Date - 9th January 2008 Distance - 6 miles
Map - OL7
Start point - Blind Lane car park, Force Mills (NY 345913)


The Walk

This was the first account of a walk in 2008. Recently there has been such a lot of rain and some very strong winds and warnings of avalanches in the Lake District. So Dad thought that is would be advisable to do a walk at low level, as he did not want to put us in any real danger. The walk was done in the company of Uncle Eric.

Turning off the main road to Barrow in Furness there is a maze of lanes and infrequent signposts. Dad had carefully checked the map and followed the memorised turnings but despite all that he got on the wrong road and got confused and lost. Whilst he uses his GPS device on the walks this is the first time he had to use in to get to the start! After some doubling back we eventually arrived about 15 minutes late. We apologised to Uncle Eric, but felt a bit better when he said he had encountered similar problems! Dad was soon ready and we jumped into his rucksack and off we all went. First we went along the road coming to a group of buildings called Force Mills beside which is Force Falls. These were not surprisingly in spate after all the rain.

We are sorry about the tree branches getting in the way but if Dad had gone any closer he would have fallen in, and we would have got wet. Here is a long-range shot showing part of the buildings too. Once a farm, the buildings are now houses and bed and breakfast accommodation.

To get these pictures we had had to deviate off the route. Finally we started properly walking a good track through the first of many areas of delightful woodland that forms the southern end of the Grizedale Forest. The track brought us to Rusland and its church built in the stone and slate so traditional of this area.

Now we are sure that you will be familiar with the author Arthur Ransome, who, amongst his many books, wrote Swallows and Amazons that was set in the Lake District. He lived in the nearby Winster Valley at a place called Ludderburn, and on his death he was buried in a simple grave in this churchyard, together with his wife who died a few years later.

Leaving the church we entered more stark woodland, the trees bare of leaves at this time. This brought us to a road at a cluster of buildings called Force Forge. These are all now occupied as houses but we noted that one was called "The Old Forge" - probably once a blacksmiths and another was called "Old Bobbin Mill". Bobbin making was a thriving industry in this part of the Lake District in the 19th century when more that 65 were in operation, providing the wooden bobbins vital for the Lancashire spinning and weaving industry. All are gone now, closing over time as the cotton industry declined and plastic replaced wood. The one at Stott Park abandoned in 1971 was bought by English Heritage in 1983 and reopened so that tourists can see and experience the bobbin making as it was over 100 years ago.

The next section of the walk was into Grizedale Forest on paths that meandered though the woods climbing up hill and down dale intersecting at times with the wide forest roads. It was perhaps as well that we were not here last December, as we would have had to dodge the rally cars racing through the Forest on the Coppermines Grizedale Stages Rally. A wide sweep on the road took us round this pretty tarn.

Nearby we stopped for lunch sitting on a low wall in the shelter of the woods and out of the cold wind. Dad took our photo here but the quality was not good enough to include it. As we said Grizedale Forest is very large and has many different trails that people can follow and there is interesting things to see including sculptures. On a visit in 2001, Dad took this photo of Shaun and Tetley.

Our route now took us through Hob Gill Plantation. Gill is another name for a stream and at times Uncle Eric and Dad thought they were actually walking in the stream so wet was the path with running water. Thankfully we were in the rucksack and kept our paws dry! We dropped down to the road and then walked on to the pretty village of Satterthwaite.

As we walked through we paused to look at the stone buildings and whitewashed cottages of this very typical Lakeland village. We were almost now at the end of our walk for today but first we had to climb up and over Force Knott. From the top we were rewarded with this lovely view of snow capped Dow Crag and Coniston Old Man.

Once back at the car, we jumped out and settled on the back seat to have our sandwiches, with some of our other friends who had come to see Uncle Eric. He and Dad drove to Jane and Sam's Hat Trick Cafe for tea and cake. Now why are we not surprised!


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