Our 500th walk story


Date - 1st May 2024 Distance - 6.25 miles
Ascent -
870 ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Otter Bank (SD 5316 9723)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



We were having tea and cakes. "Mmm, the chocolate caramel shortbread is delicious, Little Eric", enthused Allen, taking another piece.

"You're welcome", he replied.

"As always your Chorley cakes are scrumptious, Grizzly", went on Shaun.

"Glad you like them. And Southey, thank you for the cherry and ginger scones. Absolutely delicious."

"Yes" agreed Tetley. "You are truly the ace scone maker."

Allen meanwhile had the iPad in paw. "I see that we have a day down to walk with Uncle Eric next Wednesday." Then a few taps later to view the Met Office app, he said, "the weather looks to be set fair too. It will be so good to have his company."

"Do we need to come up with an suggestion?", said Little Eric.

"I do not think so", replied Shaun. "Uncle Eric has mentioned a walk from Otter Bank. Whilst some will likely be on paths we have walked before, there will be some new routes."

"It does not matter. That area is so quiet and beautiful, with fine views of the Howgills and Whinfell Ridge. It will be a lovely day."

"There will be a story", said Grizzly. "I have been looking at the statistics, and it will be our 500th!"

"Wow", said Shaun. "That's amazing. I am sure Dad never expected that he would help us write so many."

"But just great", called out Allen. "That is so many days that we can bring back to life and enjoy again. We would have otherwise forgotten so much of them."

"A big shout out to Dad for all the time he has spent tapping away on the laptop to create them", cheered Tetley.

"He's just the best", enthused Little Eric.


The Walk

A day that was dry and quite sunny & warm. Allen commented, "for the first time this year it truly feels like spring!", as we drove to through Kendal taking the A6 north.

After a few miles we reached the start point at Otter Bank parking in the layby. Uncle Eric was already there and we called out a greeting, "hi good to see you."

"And you lads", he replied.

Our pals Barnaby and Lee who always come to see him, went to say hello too.

Barnaby, left, went to work with Dad every day. Dad worked with Uncle Eric, and he came to like Barnaby. Now with both Dad and Uncle Eric long retired, he comes to see him when they meet for walks. Lee comes along as he is Barnaby's best pal. On a holiday in Florida, Dad and Uncle Brian went to the Kennedy Space Centre, taking Lee. Dad spotted the jumper in the shop, saying to Uncle Brian, "that will fit Lee." With the stars and stripes on the front, it has the word NASA in white on the back. You will see to that Dad was able to get him a name badge as well.

So, to the walk. We were looking about as Dad got ready. Noting old cats eyes in the surface, Tetley said, "this must once have been the actual A6, until it was upgraded to take out the bend."

"The trees look lovely", pointed Allen. "It will be a nice shot to start the story."

Ready for the off, Uncle Eric said, "we walk up the minor road left."

After a few minutes, Allen called out, "primroses. I always think of dear Uncle Brian when I see them."

Uncle Eric said, "we will soon branch left along Dry Lane."

Noting the sign, Grizzly said, "it seems paradoxical, but when we walked it from the other direction on a previous occasion, there were dips that were indeed flooded."

Making our way along, Shaun said, "it could well have been once open as a road as there is evidence that it once had a tarmac surface."

"Ahh, bluebells", called out Tetley. "Such a lovely sight in spring."

Ten minutes later, Southey called out, "just look at those sheep all standing in a row."

"Oh yes", laughed Allen. "Now you know I prefer no sheep pictures, but those are ok."

Strolling on Shaun said, "there's that pretty tarn. It shows how much rain there has been from the fence and gate being submerged."

"It has no name", commented Allen. "Like Inominate Tarn on Haystacks, where the ashes of Alfred Wainwright are scattered. He was the inspiration to us to climb the mountains and fells in the Lake District."

Onwards we reached a road. "Cross then a few yards left it is through that gate and follow the cart track that leads over two large fields", instructed Shaun.

The fields were full of ewes and lambs, these posing for Dad.

"OK", huffed Allen. "That's it for sheep pictures in this story."

Crossing a small field we came to Selside School.

Observing the date stones above the doors, Grizzly said, "it was built by subscription in 1831, and rebuilt in 1897."

"In such beautiful countryside", Southey said, "what a truly idyllic place to go to school!"

Passing Brackenrigg Side opposite the school, Shaun said, "we take this track that leads to Steel Croft."

Striding on Uncle Eric read the next instruction. "After a wall opening we go through the gate on the right into a field."

Over the stile in the fence, then joined the cart track to go left over the shoulder hill.

We paused to look back over the pastoral scene towards the school...

...and then looking to Steel Croft, with the Whinfell Ridge beyond.

The track descended passing this clump of tall trees above Bouthwaite Farm.

To enter the farmyard we were faced with a large and small gate. "The small one is surely intended to be used by walkers", pointed Little Eric.

Well, one would have thought so but as Dad went to open it he exclaimed, "it is padlocked!"

Straight through the yard via gates into a field we came by a tall pylon.

"That boulder is an erratic", said Grizzly. "Pink Shap granite."

Shaun said, "follow the wall to the top of the field and go through the gate on the right. Then keep initially by the wall left and on through a gate."

There were fine views again of the Whinfell Ridge, although the visibility was not too sharp, but we include this of Whinfell Beacon and the ridge right topped with the communication towers leading to Grayrigg Forest.

Now we had to drift right and descend to the awkward stone step stile onto the road.

"Turn right", said Southey. "Then it is left through a gate and head across the field in the direction of a distant pylon."

On the far side this stile and footbridge crosses the Light Water.

To the right are the buildings of Whitwell Folds. "Oh look", called out Grizzly. "There are lots of different sculptures in the grounds including a tall giraffe."

