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" Seabirds, Horses and a Cold Fell "

Date & start time: 11th - 15th February 2012.

Location of Start : Tarnflatt Hall Farm, St Bees, Cumbria, Uk ( NX 948 146 )

Location of Walk 2 : Friar Well Gate on the Cold Fell Road, Cumbria ( NY 055 101 )

Places visited : Fleswick Bay and St Bees, Cold Fell and Cockermouth.

Walk details : 2.5 mls, 400 ft of ascent / 2 miles 350 ft of ascent

Walked with : Jo, Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan / Pat and Jazzi, Ann and the dogs

Weather : Dull and grey, overcast on Cold Fell.


 " Seabirds, Horses and a Cold Fell " at EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


A composite group of photos from recent outings.

The weather has been very poor recently, the high fells are more or less out of bounds, the lower fells unattractive,

so we drive to the coast for a walk with Jo to St Bees lighthouse in search of better weather and a change of scenery.

What are you doing down here ?

You're normally on the fells with the dogs . . . according to the internet !

Jo is across for the weekend from Yorkshire.

She looks confused by the blue bits on the map . . . that's sea not mountains Jo . . . we're down by the seaside !

Through the trees . . . the road to St Bees Lighthouse.

We've left the car at the farm

where there was a car park at the end

of the public section of the road.



We walked down towards the lighthouse

but took a left along the permitted path

heading for Fleswick Bay.

The path crosses several awkward stiles and past a very small swimming pool.

Suddenly, amongst a jumble of red mud, we slither our way down a short gully . . . and get our first sight of the sea.

The path opposite is the "Coast to Coast" path . . .
. . . which we will join from here on.

We forgot to check the tide times

so our plans to walk on Fleswick Beach was rather thwarted.

The grey weather is present down here too . . .
. . . and there are also quite a few birds as well.

Some were difficult to identify in this rather inclement weather.

I think these were Canada Geese.

The sandstone cliffs are famous for their bird life.
Multi-storey living for the Cormorants today.

Jo was all wrapped up for the damp weather.

Ann was there too . . . somewhere.

Keep flapping or he'll hit the water !

One flew past quite close to us.

Hold your cursor over the picture to animate the scene.

A passing adult Herring Gull . . .
. . . and a youngster from last season.

There was a large colony of Cormorants on the cliffs below us.

They can be identified by their white cheeks and chins.

They share the rocks with the gulls.

The most surprising inhabitants of the cliffs were the Carrion Crows

Apparently they range widely from moor to woodland to seashore.

They are sleeker than rooks, less sociable and are often seen singly or in pairs . . . as here today.

A red spot on the bill is one identification mark to look for . . .

. . . easer if they haven't got a beak full of nest material.

From a second RSPB viewpoint

there is a fine view of

the cliff scenery,

some of which looks a little safer than others !



Last time we were here

there were bird identity charts.


Maybe they are away being renovated

before the new breeding season.

The path continues on towards the Fog Horn building where we turn for home.

Up and over the small hill, past the lighthouse and we regain the road to the farm.

The lighthouse is now officially unmanned . . . but the garden definitely has a human touch.

- - - o o o - - -

A few days later we meet up with our friend Pat and enjoyed a walk with her on Cold Fell

. . . within view of the same St Bees Head.

Her granddaughter Jazzi has booked riding session at Bradley's Riding Stables,

a west coast riding school on the Cold Fell road near Ennerdale.

They have a large selection of horses to ride and the stable hand brings one out for Jazzi.

A helping hand up onto the large horse.

Ready to go . . . waiting for the others to mount up.

Pat and myself keep well out of the way . . .

. . . as they set out for their two hour trek.

That means we can have a two hour walk

so we drove a short distance to the Friar Well cattle grid on the Cold Fell road.

Summit views from this moorland top.

We were in shadow but the summit of Dent Fell has the benefit of direct sunshine.

The second objective of the walk was to show Pat Matty Benn's Bridge.

This is a very old packhorse bridge believed to have been

commissioned by the monks of St Bees. It is situated on a short

but pleasant gorge between two rock outcrops

on the infant River Calder.

The packhorse bridges had no walls so that the loaded

pannier bags on the ponies could not snag on the bridge

as they crossed the river.


- - - o o o - - -


What is the mythology of the bridge . . .

I can do no better than to quote David Hall on this one.

"Matty Benn was blind and her husband built the bridge. Matty would sit on the edge of it, often knitting awaiting his return from hunting, regularly with John Peel. The Monks built up the side of the bridge a little for Matty's comfort with the stone left from the monastery. It was named Matty Benn's Bridge with her name being Martha but always known as Matty."

Someone has cleared a lot of small brushwood and secondary trees from around the bridge

which has opened up the view of this ancient structure.

It is still hidden though and you wouldn't realise it was there unless you knew in advance.

The O.S. 1:25k Explore map shows it as Monks Bridge . . . seek it out ( NY 064 102 )

- - - o o o - - -

Finally Ann and I had a trip into Cockermouth last night

to present a cheque to the team at the Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Base.

A BIG THANK YOU to all those who bought the 2012 Loweswatercam Calendar and helped us to reach a grand total of £277

which we have donated to Mountain rescue charities here in the Lakes.

The picture shows Chris Abbot receiving a cheque for £200 on behalf of Cockermouth MRT

- - - o o o - - -

We were also able to donate a further £77 to Duddon and Furness MRT

who cover the more western side of the Lakes including Scafell Pike and Eskdale.

This was the email we received back recently . . .


Dear Roger and Ann,

Many thanks for your donation of £77. 36 and may I, on behalf of

The Duddon & Furness Mountain Rescue Team, thank you most warmly for supporting us.

I have attached a compressed version of our Supporters’ Club Newsletter which should give your contributors an overview of our activities. The Club aims to keep interested people and organisations up to date with our activities as well as supporting our fund raising activities. It includes previous members and supporters as well as those with a more general interest in the mountains and in our part in the provision of what is a completely voluntary emergency service.

We much appreciate the support you give us, in addition to that given to your own local team.

Many congratulations on the quality of your photographs.

Yours ever,

Martin Cooper.

Once again . . . a big thank you to you all.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Fuji Finepix Compact or my Canon G10/1100D camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . with a big thank you to all who bought the calendar and helped towards the final total.

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 3rd - 13th February 2012 Local Rambles

A previous time up here - Sat 11th July 2009 Cold Fell and Matty Benn's Bridge