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" John's Tour of the Lakes "

Date & start time: Monday 22nd July 2013.

Location of Start : The red phone box, Loweswater , Cumbria, Uk ( NY 143 211 )

Places visited : Here, there and everywhere.

Walk details :   A circular drive with a few small local walks along the way.

Highest point : The depth of history and breadth of scenery.

Walked with : John, Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Sunshine and blue sky but very hot and hazy, around the 30 degrees C.

" John's Tour of the Lakes " at EveryTrail

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


A friend is over from Australia and the weather is being very warm and sunny to match his home climate. 

A tour of the Lakes is called for in order to show him where we live, the attractions of our area ... and the English Lake District roads !

- - - o o o - - -

Each morning at home we fill the bird feeders and so our tour started today within our own garden.

Blue Tits  . . . one of the many birds at the table on a normal day.

This is one of the red squirrels that visits us on a less predictable, but still frequent basis.

This youngster is very distinctive due to his multi-coloured tail.

He's enjoying one of the cob nuts from our feeder ... (they are very much like hazel nuts)

We embark on an anti-clockwise tour, firstly heading over to the west coast.

To reach it we start by passing Loweswater which was looking slightly rippled in the hot summer breeze.

John's a keen environmentalist so we stopped to show him our local lake.

There has been a problem with algae bloom in the lake and The Loweswater Project was initiated by Lancashire University

and quickly got all the local farmers and residents involved in finding a solution.

The current pro-active work involves two floating pontoons with solar panels which provide power for a small water circulation pump

and an ultrasonic (microwave) transmitter which is fine-tuned to kill emerging algae but not affect human or marine life.

An interesting idea which hopefully will bring a solution within the forthcoming year.

John also expressed an interest in all things ancient . . . here we were looking down on the long term mining at Rowrah

This area was famous for iron ore and limestone . . . which fired the industrial revolution in the West Cumbrian area.

[ Check out this website too - the ennerlampkirk heritage site. ]

On Blakeley Moss, on the Cold Fell mountain road, there is a stone circle of much older vintage.

" Not long after the First World War, a restoration job was accomplished by a working party.   Having cleaned out and measured the sockets in the ground in which the stones were originally set,they searched for and located-the original twelve stones,and completely restored the site."

Many thanks to The Megalithic Portal guys.

We move on to Gosforth where St Mary's Church is always worth a visit.

There are a number of ancient features found within the church and grounds.

The Fishing Stone is thought to be part of an ancient frieze used to explain Christianity to the pagan Norsemen

who were living in this area over a thousand years ago.

The church has several fine stained glass windows . . .
. . . in the churchyard, the Gosforth Cross.
Close up detail of the ancient Cross.
In the church is a carved replica to highlight the detail.

Like the Fishing Stone and Hogbacks, these ancient stones date back to the earliest times of Christianity in the North West.

Most of the carvings on the Gosforth Cross depict Viking Gods and stories.

There is only one Christian scene on the cross and that is apparently a depiction of the crucifixion.

John took a few moments to study some of the older gravestones too.

[ Many of them pre-dates the formation of his "modern-Australia" homeland ]

The next valley round is Wasdale . . . the high fells being rather lost in the fine weather haze today

but Wasdale is a fine place to visit at any time.

Mid-summer and a hot day mean it is a popular place too.

At the head of the lake are the high fells of Great Gable and the Scafells . . . the highest point of England at over 3000 feet.

Walking a short distance to the other side of the headland it was possible to get a photo without people.

Harry and Bethan appreciated time out to cool down on this hot day.

Steady yourself as this American F15 streaks down the valley . . . closely followed by a second one.

( Thanks Trevor for the correct ID )

The roar and the rumble subside and peace returns again to the valley.

Lord Howell of Guilford, in the news this week for suggesting Fracking should take place in the "desolate" North of England.

Perhaps we should be sending these RAF guys for a few practice sorties directly over the House of Lords whilst in session

or perhaps threaten a nuclear repository in the clays of the London Basin, after all that is a better place to put it geologically.

Time for lunch !

A fresh sandwich lunch and an ice cream in the garden of The Bower House Inn . . .

. . . surrounded by lovely blue hydrangeas.

A distant train whistle heard over lunch reminded us of our next port of call . . .

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway . . . seen here at the end of the line . . . Dalegarth Station.

The engine Northern Rock has just arrived and is being turned around, ready to take the train back down the line.

[ I think I've discovered the Stationmaster, La'al Ratty, on his day off from official promotional duties . . . check out the give-away tail on the left !]

La'al Ratty in his more normal working clothes . . . but no . . . the tail I saw was the flexible pipe ready to fill Northern Rock with water.

[ The engines consume about a thousand litres of fresh water per trip ]

Time to stoke the fire and make ready for the next journey on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

- - - o o o - - -

The road from Eskdale continues on and climbs Hard Knott Pass . . .

