Date - 17th January 2010 Distance - 9.5 miles
Ascent - 650ft
Map - OL19 Start point - Boroughgate, Appleby (NY 684201)



Allen, Grizzly & Little Eric were chatting, while munching on some Kendal Mint Cake that they were sharing.

"Despite the fact that the snow has kept us off the fells, we have managed to get out locally and do a few walks", remarked Allen.

"Dad had said that it has helped to keep his fitness up for when we venture on to the mountains again", Grizzly replied.

"I haven't minded, as it has taken me to places I have not visited before", chipped in Little Eric. He went on, "have you seen the weather forecast for Sunday?"

"Looks alright", replied Allen.

"So a walk will be on hopefully", said Little Eric.

"Sure is", called out Tetley, who had just sauntered in with Shaun.

Shaun went on, "we are going further afield, to walk from Appleby, taking in Rutter Force and Great Ormside. Tetley and I did it with Dad and Uncle Eric many years ago."

"Like Dad, all we can really remember is the impressive Rutter Force, so it will be nice to refresh our memories, and completely new for you three", added Tetley.

"Here's to Sunday", cheered Little Eric.


The Journey & Tour of Appleby

Eager to be off, we dashed out to settle on the car, calling out goodbyes to Uncle Brian and the rest of the Hug

"Take care lads and have a good time", said Uncle Brian.

As Dad pulled out of the drive, Little Eric asked, "how do we get to Appleby."

Tetley replied, "north on the M6 to junction 37 at Tebay then the road signed to Appleby."

Nearing Tebay we passed the Howgill Fells. "They were completely blanketed in snow last week, but much has melted away, leaving a patchwork of green and white", commented Grizzly.

Leaving the motorway at Tebay, we continued on the road towards Appleby. After a few miles, we passed through the village of Orton. "We've done a few walks from here over the years", said Shaun.

The road then climbed over Orton Fell, where the snow was still piled at the sides, where it had been cleared by the snow ploughs. Then in just a few miles we reached our destination, Dad parking near the castle, at the top of the main street called Boroughgate.

Before the local government reorganisation in 1974, Appleby had been the county town of Westmorland. The reorganisation merged the counties of Westmorland and Cumberland to form Cumbria. Subsequently, the 'in Westmorland", was added to the name of Appleby, in recognition of its former status. The town is world famous for its Horse Fair, set up by charter in 1685 as a fair for horse trading, running for a week in June, ending on the 2nd Wednesday in June. It is the largest of its kind in the world, attracting a huge gypsy gathering.

In February last year Dad and Uncle Brian with Hug pals Barnaby, Citroen, Dougal and Lee visited Appleby. They have kindly agreed to allow us to use some of the pictures taken then to illustrate some of the town, and narrate this part.

First however is the view down Boroughgate, taken today.

Here is our pals account of their visit.

There was snow everywhere. "Just look how magnificent the Howgill Fells are blanketed in snow", said Barnaby. "They look to be very wild places."

"STAG have walked extensively on them", replied Dougal. "Very brave it you ask me."

Driving over the fell road all was white to either side. "I love seeing the snow", said Uncle Brian."

At Appleby, Lee said, "we'll stay in the car for now while you go and see Caron at her shop and have lunch. We have brought our own picnic." We should mention that Caron is married to Andrew the son of Alan and Maureen who live next door but one.

This done Dad came to get us and set out to explore. At the end of Boroughgate is St Lawrence's Church. "Can we visit please?", asked Citroen.

Barnaby had done some research and told us, "the oldest part of the church is the lower tower dating from the 12 century. During the Border Wars, the church was destroyed and rebuilding took place in the 14th century, with restoration in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The porch was built in about 1300, but the arch with its dog-tooth moulding is about 100 years older."

In front stand the impressive cloisters, designed by Sir Robert Smirke in 1811.

"Do you know anything about the obelisk, Barnaby?, asked Lee.

"There is one at each end of Boroughgate. High Cross dating from the the 17th century, stands near the castle gates, and we passed it on the way in to town. This is Low Cross being and 18th century copy of High Cross."

We walked around the streets some more, then it was time to be heading home. Dad drove to the top of Boroughgate, Dougal saying, "it would be nice to have a picture of High Cross."

Barnaby said, "the High Cross bears the inscription 'Retain your loyalty, preserve your rights'."

Lee said, "will you take our picture sitting on that seat to record our visit, please Dad?"

"Of course lad."

(l-r)- Dougal, Lee, Barnaby & Citroen

"You're not looking at the camera, Citroen", said Barnaby.

"I'm distracted by the wonderful view over the roof tops of the Pennines deeply covered in snow", he replied.

The summits in view are Cross Fell, Little Dun Fell and Great Dun Fell, on which can be seen the dome of the radar station.

This has by necessity been just a short tour of the town, and much more information can be gleaned from the following link - Appleby-in-Westmorland

Thank you pals for your contribution, and so finally to -


The Walk

While Dad got his boots on etc, we hopped into the rucksack and got comfortable. From the notes taken when Shaun and Tetley had done the walk in 2002, it was clear that Dad would have to climb many stiles.

"It will be interesting to know how many", said Grizzly, "so I will count them as we go along".

"I'll take a note every so often so we don't forget where we have got to", volunteered Allen.

"Thanks", replied Grizzly.

"Right", said Dad, "let's be off."

"Along Shaws Weind, in the direction we have come from in the car", instructed Shaun.

After a few hundred yards, Dad suddenly stopped and exclaimed, "darn, I have left my stick planted in the verge by the car."

He hurried back and sure enough there it was. "What are you like!", cried Tetley. "Just wait until we tell Uncle Brian. He will not be surprised".

Now finally we were really on our way. At the junction Shaun said, "we go right on the road signed Colby. Then in a few yards, "over the stile here on the left."

"The first of many stiles to come", laughed Tetley.

At the top of the first field is this interesting cross step stile that Dad photographed when he first did the walk in August 2002, so explaining the verdant vegetation.

"That will be three", called out Grizzly, "including the stile on the left a little further along the track that we will cross into the next field."

"Noted", replied Allen.

As we walked up this field we met a local gentleman walking his dog, and Dad unsurprisingly stopped to chat. They talked generally about the walking in this area, and the gentleman was interested in the route we were taking today. He had never done the part from Hoff to Rutter Force, but liked the idea of that route and said he would look it up when he got home.

The route continued over numerous fields and more stiles, finally coming beside the Hoff Beck at Bandley Bridge.

As we were crossing, Dad paused so that we could enjoy the views up and down the beck.

"How delightful", said Allen. "We must include one in our story."

"The one looking up stream", suggested Little Eric. "I like the light on the trees that Dad has caught nicely", as he looked at the screen on the camera.

Grizzly said, "Hoff Beck becomes Colby Beck at the village of the same name. Just under a mile further it then empties into the River Eden."

Shaun advised, "we turn left now, alongside the beck."

The path soon entered a hazel copse, and keeping to the top path at the junction we came to a stile in the fence.

"I'm warm, so am going to take my jumper off", said Dad.

"That means we will have to get out of the rucksack, so we might as well sit on the stile and pose for picture", said Allen.

"That's stile thirteen", called out Grizzly.

"Noted", replied Allen once again.

Off again, we walked along above the beck, and then down some well placed duck boarding to come beside it.

Below this the river bank had been undermined by the water, so the duck boarding had fallen away, making the descent rather awkward.

"That will make another delightful shot of Hoff Beck", suggested Little Eric.

Clear of the trees the path continued on over more fields. At one point it was extremely muddy, the ground now very wet with the thaw having set in.

"Oh heck", said Dad. "It is so hard to get my foot out against the sucking of the mud. I wish the ground was still deeply frozen!"

"As do I", remarked a gentleman coming in the opposite direction.

Eventually the path led to the hamlet of Hoff, where, at the farm we saw the first lambs of the year. "Blimey", said Tetley. "They are ever so early."

We could not get very close, so this was the best shot Dad was able to take.

As we passed the farmhouse, Dad stopped to chat to the farmer and his wife, remarking, "those lambs are very early."

The farmer replied, "the ewes are not expected to lamb until March, but for these I had not got the tup (ram) out of the field soon enough! She lambed on her own about ten days ago, in temperatures of minus 14C, which just shows how hardy they are! As soon as we realised, the ewe and her lambs were kept inside where it was warm. They have been let out again just today, as the weather is much milder."

At the end of the farm drive, we were now at the main road we had driven along this morning. Shaun instructed, "we go along the lane opposite, then after a few hundred yards, take the track left and cross Hoff Beck by the bridge."

More stiles and fields followed. We came to a footbridge right, Little Eric asking, "do we cross or keep straight ahead."

"Keep ahead", replied Shaun. "Then cross the beck again right at the next."

Continuing downstream we soon reached a narrow road and the small group of buildings at Rutter Force that was in spate.

"Wow", said Allen, "that's an impressive sight."

The picture is taken from the bridge over the beck, Grizzly saying, "that makes four times we have crossed Hoff Beck since Bandley Bridge."

Tetley remarked, "when we did this walk in August 2002, the mill was open to the public, and there was a cafe too. It is sad to see that this has gone and that the old mill is now a private house."

"Follow the narrow lane to Broadmire Road and turn left", advised Shaun.

Dad strode off the road bending right, Shaun saying, "the instructions now state, 'take the stiled footpath, signposted Ormside'."

"Here it is", pointed Little Eric. "However it is now signed Donkeys Nest!"

"That's odd", remarked Grizzly.

"Yes" replied Shaun, scrutinising the map. He went on, "the path leads to a road by a house, but the map says it is called Porch Cottage."

"Well it is definitely the right route", said Dad climbing yet another stile.

First we walked up a large field, then after a stile, crossed slightly left to a gate. As we approached, Allen suddenly called out, "well that explains it, Porch Cottage has been renamed Donkeys Nest".

Shaun now advised, "go left along the lane, then at the crossroads continue ahead to descend past a caravan site, and then climb the quiet road to the village of Great Ormside."

Just before the railway bridge that carries the Settle-Carlisle line, Dad stopped to look at an imposing house to the right. "That looks like an ex railway building as the architecture is typical of the Midland Railway, who built this line", he remarked.

"You're right", agreed Grizzly. "It is called 'Old Station Master's House'."

At some time the building has been extended with the addition of the section nearest the camera. This is clearly seen when comparing it with the old picture of the station, below.

We then went the short distance along the lane, to come to a building that was once Ormside station. "It's largely unaltered, apart from an ugly extension on the left end", commented Allen.

The current use is as a school.

Dad took us behind the building close to the fence that now blocks it from the track, and we could see clearly what little is left of the platform. This with a number of other minor stations along the line was closed in the 1960's as part of the 'Beeching Axe'. From Dad's book on the history of the line, here is a picture of what the station was like when it was open.

Nearby is Ormside Viaduct, photographed a little later in the walk, but included here for the sake of continuity with the railway theme.

This carries the line over the River Eden for the first time, and one of the piers, the one immediately to the left of the right stronger pier, stands in the river. The picture shows clearly that each fourth pier of the viaduct is of greater strength. In all there are ten arches and in total it is 200 yards long and 90 feet high. The construction took place between 1870 and 1875.

From the station we walked on into the village. Ormside means 'the seat of Orm'. He was a Viking, probably one of the Halfdans, Danes who pillaged Northumbria and eventually settled in the Dales, arriving in this district around 915AD.

Shaun said, "there is an old AA sign along here, so let's see if we can spot it."

We were nearing the end of the line of houses and buildings, when Allen shouted, "there it is!"

Later Grizzly did some research and was able to tell us, "they were set up by the AA more than 80 years ago, and apparently they are called village signs. It seems that as well as showing the distance to the nearest places, they always stated the distance to London. 273 miles in Great Ormside's case."

Looking ahead, Little Eric piped up, "is that the sycamore tree you told us about Tetley?"

"Yes", Tetley replied. "It is reputed to have been planted in 1693, and is thought to have replaced a preaching cross, possibly destroyed in the Civil War."

"Even bare of its foliage, it is enormous. Quite a sight then, when in leaf", said Tetley.

Just along the lane we soon arrived at the gates to St James' Church, and once through Dad strolled up the path.

The present building sits on the site of earlier places of worship, the massive squat west tower having been built in the 13th century, and clearly having a defensive function.

Can we have as look inside?", asked Grizzly.

"Sure thing lad. I can take a picture of the nave and chancel."

The nave is a combination of 11th 12th and 14th century masonry. Originally the chancel was much smaller, but was lengthened in the 12th century and later widened to the south in the 17th century. To the left of the nave is the Hilton Chapel, built in the 17th century and Cyprian Hilton of Ormside Hall was buried there in 1693. On the wall in here, we were fascinated to see displayed a copy of the will of the Black Prince, son of Edward III. The will is believed to have been written by John de Grote at one time a priest of Ormside, who later became attached to the royal household. It would have been written before the Black Prince set out on his last venture to the continent. He died in 1376.

Some amazing finds have been made in the churchyard -

In 1823 the 'Ormside Bowl' dating from the 7th to 8th centuries was unearthed. Pictures of it were on display too, and it is quite magnificent, and we could see why it is regarded as one of the country's most valuable and rare Anglo-Saxon artefacts. It is now on display in the Yorkshire Museum in York. The following link is the only picture we could find on the Internet - www.theposthole.org/read/article/28

In 1898 a Viking burial of a warrior with his sword was discovered. The sword can be seen in Tullie House Museum in Carlisle.

Dad put a donation in the box before leaving, and we hope that the vicar did not mind that we sat in the porch to have our picnic. While we munched away, we discussed all we had seen in Great Ormside and reflected on what an education it had been.

Retracing our steps to the road, Shaun said, "it's along that track to the right, and then right again at the t-junction."

This was to take us under the viaduct, after Dad had deviated over a field to take the picture included earlier. Immediately under this Dad climbed the stile ahead, then at the top of the field walked left down a wide grassy track between hedges, and then over a stile on the right.

"That's stile thirty", called out Grizzly.

"Noted", replied Allen once again.

The path slanted down the field, and crossed a plank bridge over the stream. "Bit ironic to call it a bridge as it is below the waterline", commented Tetley.

Over yet another stile the path led left to a bridge over Jeremy Gill, to then climb up and finally come beside the River Eden.

I had hoped that we would have sweeping views of the river", said Little Eric, "But these are dashed as the path is high above with dense woodland along the bank below."

After a while our hopes were raised again when a waymarker directed us right down steep steps to river level. "Darn", said Grizzly, "the dense woodland is still obscuring the view."

"Just look at that interesting fungus on that tree", called out Allen, as we walked along.

"Ooh I bet it's poisonous", mused Tetley.

"I am sure you are right", said Dad, as he took this picture.

The path was very muddy and slippery with the thaw having set in. When it came within inches of the river bank, Dad had to be especially careful not to slip and fall in. Well, we would have got wet.

Finally our patience was rewarded when one sweeping view opened up of the wide and fast flowing river. "At last", cheered Little Eric.

Eventually another stile led us out of the woodland. Just along here it started to rain, but this passed over after a few minutes, as we strolled over three or four more fields. When we were presented with the choice of two stiles, Dad took the left one leading into a fenced path.

"That's the last stile, and I make it thirty five", said Grizzly.

"I agree", replied Allen, consulting his notes.

"Glory me", sighed Tetley, "I pity your poor knees Dad."

At the end of the track a gate gave access to the road, and we walked along Scattergate and Shaws Weind to Boroughgate and the car.

"What a lovely walk and so full of interest", said Allen.

"Quite", agreed Grizzly, "thanks Dad, for another super day."

"After all that effort you deserve a good meal", said Tetley.

"I certainly do, I am going to Junction 38 Services in Tebay."

Here he enjoyed a good helping of tasty meat balls with chips and vegetables, washed down with two pots of tea.

We wanted to take some biscuits as a present for Uncle Brian, but they did not have a suitable ones at these services.

"Oh dear", said Little Eric.

"Not to worry", said Dad, "We'll take the scenic route home via Kendal, so that we can call at Low Sizergh Barn."

Here we bought him a packet of Oaties, one of his favourites.

"Thank you lads that is very kind of you", said Uncle Brian when we got home.


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