MW07 : Low Hesket to Carleton (Carlisle)

Tuesday 15th October 2013

This was intended to be the last stage of the Millerís Way, finishing in Carlisle.  Last time out we ended at Low Hesket, having left the official route just outside Southwaite in order to catch the bus back. In theory I suppose that, today, we should have alighted at Low Hesket and made our way back to Southwaite.  However, firstly we are not slaves to the Way, as previously (and subsequently) demonstrated and, secondly, it had not been the most exciting walk from the Way to the bus.  Consequently, we asked the bus driver to drop us off a bit further north, so that we could pass Barrock Park and rejoin the Way by Raughton Gill.  Even here, we pioneered a somewhat different route to Ellerton Grange, following which we stuck strictly to orders.

At Birkthwaite House we met a farmer who, when we told him we were doing the Millerís Way, said something that we had heard several times before:  "Never heard of it".  This is despite the fact that it goes through his land and past his house.  It is perhaps understandable. On this stretch there are precious few MW markers.  And we have not met anyone else on or off the Way who had heard of it.

The dayís highlight, for me at least, was Wreay.  Unfortunately the pub is closed on Tuesdays but we knew that in advance so had brought butties which we had already eaten near the bridge by Petteril Crook's Mill.  

Wreay it is very attractive small village with a stunning church, St Mary's, reminiscent of a latter-day Templars' Church.

The next stretch of the Way, wandering through the wood by the river, is also very attractive although the trees prevented decent photo opportunities.  We followed the Petteril all the way to Carleton, on the edge of the city.  Here we had a dilemma. Should we be purists and continue through the back streets of Carlisle or should simply catch the bus from the Carlisle town boundary to the centre where we would touch the market cross for fulfillment?

In fact we did neither.  After waiting about 40 minutes, during which time two buses should have appeared but didn't, we spotted one going in the opposite direction.  A quick decision was made to jump on it and head to Penrith where, in front of a fire featuring a demonic, dylanesque face wearing dark glasses, we celebrated our achievement with tasty if somewhat over-battered tapas in the George Hotel.

So have we completed the Way?  Margaret and Ian think so.  Cynthia and I felt a little unfulfilled that we hadnít touched the market cross.  Margaret said she would let me do that if I took her there on a shopping trip.  All of a sudden, the trip did seem fulfilled. And, thanks to the George, my belly certainly was full filled.

Reflecting on the seven stages, what are my conclusions?

  • It is different, a route that we had never previously contemplated and despite the occasional marker, one about which no-one to whom we have spoken knew.
  • By spacing the walk out over the course of the year we have experienced all sorts of weather conditions from freezing snow to bright sunshine.
  • The route from Kendal to Penrith is through lovely countryside that we already knew fairly well but was certainly worth the effort to revisit.
  • From Penrith until reaching the River Petterill, the Way passes through pleasant countryside made more interesting by the fact that it was previously unknown to us.
  • Wreay is special and merited the visit, as did the riverside walk to the outskirts of Carlisle.
  • As an overview, it was a good expedition that gave us motivation to see parts of the country that otherwise we might not have done and we very much enjoyed the experience.

Finally, our thanks to John Dodgson Carr who made the first journey, to his successors at Carr's who commissioned the commemorative walk, to Stan Benson, Mable Little, Tony Iles and others who wrote the guide and, most of all, to Ian and Cynthia (plus Brora) for being our companions on The Miller's Way. Without you, our journey would not have happened.

 Don, 16th October 2013

STATISTICS:

MW07

Tuesday 15th October 2013

Distance in miles:

7.7 (Garmin E-trex)

Height climbed in feet:

569  (Memory Map / OS)

Cumulative miles:

60.2

Cumulative feet:

5,229

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