The Winter Walk, Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Walk leader: Frances Taylor

Reporter: Helen Richardson

A few minutes after 10 o’clock, with the sun pushing through cloudy skies, eleven walkers, accompanied by two friendly dogs, set off from Staveley Mill Yard, (SD 470983; about a mile from the A591 Kendal to Windermere road), for a walk of about eight and a half miles, that included some of Wainwright’s outlying fells (OS Map: Explorer OL7 - Lake District South East).

We crossed the River Kent, and walked alongside it in a north westerly direction, then followed bridleways towards Low, and Middle, Elfhowe and Brunt Knott Farm, on our way onto access land leading to Brunt Knott. There is no defined path to this peak, and, although we approached it from the south west, Frances led us around and up the gentler slope on the eastern side of this fell. At only 427m, this is a good example of a relatively low peak, which nevertheless gives excellent views in all directions, including the snow covered Langdales to the west, and our next ‘peak’—a lower, more rounded and heather-covered hill.

After retracing our steps a short way downhill, we walked uphill beside a wall on gently sloping but rough terrain, in a direction just south of east, towards this unnamed flattish summit at 390m. On arrival, I was surprised to see it marked by a permanent cairn of two small, vertical stone slabs, about 30cm in height. Although it is an inconspicuous little ‘peak’, from here, we were again rewarded with 360o views, including silvery streaks marking Morecambe Bay to the south. Further along, the same wall provided welcome shelter from the cold wind, when we stopped for our lunch - supplemented by Eccles cakes from Steve (thanks very much, Steve!).

Our next peak was Ulgraves, with a rather impressive tall and stately cairn and superb views, including northwards along beautiful Longsleddale. As we headed south west towards two small reservoirs, Gurnal Dubs and Potter Tarn, and just after a particularly boggy patch, where we had been stepping from one dried grass tussock to the next to avoid the watery alternative, I heard a voice behind offering a ‘spare part’ for a pole. Turning around, I was alarmed to find that the inner (lower) part of one of my Leki poles had disappeared! You may imagine how grateful I was to Brian (W) for his eagle eyed and prompt retrieval of it - I would have been very upset to discover its loss later!

After stopping to enjoy view across the tarns, we walked steeply downhill. At Frost Hole, there was a slightly unpleasant ‘incident’, when a grumpy landowner shouted that there was no R.O.W. past his property, and that we would have to go a different way. Although careful perusal of the map confirmed the public footpath, the small detour required was not a problem, and, to avoid further confrontation, the group acquiesced. From there, our route continued generally downhill, and in a south westerly direction back to Staveley Mill Yard, where we enjoyed a welcome pot of tea at Wilf’s Cafe, which is excellent value and highly recommended. We had been lucky with the weather too, a mix of cloud and sunny intervals, light wind, a few snow flakes around lunchtime, and no rain.....

Many thanks to Frances for leading this very pleasant walk, and to walkers, plus Dolly and Freddy, for making it such an enjoyable club event.