BB1902 : Curling or Bowling?

Tuesday 8th January 2019

Have you ever tried Curling?

No, not your hair, silly!  Curling is the game that’s like bowls but played on ice with big stones.  

There is a new curling arena at The Flower Bowl near Preston.

It seemed like a good idea for our seasonal get-together.

We gathered in the Warehouse Café at the Brewery in Kendal.

An early start was not required so those who wanted coffee and cakes before setting off could indulge.

Sadly John PL’s knees don’t let him wander far these days, so we left him taking a Spanish class while the other twelve of us set off along Captain French Lane and up our most severe climb of the day onto Bowling Fell.  

Have you ever tried Bowling?  It is the game that’s like curling but played on grass with big balls.  

The flat area is thought to have been a bowling green at one time but not no more.

This is the site of the original Kendal Castle, a motte and bailey construction- Castle Howe, the mound for which is now topped with a huge “needle” dedicated to the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

Shortly afterwards, our numbers were augmented by Philip who’d had the pleasure of a dental visit.  Our next stop was Mount Pleasant.  No, not the Royal Mail sorting office in Islington but a quiet little street, now a cul-de-sac where the wall beside a gate post has some remarkable carvings.  

Such a secret has this been that none of our life-long Kendalians knew anything about it.

Carved by John Watson, who in 1949 became the founding editor of the K Shoes in-house magazine, are his face and those of his four children.  

He seems to have had an "interesting" war. He was taken prisoner near Dunkirk.  After several abortive attempts to escape, he was moved to Colditz where he forged German documents and passports for his fellow inmates to use when escaping.

Next, we crossed over into Serpentine Woods to find the location of the “One o’Clock Gun” that once upon a time stood in a clearing and boomed over Kendal at the appointed hour to tell the workers to eat their butties.  Or perhaps to stop eating them and get back on the job, I’m not sure which.

Emerging from the woods onto Kendal Fell (which is also the Kendal golf course), we followed an old track that I had walked many a time when I lived in that area but hadn’t known that it was called “The Tram”.  Logically, as it had been the tramway to the quarry at Kettlewell Crag.

Arriving at the Crag, Stan tried to find the entrance to the quarry tunnels that he remembered from exploring as a child.  They are now blocked off so we couldn’t replicate his experiences.  Instead, we climbed to the summit of Helsfell Nab, all of another 50 feet up!  James found a golf ball which he presented to Philip, much to the latter’s delight as it seemed to be a rather fine one.

The old Rifle Range led us up to the northern summit of the Scout Scar range, the Cunswick Fell cairn.  Tony and Pete fired the noon day gun and were amazed that we allowed them to eat their lunch there and then.  We were in a kind, seasonal mood.

Our route now was relentlessly to the south, along the length of Cunswick Scar to the radio mast and then on to Scout Scar, pausing at the Mushroom for the obligatory Comitibus team picture before eventually passing over Helsington Barrows to the Brigsteer Road where Bryan had to say farewell.

Inevitably at Helsington Church we entered to view the remarkable memorial mural painted after the first world war by Marion de Saumarez.

It was downhill thereafter; well, mostly.  From Cinderbarrow onwards we were on tarmac.  I didn’t recall it as undulating and now as I sit at my computer I can see that it only varies by 30 feet or so but it felt rather more than that at the time.  

The walk concluded at the Hare & Hounds in Levens where, amidst beer & pizza celebrations, we were joined by Johns PL & Hn plus Stephen B & Robert M.

Although cold and windy, the sun had shone on us for most of the day.  Visibility had been pretty good so we had had  he chance to see the panorama from Morecambe Bay, round the Lakeland hills, the Howgills and further round till Morecambe Bay again was reached again.  

Whether many of the group saw all this, I am not so sure.  Inevitably with the meeting-up of a lot of old and new friends, much of the outing was spent in deep discussion and reminiscing.

One thing that was not discussed was curling.  "What had happened to it?" I hear you ask.  Well, we owe the curling people a big thank you.  They had told me that they needed to cancel our visit in order for essential maintenance to take place because the ice was melting.  As a result we had a splendid day on the Scars and a very enjoyable session in the Hare & Hounds (apart from the occasional banged head on the very low ceiling).  The only ice I saw was the ice cream in my pudding and the only curling in which I indulged was of the “up” variety later on the sofa, snoring my head off .

Don, Tuesday 8th January 2019



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Comitibus:  Back row:  Tony, Mike T, Philip, Stan, Don
Front Row:  Pete, Stuart, Martin, Mike B, Richard, Terry, Bryan, James


OS 1:50k


BB1902 : Curling or Bowling?


Tuesday 8th January 2019


Cunswick Scar, Scout Scar, Helsington Barrows


Bryan, Don, James, Martin, Mike B, Mike T, Pete,
Philip, Richard, Stan, Stuart, Terry, Tony

Distance in miles (Garmin):


Height climbed in feet (OMN):


GPX track



If you want to know which BOOTboys reports refer to having visited any particular Wainwright or certain other hills, see BOOTboys Hill Log.  Warning- it might not be fully up-to-date!

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