Date - 30th March 2024 Distance - 6.5 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL7
Start point - Loop of old road at Ashes Lane (SD 4883 9616)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Cunswick Scar 679 207 SD 4915 9430



Allen and Southey were reading their Lake District magazines, as Tetley strolled in. "Your Dalesman has arrived", said Southey. "It's on the table."

"Thanks pal. I'm looking forward to seeing what articles there are this month."

Looking up, Allen said, "it was really good to walk round Buttermere again, when we were at Armathwaite Hall. This week Dad has as usual been busy, but Easter is coming up. I wonder if we will be able to get a walk in."

"The general forecast has been pretty grim, but surely there will be some day when the weather will behave itself", remarked Tetley, picking up the iPad and navigating to the Met Office app. "Hmm, Friday is poor, but Saturday and Sunday look to be ok. So we will have to come up with a suggestion."

"Yes", agreed Allen. "Then I can work my magic with Dad. But I need tea and cake first."

"Ha ha" laughed Southey. "You are for sure president of the Teddy Bear Tea Belly and Cake Stuffers Society."

"And you have no room to talk", stated Tetley. "You are secretary."

While this exchange had taken place Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric had arrived with the tea and cakes, much to the delight of Allen and Southey.

"Wonderful", shouted Allen, getting the mugs and plates. "I'll help fill the mugs, Shaun."

"Thank you."

Grizzly announced, "the cake delights today are, Chorley cakes with butter from me, and chocolate coated flapjack from Little Eric."

We all dug in and with steaming mugs in paw there were contented murmurs.

"Love the flapjack", said Allen.

"So I see you are on your third piece already", replied Little Eric.

Shaun said, "the Chorley cakes are scrumptious. Thank you pal."

With Allen and Southey sated and with their third mug of tea in paw our thoughts returned to deciding in a walk.

Deep in thought, Shaun suddenly said, "how about the walk from Ratherheath and over Cunswick Fell. Last time it was rather dull, but the forecast is brighter for Saturday, so we should get some nice views."

"That was where Dad lost his GPS. Two years ago now", commented Grizzly. "A nice route so I agree with your suggestion Shaun."

"Fine by me", added Little Eric.

"Right", called out Allen, draining his mug. "I'll see what Dad thinks."

Off he trotted, Tetley saying to Shaun, "you had better refill his mug. I honestly don't know where he puts all the tea."

"Must have hollow legs", laughed Shaun.

Soon back Allen had a smile on his face. "Thanks Shaun", said accepting the steaming mug. "The walk is on. Even though we have done a story before, Dad says he will take the camera so we can write an account of the day."

"Great", cheered Southey. "Here's to Saturday."



The Walk

Easter Saturday, but the roads were not too busy and it was an easy journey to the parking on the loop of the old road at Ashes Lane. A bright and quite sunny day. Mild but the wind was cold.

While Dad got his boots etc. on we looked across Rather Heath woods that we were to walk through.

"Won't be long before they are coming into leaf", mused Tetley. "The hedges and blossom already show spring has arrived."

"If only it would stop raining and warm up it would really feel like spring", went on Grizzly. "I've never known a time when there has been so much rain. There never seems to be a day when it does not fall at some time."

"I'm ready Lads", called out Dad.

"OK", replied Southey as we go settled in the rucksack.

Shaun issued instructions. "Just a little further on the road then left along the track in the woods."

"That's a new bridge", pointed Tetley. "It was just a wide plank last time. And there was lots of debris and fallen trees following storm Arwen."

The path was very muddy the ground so saturated that it could not absorb any more water. "If only we could get some prolonged dry weather it would soon dry out", sighed Little Eric.

The track led to Ashes Lane.

"Cross the road and through the gate opposite", advised Southey.

Beyond the path led on, Grizzly calling out, "look there's that tepee like shelter, we saw last time."

"To our left lay Ratherheath Tarn all fenced off and any access gates padlocked. Passing one Dad said, "time was you could walk out on that path to get a picture."

"Private fishing", commented Grizzly. "The Windermere Ambleside and District Angling Association guard it jealously."

Although not so easy Dad managed this shot for our story.

A waymark directed us to this stone step stile.

Just as Dad was about to climb over, Grizzly said, "the gorse is coming out. Sure sign of spring."

Over the stile we turned left to cross the pasture and over the stile onto Ratherheath Lane.

Dad apologised to the gentleman and his dog who were waiting the cross the stile. "I'm not quite a nimble as I used to be."

He replied, "I know how you feel."

Going left, Shaun said, "our route is then right along the track to Moss Side."

"There's one of our favourite sheep a Herdwick", said Southey. He obliged us for Dad to get a picture.

Then as we continued, Allen called out, "there are two donkeys. Reminds me of Brian and Gerry that used to be at Elaine's at Feizor."

"One was bigger than the other, and these are not that dissimilar. So that is Brian on the left and Gerry on the right", said Little Eric.

The waymark pointed us left along the muddy track to the pretty pond.

Peering Shaun said, "those ducks are not real."

"No, and neither are those geese", pointed Tetley.

Coming to a gate, Southey said, "the track is completely flooded and there is no way you can wade through it Dad."

"No lad. I'll just clamber across the soft bank to get past."

This was not easy as his boots kept getting sucked into the mud. This done the path was much easier leading to a gate in the wall.

"Yuck", called out Little Eric, "Yet more mud."

