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" The Gasgale Valley from Home "

Date & start time:      1st March 2022. 10 am start.

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

Places visited :          Lanthwaite Woods, Lanthwaite Green, Gasgale Valley and return.

Walk details :              5.5 miles, 1000 ft of ascent, 2 hours 50 mins.

Highest point :           Gasgale Valley path, 1075ft - 330 m.

Walked with :              Loes and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                     Blue skies after a frosty start.


© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


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With an afternoon commitment in the diary for me,

Loes and I make an early start for this extended local walk.


Loes is unsure of rocky ground but also unaware of what lies ahead

so it is up to me to judge the route.


The valley offers a gentle but surprisingly tricky climb

due to the erosion after years of flood events,

but fortunately the return is easier.


Our start . . . by the red phone box !


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With the sun still low in the sky but warm enough to melt the overnight frost from the fields

we head out along the road to Scale Hill and Lanthwaite Woods.

Recent rains have left not one but two "Puffin Tarns" in the field alongside the road, the overnight temperatures evident in the icy edges.

Ice on the pools in the field next to the River Cocker.
Vegetation in the stream below the bridge also catches the light.

The river flow is back to normal after the rains of recent days.

This close to the fells, the river levels rise and fall much quicker than further downstream.

In the field below Scale Hill Cottages the tree shadow has enabled the ground frost to persist.

The the car park and into the wood.

We'll follow the bridleway up through the woods to Lanthwaite Green.

The dogs lead the way on this familiar path . . .
. . . past the old mine exploration known as Lanty's Cave.
At the top of the climb the bridleway leaves the woodland . . .
. . . and heads out between the fields, with the Gasgale Valley ahead.

One of the dramatic open field trees alongside the path, with the outline of Whiteside behind.

We cross the Buttermere Road and leave the Lanthwaite Gate houses behind.

Ahead, the River Liza which rushes down the Gasgale Valley towards Crummock Water

but has been diverted by the high ground of Scale Hill and instead has carved a route north, directly for the Lorton Valley.

We walk the green track towards Peel Place and approach the river.

The stone in the foreground has the remnants of a painted sign upon it.

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The track to the farm barns and sheep housing at Peel Place

curves away to the left, but we need to follow the suggestion

and head right at this point.


Follow the arrows . . .

See the arrows ?   I didn't even see the Indians !


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The barns at Peel Place are accessed by carefully fording the river.

For budding geography or geology students this area is a delight.

Here we see the presence of upland river action . . . with a capital "A".

When Ann and I first got to know this area there was a grassy path across to a short footbridge.

The floods of the last ten or fifteen years have dramatically changed the river bed

so the track down alongside the wall opposite now ends far away at a dramatic river bed full of river washed stone.

The glacial and river bed deposits are once again on the move.

The action of the river has carved out a ten foot high cliff where before there were just gorse bushes.

The old bridges were washed away but a new one sits securely on a rock outcrop half way up the river.

Above the bridge the valley starts to narrow and the sides become steeper.

The erosion becomes confines within narrow valley walls so digs deeper and starts to affect the old pathway.

The rock step at the narrowest part of the valley has a lovely double waterfall

in front of which someone has built a small stone tower.

Dylan is ahead having climbed the rock step, us humans take longer.
Above the falls the river flows over a series of cataracts.

The path which used to follow close to the river has had to move higher up the fellside.

It now crosses a section of  scree that covers the fellside below Whin Ben.

The ground frost is still present in the valley and the flat stones are remarkably slippery !

Here you can see the path heading down into the extended river bed, the new line of the path is above and to the right.

The path in this section of the valley has proved quite difficult, alternating between boulders close to the river and new paths through heather.

My objective of the fallen boulder is reached . . .
. . . from here the path gets easier for a while.

The strong sunlight on the Gasgale Crags provides a bold contrast to the shadows of the valley.

Our new objective became one of reaching the sunshine and admiring the views of Hopegill Head and Sand Hill at the top of the valley.

Loes looking happy having reached further up the valley than she imagined just half an hour ago.

By the time of taking this photo we've turned and we're making our way back down towards the large boulder.

Below us the effect of all the heavy weather

has exposed the glacial clays of the river bed in a way I've not seen here before.

Loes wasn't looking forward to retracing our steps down the eroded path of our ascent

so I let her know there was an easier alternative that takes a higher line down the valley from near stone.

After a heavy day on the high fells I would recommend this path in preference to the other, though you would miss the waterfall.

Even the higher path is not without its moments of excitement as we cross over a few exposed rocky crags.

All is well as we round the corner high above the waterfalls and look down on flat ground of Lanthwaite Green, still a fair way below.

Dougal leads the way down the grassy slope towards the bridge we used earlier.

If you think you can see circles within the bracken beyond the stream you may have spotted the remains of the medieval homesteads

and hut circles of Lanthwaite Green.  They really show up best on winter days when there's no bracken.

Lanthwaite Green has evidence of not only medieval sheilings (summer farms) but also of earthworks, cairns and cultivation

possibly going back to the bronze ages.             (Follow the link at the foot of the page to see a winter picture.)

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We make our way down to the bridge and re-cross the River Liza.



We are aiming for Lanthwaite Green Farm

and the footpath over to the woods

that skirts around the farm, the gable end of which

is seen down by the road in the picture to the left.


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The route back is dominated by the western face of Grasmoor,

now behind us but still high above us.

We cross into the Lanthwaite Woods by a different gate than earlier.
This gives us a delightful walk back along another forest track.

Views across the lake to the Park Beck outflow, with Mellbreak behind.

The bright sunlight of this morning continues as we walk the road from the Scale Hill car park back towards home.

This was Hunter Davies and Margaret Forster's Cumbrian home till a few years back.

It has been refurbished and extended over the last few years since Margaret's death and Hunters departure for London.

Ahh . . . Loes seems to have borrowed the camera for a last photo before the end of the walk.

The log Dougal found in the woods is carried all the way home and burnt on the fire a few nights later !

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Technical note: Pictures taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . a sturdy pair of boots and a dog that collects firewood.

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Previous walk - 28th February - The Spring Garden

A previous time up here - 12th June 2020 - A brief encounter with Gasgale Gill