Chance to catch up with my fellwalking club friend Ian Smith
as he is up in the Lakes at present.
Loes and I head over to Eskdale and meet him on the road beneath
Another linear walk to save the road walk between start and
end and because we had two cars anyway !
I've has some nice mornings recently, with clear
skies and red sunrises.
This one was a few days ago . . . today would
be overcast but at least it would start frost free.
Early visitors to the garden before we headed
out for the drive to the west coast.
One finds food on the lawns and at the foot
of the bird table, the other has his meals boxed and ready to
Anyone with a "Friends of the Lake District"
may benefit from viewing this photo of Mockerkin Tarn, provided
they read their magazine !
The tarn is adjacent to the Lamplugh Road on
the way out to Egremont and the west coast.
- - - o o o - - -
Left . . .my fellow walkers today, Ian and
Loes and I met Ian in the car park below Irton Pike,
but we actually started the walk today from the Bower
We promised to patronise the pub after the walk in
for a parking space, a promise we kept later in the
- - - o o o - - -
Setting off from The Bower House, enjoying the
view of Muncaster Fell over the wall.
On the other side of the road was the valley
Scafell at its head was obscured by the low
cloud but the craggy outline of Great Bank stood proud above
this end of the valley.
A fine old house on the corner of the main road
as we turn to walk up Miterdale.
This is St Bega's School in Eskdale Green.
I walked to Bassenthwaite's St Bega's Church
last week, spoke to a guy who went to this St Bega's school
for his primary education
and Loes of course comes from St Bees.
Funny how things like this happen . . . from
hardly thinking about St Bega at all, to the saintly lady entering
conversations three times in a week !
- - - o o o - - -
We walked up the road into Miterdale, passing
some nice houses along the way.
The map mentioned an old mill and mill pond
amongst the houses at this point of the walk but I didn't notice
Soon after we take a left where the bridleway
to Nether Wasdale crosses over the river.
Alongside the bridge is the remains of an old
sluice gate that would have controlled the water entering the
There was no obvious signs of a weir alongside,
but it had probably been destroyed and washed away by flood
waters over the years.
heads off through the Miterdale Forest . . .
. . . some of which
is traditional and some commercial.
Great Bank seen closer up now as we cross a
The old path continues to climb towards Irton
Fell and where the forest has been cleared we start to regain
the long distant views.
There's also a well placed seat from which to
enjoy the view, courtesy of the family of a Mr Neil Cannon.
the fell side we enter a darker section of woodland
. . .
. . . but the ancient
track continues on unhindered.
The last section before the summit was cleared
several years back so is open to the skies.
The commercial trees have been cut and the ground
has also had time to recover from the shock.
Great Bank, Harter Fell (in cloud) and Green
Crag are the summits on show.
From the high ground we stop to take in the
This is Ravenglass estuary where the Rivers
Irt, Mite and Esk all enter the sea together.
Also ahead of us is Irton Pike.
Rather than being a climb to the top that I
was expecting, we will be gradually dropping down the ridge
to its summit.
Zooming in on the Nuclear Reprocessing Plant
As time goes on there are gradually less high
towers and chimneys, as some of the redundant parts of the plant
It is still a major employer in the area and
will be in existence for years as they deal with the treatment
of decades of nuclear waste.
Our bridleway continues on towards Nether Wasdale
. . .
. . . but we'll leave it here and head west
(left) towards Irton Pike.
Below us is Wasdale's Latterbarrow, the slightly
forest and bracken covered rocky outcrop below.
I know of two other Latter barrows, one close
to Cold fell on the west coast and another over towards Windermere.
We check out the view up Wasdale but can't see
the lake from this spot.
What we can see in Buckbarrow, Seatallan with
a cloudy top, then Middle fell and Yewbarrow.
We walk down the wide ridge that forms the spine
of Irton Fell.
Conditions underfoot were variable, the going
soft at times as they say in racing circles.
However sometimes the ground underfoot was really
solid, as on this prominent rock topped by Loes, myself and
Irton Fell, the slight rise at the end, is getting
closer . . . gradually.
The map mentions a cairn circle, but Wainwright
in his Outlying Fells Book (page 184/5) mentions
an old mine level and a large pile of stones
"that has an air of permanence but not antiquity".
We've passed what could have been a man made
excavation and so this must be Wainwright's 'Pile of Stones'.
Anyway, from close to the pile of stones we
get a view of Wast Water at last.
the track through the gate, look for the old stile .
. . . .which took us
ever forward on a track through the trees.
Wainwright also is dubious in his book whether the path we've
taken would survive the coming of the forestry.
If he were still around . . .I would write and give him the
Ian stands on this remarkably good viewpoint and points out
For your benefit it is repeated here.
or on the photo above for a 360
degree annotated panorama.
Perhaps Ian was pointing out a flight of geese passing above
the outline of Yewbarrow.
Below us is Santon Bridge, the famous Inn and the camping
site, as well as all the other buildings.
In the field we noticed five strange white circles next to
the wildlife ponds.
Could it be a visit from aliens or perhaps just the bases
for five Yurts ready for the forthcoming summer holiday trade
To the south is Muncaster Fell.
La'al Ratti Railway passes through the
threes at the base of the fell.
My eye was also attracted to the large pond in the foreground,
one that I hadn't seen before . . . it was Parkgate Tarn,
situated within Irton Park.
We also looked down on Ain House in the valley below.
Mr Wainwright in his book was also not terribly complimentary
about the (brown) permissive footpath descending the front
of Irton Pike.
Consequently Ian suggested we back-track more or less to
the 'pile of stones' and descend from the fell by the track
through the gate.
On the way
back we passed this amazingly bright patch of white
lichen . . .
. . . and found a slight
shortcut to avoid re-crossing the stile.
That led us easily down to the forest track
and the rest was plain sailing . . . I mean walking.
You didn't even have to open the gate if you
didn't want to, as there wasn't a fence !
- - - o o o - - -
In the quarry car park under Irton Pike we reached
my car and the three of us and the dogs climbed aboard . . .
I mean got in !
We drove back to The
Bower House where we had left Ian's car at the start of
They were still serving Sunday lunch, which
for us would substitute as an early Sunday tea before we parted
company and left for home.