On the way up we stop to enable John to visit the Roman fort of Mediobogdum.

The fort was built between 120 and 138 AD and was in use for nearly four hundred years.

Various archaeological works over time have discovered and preserved the remains of the buildings and walls.

There is sign of the Granary( seen above) the commander's house and headquarters, the bath house and a large parade ground.

It holds a commanding position above the Eskdale Valley . . . John stands next to one of the corner turrets.


[ When we brought Becca here in February last year

we were wrapped up in hat gloves and thick fleeces

against the extreme cold ]

The north gate, at the mid point of the wall, looks out over Slightside and the Scafell Pikes.

Looking into Upper Eskdale we could identify Esk Pike and Bowfell through the heat haze.

Looking back at the outer wall and at Harter Fell behind.

Yes John ... that's where the road goes !

Hold your cursor over the picture to see the road we are about to take over the pass.

One of John's memories will be, he told us, the nature of the small and extreme roads we took him on during this trip around the Lakes.

Over the other side of Hard Knott and Wrynose Passes is Little Langdale

We turned left and took the road over to the next valley, Great Langdale, passing Blea Tarn on the way.

Side Pike on the right with the prospect of the Langdale Pikes behind.

At the head of the small pass the view opens out to reveal their true ruggedness.

The wow-factor of seeing a glacial valley surrounded by the high fells.

- - - o o o - - -

Time was going on and the high temperatures were not easing, even after an ice cream in Grasmere . . .

Heading home we continued the ancient theme of the day by calling in at the Castlerigg Stone Circle.

A very informative and "hands-on" interpretive board

at the entrance gate . . . full marks

for making this visit a "tactile experience".


There was further information which informed us that this important site

was around 4,500 years old making it a contemporary

of the famous Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

The entrance stones lead you into the circle.

Inside the circle, a sanctuary of unexplained origin and purpose.

The view past a major stone down the length of the Thirlmere Valley.

The extensive views all round, including this one of Helvellyn, are a major feature of the site.

Time to be off . . . as we depart the way we came in, through the entrance stones . . . with Skiddaw Little Man forming the backdrop.

- - - o o o - - -

Due to the unaccustomed heat and the length of time we spent in the car today, we cut short our plans and headed for home.

The following day I took John up the Buttermere Valley to complete our planned tour . . .

Another fine day in paradise !

Crummock water from Lanthwaite . . . looking across to Red Pike and the High Stile Ridge.

Seeing Scotch Thistles was a must on John's UK itinerary.

Seeing the Buttermere Pines was on ours.

Duck . . . due to the low branches ;o)

They provide an extra foreground interest for this second photo of the Pines.

Honister Valley . . . or more correctly the valley to Honister.

Looking back after travelling a little further up the road.

We had stopped before the main climb to admire the scenery and the high crags of Fleetwith Pike.


On the opposite side of the stream I has often wondered

about an old notice but never crossed over to read it. 

Today was a chance to do just that.



" Proceed no further or you could die."

No dumbing down the message on this notice then !

[ The old notice has rusted away, the newer one was dated Feb 97.]

Another mountain Pass for John to experience.

At the head of the Pass . . . the Honister Slate Mines.

Traditionally producers of slate roofing tiles,

they have diversified now into all manner of slate products and tourism through their mine tours and via ferratas.

We take a short walk out on the Yew Crag side to view the crags.

Each of the roadways leads to a different working level within the mine complex.

They are still very much a slate producer

and you can view the slate cutting process through the protective windows of the cafe area.

Diamond cutting saws transformed the industry in the last century.

Inside . . . the finishing and polishing workshops.

Outside . . . the stock of finished and semi-finished slate products.

These look like kitchen work tops.

In the yard, a classic slate trimming machine

with the circular trimming blades reminiscent of a traditional lawn mower.

John stands by a crate or two of finished roof slates.

I explain how they fit together to create a rain proof roof structure.

The overlap means a roof needs about two and a half time the amount of slate (by area) to cover a roof successfully.

Ancient and Modern.

New sculptures and the old Yew Crag Quarries.

The stone garden outside the shop exhibits and remembers . . .

Inside the shop is a piece of square slate with a message . . .
. . . scan the QR code and find the meaning.

[ For those with a smart phone, download the QR Code Ap (I use Norton Snap), turn on wi-fi or the mobile data feed (3G)

and hold it up to the left hand picture for a touch of magic.]

All good visits to the Lakes end with a nice sunset . . . and today was no exception.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Canon 1100D SLR digital camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . a wider road map of the Cumbrian Fells.

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

Previous walk - 15th July 2013 - Dale Head and Grisedale Pike

A previous time up here - 18th February 2012 Bec's February World Tour of the Lakes

Next walk - 30th July 2013 - Black Sail to meet Friends