BB1416 : Eye Spy Sedbergh

Thursday 8th May 2014

"Would you like to see what is going on all around you?" asked the surgeon as they prepared me for the operation.

"Yes  please" said I.

So he popped out the eye and, swivelling it round like a seebackrosope, introduced me to the team in the theatre. Quite a remarkable experience.  

Then he set about popping in the replacement.

Now, for the first time in 60 years, my right eye can see reasonably well without glasses. And once I have the other cataract done I should have the vision of an eagle, not that I want to pounce on small mammals from several hundred feet in the air.  However, close work like reading a map could become a rather more challenging matter.

Today was the new eye's first BOOTboys outing, shielded by dark glasses to avoid the glare of the sun.  Unfortunately, as we parked in the central car park in Sedbergh, the sun had reneged on the appointment. Indeed, rain was expected.  That fact plus time constraints confined us to a shorter, leveller but more historic walk than normal.

Sedbergh seeks to promote itself as the English equivalent of Ross-on-Wye, i.e. a book town.  However, it is best known for its public school, the buildings of which dominate the approach.

Sedbergh School cricket pitch

There was one building in which I was particularly interested.  I had hoped we would be able to visit the Old Grammar School, built in 1716 and now used as the School Library.  However, we were unable to see inside due to it being in use for examinations. Nonetheless, the outside is interesting.

The Old Grammar School

Sedbergh School War Memorial

We followed the footpath through the school grounds, straying to look at the war memorial and the sad list of those ex-pupils wiped out in the two world wars. A huge number in relation to the size of the school.

Come on, if you think you're hard enough!

After passing through Birks and then roaring at some bullocks that were showing too much interest in us, we arrived at Brigflatts and my favourite church- the Quaker Meeting House- where we were warmly greeted by the warden, Tess.  She told us much about its history from George Fox's time in the mid seventeenth century onwards.

Tess outside the Meeting House

A Meeting House window

The Meeting House has made at least three television appearances. The most recent was in 2007 as part of Griff Rhys Jones' Mountain series.

In 2005, Songs of Praise featured Aled Jones singing the lovely old hymn "How Can I Keep From Singing?"  Unfortunately for the pedantic, although the setting is very atmospheric, it seems mislocated as Tess confirmed that Quaker meetings do not involve the singing of hymns. Nonetheless. although the sound quality is poor, the evocative video clip is worth watching.  To do so, click on the photo below left.

Aled Jones at Brigflatts

Basil Bunting at Brigflatts

The other appearance was in a 1982 Channel Four production about the poet, Basil Bunting.  Much admired by Ezra Pound and W. B. Yeats, Bunting published his epic poem "Briggflatts," in 1966. You can see him reciting extracts by clicking on his photo, above right, and discover more by clicking on the book cover in the right hand column.

John had another reason for being interested in the hamlet.  Directly opposite the Meeting House is a building in which his godfather lived for some years.

John's Godfather's House

The Quaker burial ground

After Brigflatts we followed a track that led to the entrance to Ingmire Hall grounds. The Hall is now subdivided into apartments, some of them holiday homes and one for sale, all set in splendid grounds.  Tony was particularly interested in the fish pond with its enormous multicoloured carp.

Comitibus :  Near Ingmire Hall

The formal garden

Ingmire Hall

The carp pond

Built for the navvies who worked on the construction of Ingmire Hall is St Gregory's Church,  Now deconsecrated, it is well maintained and features stunning William Morris windows.  

A St Gregory window

Sheep may safely graze

At Lincoln's Inn Bridge we turned north, up the Dales Way and alongside the River Lune as far as the railway viaduct- a magnificent structure and a good shelter from the wind for our lunch stop.

River Lune railway viaduct

As we climbed up past Low and High Branthwaite to Howgill Lane, we debated whether or not to climb Winder which was right in front of us.


The weather had proved far better than expected and the summit was no longer shrouded in mist (although the higher tops still were). What's more, it seemed that we were already half way up.

Instead, we dropped back down into Sedbergh, passing a novel weather vane, then continuing our cultural investigations by visiting its parish church, St Andrew's.

St Andrew's Church

The Sedbergh Tapestry

Inside St Andrew's

East Window

Inside, it is surprisingly wide.  Like so many of the Victorian churches in this area, it was designed by Paley and Austin although this one incorporates a presumably 15th century wall.  

Traction engine weather vane

The Bull Hotel

That concluded the cultural aspects of our tour.  I am pleased to report that my new eye performed sufficiently well to end the walk with the old game.

I spy with my little eye, something beginning with B.

Correct: the Bull Hotel !

Don, 8th May 2014

Offa's Dyke

Do you remember how on BB1317 Bryan and I went to meet Tim and his pals to accompany them one day on their Coast to Coast expedition?

Well, Tim & co. are at it again, this time in the English / Welsh border country.

You can follow their progress by clicking on Offa's Dyke.  Somewhat counter-intuitively, to find the subsequent pages, you need to click on the left hand arrow at the bottom of the screen.




Thursday 8th May 2014

Distance in miles


Height climbed in feet



Sedbergh School
Brigflatts Meeting House
Ingmire Hall, St Gregory's Church
St Andrew's Church


Don, John Hn, 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 bb1416 .

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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