Spring Walks 2017 Sergeant Man From Grasmere, Sunday April 30th 2017

Reporter: Helen Richardson

See or post photographs from the walk on the Yahoo! site.

The weather was cloudy but stable, as we gradually congregated at a small National Trust car park at Park Brow on the A5091, close to Aira Force, for an eight mile walk led by Caroline and Alan Brown. Eventually, all eleven expected walkers arrived, and we set out on the day’s ‘lower level route’, which would take us up to Birkett Fell, returning through Dowthwaitehead and Dockray, and passing by the waterfalls.

Initially, the route headed in a south-westerly direction through Glencoyne Park, meandering through trees then brush and across small becks. This was a gently rising path, but was quite tricky underfoot in places: narrow, with small rocky sections and tree roots to clamber over. After about one and a half miles, the ground became steeper, and the views opened out, giving us a superb panorama across Ullswater to the southeast. Groups of daffodils and bluebells encountered at frequent intervals along our route provided welcome evidence of spring. The route then climbed a steepish path from Glencoyne Park onto Brown Hills, where we crossed a wall and bore left. Shortly afterwards we bore right up onto a boggy plateau and continued in a westerly direction to the next wall. By this time, it had become rather windy, and, after crossing the wall, we sat in its lee, - now in warm sunshine, for a ‘part of lunch’ break. Some of the party decided to stay there and enjoy the sun, whilst others of us followed along the wall, ascending in a north-westerly direction towards Birkett Fell. At its trig point at around 700 metres, it was really windy, and we beat a hasty retreat! We agreed it was sensible to miss out the climb to Hart Side and retrace our steps to the remaining walkers, as they would otherwise have had to wait yet another half hour (or so) for us.

With the group reassembled, we re-crossed the wall, and started generally northward towards Dowthwaitehead. The going was generally easy, and continued so from Dowthwaitehead, as we walked north-easterly through farmland, where we watched some pretty lambs. Our route took us on through Lucy's Wood to the village of Dockray. Here we stopped for welcome refreshments at The Royal at Dockray Hotel, then continued through the village to pick up the southerly track that follows Aira Beck down to Aira Force. As we followed the NT paths, we enjoyed lovely views of the waterfalls. All too soon, we left the falls behind, and it was then only a few minutes return to the Park Brow car park, and the end of our walk.

Thank you very much, Alan and Caroline, for leading us on this very enjoyable walk!