Keeping ahead left Bank End came into view.

"That's the path through those double gates", said Shaun.

"Not a chance", cried Southey. "There's a smaller gate further up the fence though."

Close inspection revealed this was chained and padlocked. With no other alternative Dad quickly climbed the fence.

Rounding the grounds, Allen called out, "look primroses. Ahh, they always remind me of dear Uncle Brian."

Through the gate we walked right along the access. "That Forsythia in flower is beautiful", called out Grizzly.

"As we get to the start of the wood, take the gate and stile on the left", advised Southey.

By the fence to a further stile we passed this newly planted hedge.

After the stile it was right to a gate onto Crook Road, where it was clear our route was through the stile on the far side.

"At the far side of the field take the stile into the wood", advised Shaun.

There the path was extremely muddy and slippy Dad struggled to get traction, but avoided falling over.

A couple coming the other way said, "there is more mud to come, but the path is drier after about 100 yards."

"Hey ho", replied Dad. "No surprise after all the rain."

We were climbing Halhead Nab.

At the top a stile left took us across a pasture and to a gate out on to Cunswick Scar.

"Our route is right by the fence, but we want to summit the scar first", said Shaun. "To do this go straight ahead."

A short climb and there was the huge pile of stones marking the summit.

"Picture time", called out Tetley, as with the rest of us he scrambled out of the rucksack.

We took time to take in the views. Below to the east is Kendal, where Dad worked before his retirement.

Allen piped up, "we must give Uncle Eric a wave. Let's hope we soon get to walk with him too."

"That's the Whinfell Ridge", pointed Grizzly. "We had a few walks doing those fells with Uncle Eric. Whinfell Beacon is to the left then going right the ridge past the communication towers leads to Grayrigg Forest."

Looking more to the right, Little Eric pointed, "there's the Howgill Fells. Those again we explored with Uncle Eric. I recall in particular those northern valleys and fells. So little frequented. We rarely met any other walkers."

With a sigh we turned our eyes from the view, and headed down to the path by the fence. "We are looking for the gate leading into Scar Wood", advised Southey.

After a few minutes, Tetley called out, "here."

The descent path is quite steep so Dad took care. "I expected it to be more muddy than it is", commented Grizzly.

"Me too" agreed Dad, "but it is more stony, for which I am thankful."

We followed the waymarked route to exit into a field with Cunswick Tarn to left. This is fenced off some distance from the water and with the hedge having got taller no meaningful picture is now possible.

"We're heading for the wood called Ash Spring", advised Shaun.

There a gap stile gave access to the path through it, to the stile at the far side, where the waymark pointed us left leading to the access to Cunswick Hall.

"I know our route is straight across, but let's walk down and have a closer look at the Hall", suggested Grizzly.

Grizzly told us, "the house, Grade 11 listed, dates mainly from the 19th century on the site of an earlier house belonging to the Leyburn family until the 18th century. Of this fragments of a wall and a 16th century two-light stone mullioned window remain. This is said to have the oldest glass in Westmorland. It is said that the early owners entertained Henry VIII when he was courting Catherine Parr."

"Thank you as always pal", replied Southey.

Returning we now followed the waymarked path left. "There are more newly planted trees", commented Tetley.

"Yes lad", agreed Dad. "I have noted there seems to be lots of planting recently, including alongside the motorways."

"Trees are good to take CO2 out of the atmosphere, so the more the merrier, to help combat Global Warming", stated Allen.

Looking at the map, Southey advised, "we need to cross the stile on the left into the adjacent field, and then continue in the same direction."

Here there were ewes with their lambs. "There goes the sheep picture free story", sighed Allen. "Still it is lovely to see the little lambs."

Little Eric called out, "that ewe has triplets."

At the end of the field the view opened out ahead. "Ahh the Kentmere Fells", called out Tetley.

"Aye", agreed Shaun. "Yoke with Ill Bell poking up behind on the left. At the back High Street and Mardale Ill Bell. And, from the back on the right, Harter Fell, Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts just peeking over the hillside in shadow."

As we headed down to the track to Fell Gate, the field was full sheep. "Look there are more ewes with triplets", pointed Allen. "That seems to be a bit unusual, as two are more the norm."

"Aww, they look so cute", cried Little Eric. "I love this time of year. Lambs and also the flowers. Wild Garlic and the Bluebells."

Along the track to Fell Gate we walked through the buildings and right along the access.

"Just before the cattle grid we take the stile on the right and cross the tiny bridge over the hurrying beck", instructed Southey.

"We are heading to the road near those buildings", pointed Shaun. "Before we do can you take a picture of the beck please."

A gate took us onto the Crook Road. "Right to High Brundrigg on the left", called out Shaun.

"We go through the gate on the right, then left round the building", instructed Southey.

A clear path via a succession of gates led to the corner of a pasture and a gate.

"This is where we join the outward route", said Tetley. "Cross left to the gate to pick up the path to Moss Side."

Crossing Ratherheath Lane, we then followed the path through the woods towards Ashes Lane...

...and so to the car.

"Lovely", enthused Little Eric. "Thank you Dad as always."

"You're welcome lads."

"I have really enjoyed doing this again", went on Shaun.

Tetley said, "We met just nine people. It's Easter Saturday, and just a few miles away is Bowness, where is will be pretty much shoulder to shoulder!"

"Aye we have been far from the madding crowd", agreed Allen.


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