We would have liked Dad to take a picture of this, but the owners were working in the garden, so we had to be content with this amazing owl carving.

"Go left at the drive", said Uncle Eric.

Through the yard a narrow path led to a small gate into a field. Crossing to the far side and a gate we followed by the hedge/wall on the right to the bottom.

Southey said, "through the gateway ahead, then turn sharp right to follow up the hedge to a stone step stile."

This again was awkward to get over. So straight ahead to a gateway, Shaun saying, "in a few yards go left over the stile along the grassy fenced path with the stream to the left." This shot was obviously taken looking back.

This brought us by the River Mint.

At the corner a stile left and stone footbridge was our route.

Uncle Eric told us, "this small choked stream was once the leat for Patton Mill to provide the power."

The narrow trod led on, Dad saying, "we walked this section in the opposite direction on the other walk. We need to swing right to that fence. There is a bar missing in the rail stile. If we go the right we can get round the fence."

"Good memory Dad", said Tetley.

Through the trees the path led past this somewhat dilapidated patio set...

...and to the road at Patton Mill, dating from 1246.

Striding on we soon came to the hamlet of Patton Bridge. "Go right a few yards, then left along that lane in front of the cottages", pointed Shaun.

This became a track passing under this arch. "It carries the access to Shaw End", stated Tetley.

Beyond we kept right passing a converted barn, the track continuing left.

"According to the instructions we'll pass and old drinking trough", said Southey.

"Here on the left", called out Little Eric.

Beyond a gate, Southey said, "we should look for a kissing gate left onto a good track."

"There", called out Allen.

Along this Tetley commented, "there's a fine view of Shaw End, apart from the large tree."

"I can tell you a bit about it", said Grizzly. "The house was built in 1796 by the Shepherd family, who were wealthy mill owners, the families ancestors having lived at Field End in the early 1600s. It was designed by Francis Webster who was responsible for many of Westmorland's country houses. The house was restored by the current owners and is let as luxury self catering holiday accommodation. It is a grade II listed building."

The track led us over a hill to come to a clump of mature beech trees on the right. Uncle Eric said, "it's through that kissing gate into the field, and up by the fence."

A ewe was standing near the fence. Tetley said, "I reckon those two lambs on he opposite side are that ewes."

We looked along, Allen saying, "however did they get there? And now of course they cannot find their way back."

Dad had paused and moved towards the fence. "I am thinking about trying to lift them over."

"Best to leave well alone", replied Southey.

"Aye lad you're right. Maybe the farmer will come along and reunite them."

At the top we took the gate right to then continue in the same direction with wall to the left and reach Field End via a gate.

"Past the farmhouse then over the cattle grid onto the drive", said Shaun.

"What's that curious device?" pointed Little Eric.

To be honest we were all mystified. One thought was that is was perhaps part of an old water pump operated by turning the wheel.

"Turn left past the converted barn", called out Shaun.

The walled lane led into a field and the path took us over the hill to Old Field End Farm past these converted barns.

Looking back Little Eric said, "that fine tree will make a nice picture."

In the yard we met the farmer and his daughter and quite a chat ensued. Some about respecting the countryside, and the fact that some walkers do not close gates etc.

Uncle Eric said, "this is such a lovely area."

The farmer agreed adding, "don't tell too many people though."

Finding Uncle Eric was from Kendal the discussion turned to how the town has gone down in recent years. Hearing Dad was from Morecambe he said, "if I ever get to retire, that's where I want to live in a house with a view over Morecambe Bay."

Dad agreed, "saying there are fantastic sunsets."

His daughter however was not so keen saying, "I like it here where I grew up."

Frankly we can't disagree with her.

Saying goodbyes we climbed the stile and crossed the field to a gate. Beyond Shaun said, "drift up to the boundary by the trees, to stile at the top."

This was another tall stone step stile that was not easy to get over. Dad and Uncle Eric admit they are not quite as agile these days.

Striding on the path led to and through the right of two gates and down to Patton Hall Farm. "There's a good place to sit for our picture", pointed Allen.

As we settled back into the rucksack, Southey advised, "it's through that gate and past the farmhouse, and then along the drive to road."

"Left here", said Uncle Eric. "Then we must look out for the stile signed Hipshow Farm."

It is easy to miss being tucked in a corner just off the road, but ever eagle eyed, Tetley called out, "here!"

"I suspect that summer vegetation may make access to this difficult", mused Grizzly.

Crossing the field brought us to Hipshow Farm passing in front of the farmhouse. "After that gate, we go right up a rough narrow stony track that serves as water channel", advised Uncle Eric.

The short steep climb at the end took us onto the road at Broadthorn. Here we met a gentleman looking after his grandchildren He spotted us and so we got introduced.

"Straight ahead along the road", advised Southey.

"Look, the bluebells on that bank are quite beautiful", pointed Little Eric.

"We're looking for a stile left towards Garnett Folds", said Shaun.

After a short way, Tetley pointed, "it's here."

Walking uphill through a gate, Uncle Eric said, "we bear right to that gate and on to Garnett Folds."

Yet another awkward stone step stile took us into the garden and out to the road.

"Left, then it is right on the fenced access to Edge Bank", said Uncle Eric.

"We want the gate to the left of the buildings", said Shaun.

Then across the field to a stile, and then right to another stile and footbridge.

Southey said, "across the next two fields keeping by left boundary to stile onto lane at start."

"What a super walk!" called out Little Eric.

"Such beautiful scenery!" added Allen.

Thank you Uncle Eric for suggesting it. We have thoroughly enjoyed it!", went on Tetley.

"You are welcome lads. It is truly a lovely area to walk."

So arrangements were made for another meeting, and then a very happy group we settled in the car for the journey home.


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