AN EXPLORATION of the COUNTRYSIDE NORTH & NORTH EAST of STAVELEY from BARLEY BRIDGE

 


Summary

Date - 30th August 2021 & 10th March 2011 Distance - 6.25 miles
Ascent -
1260 ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Parking area near Barley Bridge, Staveley (SD 4698 9879)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Foreword

When we first did this walk in March 2011 with Uncle Eric, the weather was very poor with periods of rain accompanied by strong winds, necessitating having to take shelter under trees at times. The views were poor or none existent, and consequently Dad took few pictures. This meant that is was just not possible to write a story in 2011. At Allen's suggestion we repeated the walk on a much better day in 2021 and Dad made sure to take plenty of pictures. So finally we can now bring this adventure to life.

 

Preface

It was Friday, and all was well, as Shaun had arrived with the tea, and Grizzly and Little Eric had brought cakes.

"Oh great", cheered Southey, "I'm ready for a cuppa, as I know you are pal."

"Quite", replied Allen as he got the mugs and plates. "I'll help pour the tea. Ramblears blend?"

"Thanks" replied Shaun. "Yes of course our special tea."

Little Eric announced, "Grizzly has made mincemeat slice today, and I have made chocolate coated flapjack."

Southey added, "I have made some sultana scones and there is butter and raspberry jam."

"Super", said Tetley. "You are ace at scones, pal."

So we all dug in and enjoyed the cakes and tea.

Shaun said, "love the mincemeat slice", Grizzly, as he took another piece.

"The scones are delicious", said Allen, who by now was on his third.

"So I see, cake stuffer", laughed Southey. "Just glad you like them." He then went on , "the flapjack is delicious too, Little Eric."

"Thanks." Then he turned the conversation to walking. "I wonder if we will get out this weekend?"

"Not likely pal", replied Tetley. "It is the F1 Belgium Grand Prix on Sunday, and there will be qualifying he will want to watch on Saturday. However Dad will not be going to Elaine's on Monday, being bank holiday, so that is an option if the weather is set fair."

Grizzly picked up the iPad and after a few taps said, "the forecast is for a cloudy day but dry and hardly any wind."

"OK so far, now we need to come up with and idea", went on Southey.

There was quiet for while we thought about this, before Allen said, "as you know Tetley and I are helping Dad with the rewrite of our early stories. We are now on 2011, and there is one where it is impossible to write one due to lack of pictures, as it rained for quite a lot of the time and as a consequence there were no views."

"Oh yes, the one from Staveley", said Tetley. "In a loop to the north then another to the north east. We have done a section of it since, but those pictures do not help to bring the day to life."

"So we need to look it up and get the route in our minds then suggest a repeat to Dad", agreed Shaun.

The laptop was booted up and the route comments were brought up, while Allen opened the OS maps app and centred it on Staveley.

"Right, you read the route notes Allen, while I trace it on the map", said Shaun.

Thankfully Dad's notes were comprehensive and soon the route was traced. "It is a figure of eight route starting from Barley Bridge", said Tetley. "There is a layby for parking just a hundred yards or so along the road towards Kentmere."

Allen drained his mug, then taking the iPad went off to ask Dad, saying, "can you refill by mug please Shaun."

"Sure" he replied. Then laughing he remarked, "that will be his fourth. Truly the arch tea belly, just like Dad."

"Your not far behind Southey", commented Tetley. "You're on your third.

"I know but this Ramblears tea is so delicious."

Allen was soon back and the smile on his face told us Dad had agreed. "Yes pals the walk is on. We will be setting off early so that we can be at Staveley by 08:30, to ensure we get parked as space is limited."

"That's no problem", cheered Little Eric. "Roll on Monday."

 

 

The Walk

Being bank holiday, setting off early meant the roads were still quiet. In Staveley we took the road signed Kentmere, soon passing Barley Bridge, Tetley pointing, "here's the parking area by the river."

Dad got ready, while we looked at the River Kent flowing gently by, Shaun saying, "that lane on the far side is the one we walk along initially.

