: Crooklands to Oxenholme
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
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.
19th May 2014
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