RIVER LUNE, AUGHTON & HIGHFIELDS from CROOK o'LUNE

 


Summary

Date - 16th March 2021 Distance - 6.75 miles
Ascent -
840 ft
Map - OL41 Start point -Crook o'Lune picnic area (SD 5212 6481)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

The rain was beating on the window driven by gale force wind. "What an awful spell of weather we are having this week", said Tetley

"Yes pal. The only thing that can cheer me up is a warming mug of tea and some cake", replied Allen.

"Trust you", laughed Southey. "Still I have become a cake stuffer too. We are so lucky to have our expert bakers Grizzly and Little Eric."

"You are pretty good at the scones", replied Tetley.

Just then Allen's prayers were answered as Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric came into the room.

Wonderful", cheered Allen. "I have the mugs here and will lend a paw helping to fill them."

"Thank you", said Shaun.

"What's the cake today?", asked Southey.

"Little Eric has made blueberry slice, and from me chocolate topped flapjack", replied Grizzly.

There was quiet for a few minutes, then Southey said, "love the blueberry slice."

"And the flapjack is delicious pal", said Allen, taking another piece, and then filling his mug again.

Little Eric laughed, "so I see, that must be your fourth piece."

"Just keeping up with Southey", he replied innocently.

Tetley meanwhile was looking at the iPad. "It looks like this unsettled spell will end after the weekend and Tuesday looks to be a dry and sunny day, if with a rather cold wind. I am sure that Dad will be glad to get out for a walk, so maybe we can come up with an idea to put to him."

"We still have to stay pretty local, so how about starting at Crook o'Lune.", suggested Grizzly.

Tetley quickly opened the OS maps app and navigated to the area, and we looked over his shoulder.

Shaun said, "how about going by the river and then through the woods to Aughton Barns, from where we can climb up to the village."

"Good idea", agreed Grizzly, "Then we can return via the ridge through the Highfield farms then down to Hawkshead and the road past Halton Park to complete the circle."

"I like that idea", agreed Little Eric. "There will be some fine views over the valley on the return section."

"Right, I'll go and ask Dad", said Allen draining his mug.

"I'll refill it for you", called out Shaun as he disappeared out of the door.

"Thank you!"

Shortly he returned, saying "thank you", as he took the steaming mug. "Dad likes the idea and the walk is on for Tuesday."

"Great", cheered Little Eric. "Dad is the best."

 

The Walk

The forecast stayed the same, so we were eager to be off, settling in the car as we heard Dad complete loading his gear.

A short drive to the car park at Crook o'Lune, and while Dad got ready we snuggled in the rucksack.

Crossing the car park, Little Eric pointed, "do we go through that gate to the left?"

"No pal", said Southey. "We go down these steps to get onto the bank of the river."

"What a beautiful scene", said Allen. "The distant woods are Aughton Woods that we will walk through. We did that part last year. They were carpeted with bluebells then."

Walking the soil path, Tetley pointed right, "there's Lune East bridge, that once carried the railway line between Lancaster Green Ayre and Wennington. Many years ago now. So good that the route is now a cycleway and footpath for everyone to enjoy. Beyond is the road bridge."

"For many years I crossed that nearly every Monday with Uncle Brian on our way to Elaine's at Feizor", said Dad.

"Ahh Elaine's", said Allen. "The best tearooms in Yorkshire."

Striding on, Little Eric soon called out, "look at that group of white ducks."

Fairly soon we caught up with a lady with about six dogs, and Dad got chatting.

From my equipment she suggested, "you look like you are out for the day."

"Yes. I am walking as far as Aughton, then up to the village and back along the tops past the Highfields farms. I have my walking companions."

"Oh yes", she said seeing us. "How lovely. Do they go on all the walks?"

"Yes and for many years now. Some have climbed all the fells in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and Howgills."

We came to a gate and Dad held it open for her and a fisherman, then saying goodbye we strode off soon entering woodland.

This picture belies how tricky this path was at times. It was mostly narrow, undulating and extremely muddy and slippy in places. Parts were literally on the edge of the bank with big vertical drops, so Dad was very cautious.

On the far bank is this footbridge. "It spans the Artle Beck", informed Shaun.

As we exited the woods, Grizzly said, "thank goodness that section is done."

On the wide grassy bank again, soon the Waterworks Bridge was reached.

"We crossed that last year when we visited Aughton Woods", said Tetley. "It carries the Thirlmere Aqueduct."

"There's a tunnel underneath", pointed Southey. But then quickly said, "not today though. Its flooded."

Instead we ploughed our way over the muddy embankment, to soon enter Aughton Woods. "We keep to the low path today", said Shaun.

Again this undulating path was very muddy in places with the precipitous drops to the river, so Dad took care once more. "We do not want to end up in the river", said Allen.

"Absolutely not", agreed Tetley.

Finally via a stile we exited the woods. Here the next short section was muddier than ever, and Dad's boots literally sank in to the top, making it hard to extract them. One refused to release causing Dad to fall forward his hands sinking into the mud.

"Oh heck", cried Little Eric. "What a mess, Dad."

"I know", he laughed. "Still it all adds to life's rich tapestry."

