I wonder what tragedy befell him", mused Little Eric.

Later Grizzly did some research. He came to tell us. "Apparently Mark Coates was working to clear some debris off a Perspex roof at Ulpha Farm. It gave way, and he fell through to his death."

"How awful", said Allen. "Such a terrible tragedy."

Safely tucked in the rucksack again Dad set off, having taken this picture of Ulpha Farm.

Over the ladderstile we turned right on the road, passing the farm entrance.

On the right the field was very well kept and there was a sign on the fence. Being the inquisitive group we are, we had to find out more.

Allen read, "this is the base of the Bay Flyers, the local model aircraft club, so that is why the grass is so well kept."

Dad walked on and on the road meandering and passing this tall tree, at a corner. "I think it will make a nice picture", said Southey.

At times ahead we could see a red light. "What is it?", wondered Tetley. It can't be a vehicle."

Well the mystery was solved, as coming to the A590, the lane forked and going right led to an underpass to the Witherslack road.

The single lane and not very clear line of sight requires it to be traffic light controlled. We know the camera has somehow made the light look orange, but we can assure you it is really red!

On the far side we continued left, and after 100 yards or so reached the Derby Arms, to take the old road left the short distance to the car.

"Lovely walk", cheered Southey. "Thanks pals for doing it again. I have enjoyed it."

"You're welcome", replied Shaun. "I don't know about the rest of us but I could not remember very much of the route."

"It would be nice for you to go and have a cup of tea", said Tetley.

"Aye lad but not this week. Still there is only a few days to go before the lockdown ends."

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