Oak Cottage - Loweswater

Retreat to the quiet of the Western Lakes

The Cottage, and  the view up the Buttermere Valley



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Time and place : Friday 28th Nov. 2003. Ponsonby Fell and Swainson Knott via Blengdale Forest.

Occasion : A walk with Andrew Leaney, Ann, and the dogs, to two outlying western fells.

Walk details : 7 miles 1150 ft of ascent, which took 3hr 50 mins, including stops. Two cars enabled a linear walk today.

Weather : Cloudy and damp, getting wetter and darker as time went on.


We parked in the village car park in Gosforth, which enabled us to visit the parish church and its famous Runic Cross.

The cross is thought to date from around 940 AD and contains both Pagan and Christian engravings, depicting the triumph of Christianity over the pagan beliefs.

Find out more at Gosforth - St Mary's Church


Also in the church yard the grave of Hector Goodfellow caught my eye.

I couldn't help noticing this wonderfully practical poem at its base. I hope I transposed it correctly.

Fare well vain world I have seen enough of thee

And now am careless what thou say of me

Thy smiles I count not nor thy frowns I fear

My time is past now ahead lies quiet here

What faults you know in me take away home

Do not linger here for there is work to be done.



Gosforth was an interesting village, and seem to have a lot going on. Two thriving pubs, food and craft shops, and tearooms. A mixture of old an new was no better shown than on the old village library building , with its old Latin text on the red wall plaque, and a modern notice "Internet access here" in large letters at the entrance. What a contrast!


The walk proper starts as we left the village and walked up Blengdale valley.


Leaving the road at last we headed along the forest track.

This woodland is notable for the many mature pine trees, some were well over 100 feet in height.

This certainly was the finest part of the forest.

In his book, Outlying Fells, Wainwright talks of an old abutments of a long vanished bridge.

I think even the abutments have gone now.

Upstream is the footbridge, but take care,

the wooden planks were wet and consequently very slippery.

On the opposite bank we took the forest road off to the left

which on the steep section was unusual in the fact that it had a tarmac surface.

Our first view of Ponsonby Fell, as seen from the upper reaches of the forest.


The road was a carpet of colour . . . Axminster I believe

left over from the Foot and Mouth days when it would have been soaked in disinfectant.

In this wild place below Scalderskew farm, the only indication of a path was the signpost. It was living up to its description of "Remote Lakeland" all right. From here on it was moorland and bog all the way to the top.

Behind is Kinniside Common and Lank Rigg in the cloud.

Distant views were limited as the mist turned to rain. Below was the Sellafield complex.

Behind us and disappearing in the gloom were Buckbarrow and the lower Wastwater fells.

As inspiring as Wainwright suggested, the moorland crossing between Ponsonby and Swainson Knott.

There was a good path, but it was not going in our direction.

The walled summit of Stone Pike on the way to Swainson Knott.

We grabbed a light lunch in the shelter of its northern wall.

Swainson Knott summit at 1121 feet. There was no encouragement to linger in the poor conditions.

Old animal bones added to the few small boulders mark the highest point.

The descent to the road, and then a short walk down the valley to the car.


Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed . . . with a good waterproof.

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