Up The Pipeline
04 : Crooklands to Oxenholme

19th May 2014

Today we were very naughty.  Tim Cappelliís official route basically follows the line of the canal and then the river into Kendal.  Pleasant but nowhere near the objective.  This is supposed to be the Thirlmere Way, i.e. following the Pipeline.  We put our local knowledge to good use to create what might be a way less travelled but one with greater authenticity - we did actually see a pipeline feature!

Start point was the layby close to Junction 36 from whence we braved the A65 traffic, passing Preston Patrick Church and the old Crooklands wharf of the canal and turning east immediately after the Crooklands Hotel.

The footpath took us alongside Peasey Beck on a route that used to feature a narrow gauge tramway linking the wharf to the Gatebeck Gunpowder Mills.  The wagons were horse drawn and the horses had special copper shoes to prevent sparks causing unwelcome explosions.  Nowadays, there is little evidence of any such activity other than at the mill.  Here, in what is now a caravan site, all that we could see was the erstwhile Managerís house and one old disused building.

Across the road lies the path that leads across fields to Low Park and then to the Quaker Burial Ground.  This small rectangular walled area shows the mounded evidence of old burials, but, as was the old Quaker tradition, no head stones so no stories to tell.  It does feature, however, a magnificent May tree in full bloom.

After climbing (not really a challenge) Crow Hill we arrived at Birkrigg Park and then followed the road to Halfpenny  Farm.  Up through the fields alongside Saint Sundayís Beck we travelled until crossing over by a wooden bridge to reach Stang.

A few fields (and a coffee) later we arrived at the Back of Helm road.  This road is a challenging one to cycle along.  After a few gentle undulations you reach a short steeper section to a bend.  Then when you reach the bend you find an even steeper section to the next bend. And so on and so on.  Eventually you reach its zenith and your reward, in terms of this report (albeit on foot and not wheels) is your first and only glimpse of pipelinalia.  Across the fields to the east is a rectangular building described on the map as a Syphon Well.

Now we had a decision to make.  Our destination was the Station Inn at Oxenholme.  The non-strenuous route would be to continue along the Back of Helm lane to the B6254 then brave the busy, footpathless road to the pub.  Boring and potentially dangerous.  I was delighted that the unanimous verdict was to undertake the climb to the Helm ridge which offered a far better vantage point from which we could survey the distant Lakeland hills.

It was then but a short drop to the Station Inn, a couple of pints of Guzzler and a remarkable Chicken and Leek Pudding.

Mr Cappelli- just think what you missed.

Don, 19th May 2014







7.1 miles

24.3 miles

811 feet

2,783 feet


To see the index and other stages, click on:


The Thirlmere Way



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