Fortunately in yards this section was done and a little stream to the right provided a source to wash the mud off.

After a little way, Shaun said, "we should cross the stream by that grassy strip."

Looking ahead, Grizzly pointed, "there's Pen-y-ghent one of Yorkshire's three peaks."

Drifting right we soon joined the surfaced track leading to Aughton Barns Farm, passing through right of the buildings to then turn left at Aughton Barn Cottage.

Peering at the stone lintel over the door, Little Eric said, "the name is spelt Afton, which is how the village name (Aughton) is pronounced."

The metalled road climbed very steeply to village...

...its name carved into this large stone.

"There's a seat", called out Allen. "Let's sit a while and have a break. I'll get the flask out so we can have tea, and a biscuit."

"Good idea", agreed Dad. "I'll content myself with water and a biscuit."

It was very pleasant here in the sunshine. Dad chatted briefly to a lady who was a cleaner and had come from a job. Dad commented, "that road is ever so steep and the paths have been very muddy."

"You are right about the road. Good to be out though on such a nice day after all the rainy ones", she replied.

"Indeed", agreed Dad.

Before setting off again, Tetley said, "that house will make a nice picture."

"Please take our picture for the story too, Dad", said Southey.

Settled again, Southey said, "we continue on uphill."

Progress was halted almost immediately however by Little Eric calling out, "there's the post box. A picture please Dad."

"Soon we take the footpath left", instructed Southey.

"There", called out Tetley, "over the old ladderstile."

Dad crossed the pasture to a small wood stile, the going right to the stile the fence, and on steadily climbing the huge pasture.

"There's the buildings of Claughton Brickworks and other industrial buildings, on the other side of the river", said Allen. "They're certainly making bricks."

Just a couple of minutes later, Grizzly said, "what a fine view to Ingleborough. We can also see the octagonal tower of Hornby Castle."

At the fence corner Dad climbed the stile to walk ahead, cross the footbridge and then drift right towards the buildings of Far Highfield, and its attendant tall communications tower.

"Those trees to the right will make a nice shot", suggested Little Eric.

"It looks to be that gate straight ahead", said Southey.

This looked right keeping by the hedge, but led to a dead end at the corner. "Oh sorry Dad", said Southey. "I have led us astray"

"Not to worry lad", replied Dad. "It's not the first time and we will get back to the correct route."

We backtracked and took the gate in the hedge then walked on, but somehow this was incorrect, which we realised when we saw how far away we were from from Middle Highfield.

"Hmm", said Shaun. "We should in fact have gone through the other gate close by the buildings. Then consulting the map went on, "to get back on route, we need to cross this field towards the buildings."

A barbed wire fence on the far side blocked the route, but Dad made short work of getting over. Then circling right round the large field, we picked up the correct route coming to this stile.

Entering the yard, Southey said, "there's a waymark pointing left by the fence."

Just a couple of yards round the corner a stile on the right took us onto a track that we crossed to the gap stile onto a cobbled track.

"Where now?, asked Little Eric as there were no waymarks."

"Not sure", replied Shaun.

We wandered right. A lady and gentleman who live here were passing in their car so Dad enquired. The lady said, "go back to the top of the yard and you will see the stile."

Here the path edged round right and then down over stream and along by this very tall stone wall.

The path led on by a hedge to a ladderstile. "We go immediately right through that gate", pointed Southey.

Beyond we went straight across field to this rather drunken signpost that pointed us left by the hedge towards Lower Highfield.

We were just about to continue along by the fence when we saw a young couple with their dog coming the other way. They were a bit lost so Dad suggested, "go through the gate in front then come up to the gate where I am."

Chatting it became clear they were doing the same walk but in the opposite direction. So Dad helpfully gave them a brief precis of the next part.

We followed the route they had come along the farm track. Tetley said, "there's a waymark on that gate pointing back the way we have come."

"Hmm", said Shaun. "I am sure the proper route is through the gate then up the field, which was the way we were going in reverse when we saw the couple."

Walked through the buildings to a gate and then another, and across the field to a kissing gate into the wood. A clear path led through this to exit, and then cross to and along by the hedge.

"What a super view of the valley and the wind farm on Caton Moor", called out Little Eric.

Soon we came into sight of the buildings of Hawkshead. A waymark pointed us right through the gap stile, and then right over a stile into the field. Here waymarks guided us down to a gate by a barn onto the main access track, which we followed right to Park Lane.

"Turn left", advised Shaun.

Descending steadily we passed on the left Halton Park.

Grizzly said, "this impressive house carries grade 11 listed status. It dates from about 1870 with late 17th century remains. The 19th century work is in 17th century style."

The road was enclosed but soon opened out into parkland.

Just before Allen had called out, "look at all those dead moles on the fence."

Looking up the hillside, Little Eric pointed, "that tree will make a nice picture to end the story."

The lane took us onto Low Lane, where we joined the path behind the wall that separates pedestrians from the road, and led directly into the car park.

"Super walk, with lovely views", said Allen.

"Thank you Dad, as always", said Southey.

"You are welcome, lad, but with all the mud it has been more tiring than usual."

"Home now for tea and cake?", said Tetley.

"Aye lad. But, can't wait to be able to go to a cafe though."

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