Mostly our Friday walks take place near to Liverpool. Because there are wonderful places in and near Liverpool. And so we don’t have to spend much time travelling there. But a couple of times each year we’ll plan a full day out, still somewhere on our north-west coast, our wider ‘home’ – but further than usual. Back in early May we went south to Anglesey, today we travelled north, up into the northern sky.
And the good news for me is that for the first time in a month, Sarah is with me on the Friday Walk. In fact she discovered today’s walk during her recent pilgrimage walk for her friend Rachel, and is keen to show it to me.
And today’s walk will be a fairly steep seven miles or so from Cartmel back to Grange, over Hampsfell.
In fact The Priory is much the most interesting thing about Cartmel. The rest of the village has been horribly gentrified to attract moneyed visitors, with shops full of tat and ponced up pubs full of foodies. So we are glad to get out of there and be on our way.
There are several ways to get up onto the fell, but Sarah takes us on one of the two routes she’s done, out of the village and past the Jammy Patch, one of the places her and Gemma stayed in when they were here a couple of weeks back.
(Actually, historical error by me here. See Kathi’s comment below. A miscalculation of Royal Edwards.)
Anyway, this week, Sarah has been reading a book about dry stone walling, a technique used throughout Britain for building walls without mortar that can last for centuries. And along with the lovely skies, which we’ll get to, studying the walls is one of the main themes of this walk. First of all, we find two examples of little holes or shelters in the walls. We’re not sure what they’re for and so Sarah has contacted someone who lives locally to see if she knows. But until we get an explanation let me introduce you to ‘Horton Holes.’
As any of you who know a Horton will surely attest, they are loveable, but are quick to anger and can be vicious when cornered. So what could be better than one of these little caves? A Horton sized hole to keep your Horton safe and sheltered – but confined – until the danger has passed.
But actually this day Sarah is radiantly happy.
And as we cross the fields climbing over or through ancient stiles, It becomes obvious to us that this ‘right of way’ we are walking has been established for centuries.
We pass through one farm with ‘Private Property’ notices where they make it as hard as they can for you to tell where the public footpath is.
And as we approach the top of the fell the winds howl, little showers of rain and hail pass over us in seconds. And looking back we can see this, to the north of us.
And then right at the top we find this. The Hampsfell Hospice.
I climb up onto the roof and take these pictures.
We also take shelter for a few minutes inside the hospice. It’s cold and windy up here.
Outside again, we explore the limestone pavement a passing glacier has created up here.
Sarah also risks her camera and tripod in the high wind, to take another picture of us two.
‘If you would and you could, light up my northern sky.’
This walk is available as a cut and make mini-guide here.