The day was cloudy and dry with little wind as forecast, Tetley saying, "quite a contrast to the wind and heavy rain showers when we walked in 2011."

"I'm ready", called out Dad. "Come and get settled in the rucksack."

"Right ho", replied Southey.

This on Dad's back he strode off the hundred yards or so to Barley Bridge, which we crossed.

After the dry weather the weir was hardly flowing in contrast to it being in spate in 2011.

"Turn left onto Hall Lane", called out Shaun.

That's Ravenscar Plantation", pointed Allen. "The lower eastern slopes of Reston Scar that we have climbed a few times, as it is one of the Wainwright Outlying summits."

A lady was ahead walking her dog that kept stopping to sniff the ground and so we caught her up. She asked where we were going, so Dad briefly explained, and telling here the initial section was through Scroggs Farm.

"The bridleway to the farm has recently been relaid", she replied. "It was terribly muddy and full of potholes, but now is a stark white concrete strip. Needs some muck on it to tone it down."

"Oh yes, I see" said Dad looking ahead.

Saying goodbye to her, Dad now strode on to soon go left along the recently relaid access to Scroggs Farm.

Looking left, Grizzly said, "that's Black Crag on Hugill Fell. At the top of that is the cairn that is the Wainwright Outlying summit."

"That's right", replied Tetley. "When he originally wrote the book the only way to access the fell was from a path that climbed up beside a house from the Kentmere road. It is not actually the highest point, this at the time being on private land. All has changed since the CRoW Act, and all the fell is open to walkers. It is possible to do a round walk first to Reston Scar then across to the highest point on Hugill Fell at 273m and return via the cairn that is the Wainwright summit at 260m and down to the road."

Reaching the farm Shaun said, "we go through the buildings and then follow the rough track to a narrow road."

At the road this sign was immediately before us.

"That's the route, up to Elfhowe", said Shaun.

The lane climbed to the buildings, Little Eric commenting, "on the day in 2011 with Uncle Eric, it was raining heavily here and we took shelter under the trees until it passed over."

"We take the route to Hall Lane", advised Shaun.

Looking at the signpost, Southey said, "which one, both the paths go there?"

"The bridleway route right past Low Elfhowe", replied Shaun.

I looked Elfhowe up in Diana Whaley's book", said Grizzly. "It means 'the hill associated with elves'. She goes on to say, the exact nature of the sprites - whether threatening or playful - is elusive."

We looked about as we walked on but there were none to be seen.

After a gate, the bridleway between walls led a further gate, and across the bridge over Hall Beck. Now in open pasture the path went left by the pretty beck...

...to soon swing away right and climb to a gate onto Hall Lane.

"Turn left, and then we take the path right in a few yards by those trees", called out Southey.

Over the double stile we climbed up the pasture by the pretty stream towards the buildings of Ghyll Bank.

"We see lots of super pictures of large waterfalls on Facebook taken by David McGonnigal", said Tetley. "You should take a shot of that little one on the beck, in praise of tiny waterfalls."

After crossing a stile, Shaun said, "we go right by the boundary wall of Ghyll Bank."

This soon brought us onto the surfaced access that we followed to the narrow road.

"Right here, then at the next junction take the narrower road left", instructed Southey.

Allen said, "that is Brunt Knott to the left. Another Wainwright Outlying Fell."

Tetley added, "we last climbed that on 21st October 2012. We bagged the last unnamed summit on that day too, so we could finally say that all 116 named and unnamed summits of the Wainwright Outlying Fells according to the Long Distance Walking Association, had been reached."

"It never ceases to amaze me how you remember all these facts pal", said Southey.

Striding on Shaun said, "after the field boundary, we immediately take the path right."

This climbed by the wall to a stile to come to a gateway ahead. "Ignore that and go left by the wall", called out Shaun.

Grizzly said, "look, there's the Williamson Monument on High Knott. Distantly to the right are the Langdale Pikes. Loft Crag, Pike o'Stickle and Harrison Stickle."

"Those would definitely not have been in view on the day with Uncle Eric", stated Little Eric.

