Ulverston to Blawith;
18th February 2008
have you given up on the Dales Way? Or did I miss
something after DW13?"
thank you for asking, but actually neither.
It's just that finishing off in the
style that we have planned has proved logistically
challenging, both domestically and weatherwise.
will happen in the near future and you will
hear about it, don't fret!
meanwhile, Margaret and I have made a start on our next
and logistically more manageable challenge-
the Cumbria Way from Ulverston to
Carlisle through some of the most beautiful
countryside England has to offer.
first stage was to be from Ulverston to Blawith, which
I acknowledge is not exactly on the Cumbria way but
it made a convenient "escape" point at which
to leave the car as the bus from
Coniston stops there. It arrived exactly on time
at 10:47 a.m., which was fortunate as we had arrived
half an hour early and had run out of entertainment
in the tiny hamlet in its sub zero temperature. Still,
St John the Baptist Church did look like a pretty Christmas
Card with the trees all covered in heavy frost and,
it being a Monday morning, we saw the first of several
sets of washing!
St John the Baptist Chruch in frost
washing at Blawith
bus driver was extremely helpful. She guessed
what we were doing and promised to drop us off at the
best place in Ulverston and to give us detailed instructions
as to how to find the start of the Cumbria Way.
was as good as her word and it was a pleasant stroll
through a sunny Ulverston past the now rather sad looking
Laurel and Hardy Museum to the Gill car park and the
start of the Cumbria Way. Except that we found
there are two points that claim to be the start so to
avoid future argument we photographed them both.
first and "new"start
second and "old" start
strode off with the Cicerone Guide "The Dales Way and
the Allerdale Ramble" by Jim Watson. Unlike the
Dales Way Guide, this has not been recently updated
so it remains in its slightly too large to fit conveniently
into the pocket in which you would prefer to carry it
size. It also remains somewhat old fashioned,
almost Wainwrightian in its design with its line drawings
and lack of photographs. More importantly, however,
it is getting out of date. In the twelve years
since its publication, metal gates have been replaced
by wooden ones, walls have fallen, fences have been
erected and it is unaware of the great strides that
have recently been made in waymarking. Like all
guidebooks I have seen, it also suffers from not saying
how far the distance is between instructions. These
days, with the advent of the gps, it is child's play
to state how far to (or even the exact co-ordinates
and direction of) the next turn. Perhaps that
is too much spoon-feeding and we should go back to just
using a map, relying on the guide book for supplementary
and interesting information about the sites on route,
which in this case is fairly sparse other than in respect
of the larger villages. A major revision is urgently
needed. But is there the demand? We hardly
saw a soul en-route and the ground in parts had little
evidence of heavy usage. In comparison with the
Dales Way, the Cumbria Way is seriously under promoted.
up out of Ulverston, the views initially were more towards
the sea and the Sir
John Barrow Monument, a 90 foot replica
of the Eddystone Lighthouse- is a prominent feature
for many miles (another Cicerone revision point- Jim
Watson attributes the monument to Sir John Barry!!!).
John Barry monument
once you get beyond the very impressive house, Bortree
Stile, and its wild primroses already in bloom, a huge
panorama starts to unfurl. So impressive that
we took an early coffee stop to admire the view and
the curly haired sheep.
was wash day too at Higher Lath Farm! And at Newbiggin!
Lath Farm washing
Way wanders pleasantly across fields and through farms
and lovely little hamlets such as Broughton Beck. St
John's Church at Osmotherley looked nice across the
fields but was a bit of a disappointment on arrival-
locked and fairly modern. The once-red squirrels
on the benches, however, were amusing!
John's across the fields
took lunch on the "long lane" to Keldrey in a lovely
open position in full sun. By
this time the Lakeland Fells, particularly Coniston
Old Man and Wetherlam inevitably had become increasingly
dominant but it was a reminder of how far west we were
to see the Scafells peeping around the left hand side
of Dow Crag
was another nice hamlet where we crossed the main road
from Greenodd to Broughton-in-Furness.
at High Stennerley
High Stennerley there was yet another magnificent panorama
point with a strange statue in the field off to our
left. I was not sure whether it was a peculiar
shaped tree or, more likely, some kind of giant scarecrow
stood motionless like a caped crusader. Click
on the photo to reveal what it really was!
picture at High Stennerley.....
by the caped crusader!
guide book is somewhat confused in its description of
the route past Kendal Ground and I don't know what went
wrong but it didn't half confuse us until we realised
we had actually passed that area and were a fair bit
further on without realising it!
before Kiln Bank was our decision point.
The sun was lowering and the air was
getting colder. We could see the Way
winding up around Subberthwaite Bank so
we decided that was an excellent point to
rejoin it on the next instalment.
Instead, we finished off the coffee and took
the Raisthwaite Lane back to Blawith and
we could hardly have asked for a better
day, but as an opener for the Cumbria Way
it was a stunning introduction.
18th February 2008
the next stage see
Blawith to Coniston
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the progress of
Don and Margaret
along the Cumbria Way.
Click on the photos
for an enlargement or related large
Ulverston to Blawith
Blawith to Coniston
Skelwith Bridge to
the Old Dungeon Ghyll
Old Dungeon Ghyll to Rosthwaite
got to do with it?
to Gale Road Car Park (and back)
seen by Margaret: