BB1403 : The Knott, the Pot and the Fairy

Thursday, 16th January 2014

I have fond memories of Arnside.  I prefer sunsets to sunrises (being more of a person of the night) which makes it far superior for me than Grange-over-Sands, its companion across the water.

For decades, we had a family caravan nearby.  Forty odd years ago, it is where I lived when I started working in Kendal.  Until I was banned from The Albion.  

When the weather is too poor to venture into the Lakes, its microclimate often offers a much kinder day.  It was such a day today.  None of John, Martin and Tony had previously visited all of three local features: the Knott, the Pot and the Fairy so this was an ideal opportunity to put that right.

Arnside waterfront

From the promenade our first objective was Arnside Knott, the hill that overlooks the village and the estuary, thereby providing spectacular views.   It did not disappoint.

From  the Knott to the Lakes

We explored a part of the hill that I had not previously visited, the east side of the hill. You have to be a bit careful here as there is a very steep drop down to the valley if you are stupid.

Fortunately, there is a safe way down to the east and to Arnside Tower.  Although I have passed this many a time, I hadn’t had Tony with me so this had not been properly investigated.  "Danger, Keep Out" signs are, to Tony, an invitation to explore. It was amazing to see the complex structure of rooms and stairs that it must have had once upon a time.

Arnside Tower

Next was the Queen Victoria Jubilee Monument, better known as the Pepperpot, located at the top of Eaves Wood overlooking nearby Silverdale.  This is another fine viewpoint, especially to the south.

John was rather excited by what appeared to be the skeleton of a prehistoric shelter, just awaiting a covering of  sheepskins.

The Pepperpot

John's shelter

Lunch was taken in the wood, alongside another ruined building, this one much smaller than the Tower although much larger than John's shelter!

The path to Challon Hall was notable for having to cross the railway track, made more exciting by the oncoming of a train.

We followed a trail to Haweswater (no, not the big one in the Lakes) then up alongside a rather wet Silverdale Moss.


Arnside Knott from Silverdale Moss

To say the gateway through which we had to pass was rather flooded is an understatement.  It would be more accurate to say that the gate was in the middle of a fast flowing wide stream.

Arnside Tower across the Moss

A fast flowing footpath

Why will no one fall in for me when I take these photos?

Clints and grykes

Sadly, our route did not pass the intriguingly titled “Creep-i’-th’-call  Bridge” which must be worth a visit if only for its name.

Nor did we have a good look at Hazelslack Tower, having arrived at the farm from the wrong side.  

From here we took the bridle path that leads through Underlaid Wood where the track had become a stream and on each side were very large neatly laid out clints and grykes of an overgrown limestone pavement.

Eventually we reached the objective:  Fairy Steps.  This is a narrow gap in the limestone cliff with just enough room to climb up the natural steps if you first remove your rucksack. Allegedly, if you can climb the steps without touching the sides, the fairies will grant your every wish.  I don’t think they are much troubled in that respect.

Comitibus :  Fairy Steps

No wishes to be granted for Tony

The three objectives achieved, we headed down to Storth then crossed over the coastal road to the old railway track, now converted to a path.

Winter's nod to Spring

Arnside from  the old railway track

This led us round to the station (still active and offering trains to London but obviously by a different track).  I wondered if we could return to the road from behind the station but the path just led to the viaduct via a muddy bank of the estuary.

Water depth markers

Not that way, John!

Had it been midsummer, the rocks dry and the tide well out, we might have chanced going under the viaduct arch to reach the village.  But not in midwinter just a few days after exceptionally high tides and the water being at a disconcertingly high level.

Arnside Viaduct

Discretion being....etc, we returned to the station and crossed over the footbridge to safety.

Old friends

As regular readers may recall, I am no longer on the block at the Albion.

In fact, once we had cleaned our boots on the scraper outside the front door, it was a very welcoming place.

Tony spotted an old photo on the wall of my 1970 drinking pals

The beer was good, the fire blazing; it was a good place to celebrate our achievement of the three objectives, the Knott, the Pepperpot and the Fairy Steps.

Don, Thursday 16th January 2014




Thursday 16th January 2014

Distance in miles:

11.5 (Garmin GPS)

Height climbed in feet:

1,436 (Memory Map / OS)


Arnside Knott, The Pepperpot, Fairy Steps


Don, John Hn, Martin C, Tony

BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1403 .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be that up to date - see: Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see: BB Log.


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