The grassy path descended steadily on and on, through a gateway, then with open pasture to the right, where sheep were grazing.

"Look", pointed Southey, "That lamb is begging to have its picture taken."

"Hmph", growled Allen. "And here I was hoping for another sheep picture free story."

The path descended finally to Hall Lane, gained via this large ladderstile with grab rails on the road side. "Very considerate for older walkers", commented Allen.

Here we went left back to Barley Bridge.

"Ok", said Shaun, "now for the second part. Do not cross the bridge rather walk on a few yards then left past those houses.

Note the lady pruning the bushes. Dad stopped to have a few words with here, which came as no surprise to us.

At the end it was through a gate into a field where there were hens. Stretching ahead was the steep ascent via gates and ladderstiles.

After the gate we paused to take in the view north. "Sallows, Capple Howe and Sour Hows", said Little Eric. "I recall we passed that line of trees on the ascent to Sallows."

The ascent steepened to reach this ladderstile.

"We haven't had our picture taken yet", said Grizzly. "Let's sit here on the top of the stile."

"Good idea", agreed Tetley, as we scrambled out of the rucksack."

Past the wood we climbed a stile then Shaun pointed, "now we need to drift right to that ladderstile and then descend with the wall to the left, to Littlewood Farm."

Little Eric said, "the arrow now points us left to the farmyard."

"Yes pal", said Southey, "but that is not our route. We take the gate right then immediately right through the fence. Cross the pasture to that gate then ahead by that line of trees."

This brought us to the access track to Piked Howe. "Left here to the fell road then right", said Shaun.

The road meandered to come to a gate across it, Dad holding it open for a lady who was running.

"Hello and thank you", she said.

Southey called out, "we go left here by the wall along the bridleway."

Beyond the next gate it was walled on both sides. Soon we came to a large wooden gate on the right, with the sign Mike's Wood.

"That's our route", advised Shaun.

Quite soon we came to a seat, where we sat for a while enjoying the peace and tranquillity. "So lovely", said Allen, "Uncle Brian would have loved to sit here. I can hardly believe that it is nearly two years since he died." Then he said, "I miss him every day", his voice breaking with emotion.

"I know pal", said Tetley putting a comforting paw on his shoulder. "We all do."

The path led on at one point through a gap created in a fallen tree.

At a wall gap we continued on through the delightful woodland, to descend to a wider path, here going left to eventually pass through another wood gate into the delightful Dorothy Farrer's wood.

The path wound on and on descending finally to a gate to the right. Checking the map, Shaun said, "it's through that gate then right along the wide path to the road and turn right."

"We will come to a junction, where we go right, then at a corner is the entrance to Craggy Wood", stated Southey.

There the path climbed quite steeply through this winding back and forth with the aid of steps at times. There were large crags on the left and the trees are very tall and quite old. Finally at the top we then went left along the ridge to the viewpoint.

"That tree clad hill across the pasture is called Spy Crag", said Little Eric looking up from the map. "It would be a nice summit to bag, if only it was not private land."

"There's the Kentmere Fells", pointed Tetley. "Yoke with Ill Bell behind, then at the back from the left Thornthwaite Crag, High Street & Mardale Ill Bell. Finally on the right Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike."

After a few minutes another view to the west opened up. "Reston Scar, with distantly the Coniston Fells", said Allen.

Onwards the path was narrow for a section as it crossed by some crags and descended via some steps.

Passing some more crags...

...we wound round right, near a huge tree with a rope used by the local kids to play on.

Soon coming to the end of the wood we crossed the awkward step stile to regain the ascent path and descended with Staveley before us to the car. This picture was taken in 2011.

As we crossed the bridge Little Eric pointed right, "look Dad a post box. Please take a picture.

"Looks like it's had one to many to drink", commented Tetley with a laugh.

"What a lovely walk", said Southey. "Most of it was completely new to me. Thank you Allen for suggesting it."

"You're welcome pal."

Across from the car there were some plants for sale. "I'm going to get two of those for £2 to put in one of the pots in the garden", said Dad. "I am fed up with the plant currently in it."

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