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" A Caldbeck Round with Loes and Sheila "

Date & start time:      28th May 2022.   1.30 pm start.

Location of Start :     The Village car park, Caldbeck, North Lakes, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 323 399 )

Places visited :           The Howk, Potts Gill Farm, Hudscales, Hesket Newmarket, Waters Meeting.

Walk details :              7.3 miles, 750 ft of ascent, 4 hours 15 mins.

Highest point :           Hudscale farm (at the back of High Pike) 1000 ft above sea level.

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

Weather :                     Sunshine and blue skies . . . shorts weather.


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


Today an October 2021 Cumbria Magazine walking article encourages us to visit the countryside around Caldbeck and Hesket Newmarket.

Loes has been here before, but I haven't walked this area and neither has our third member today, Sheila.

[ For those with an extremely good memory, she featured as an actor in several of the Loweswater Village Plays (a few years back now)]

In the magazine, Andrew Gallon suggested a "Walk of the Month" starting from Caldbeck, seen at the top left of his map.

We followed this to the best of our ability, local circumstances encouraging us away from the route on several occasions.

If it had been a high fells route, it would  be given the classification of a "less frequented" Wainwrights route,

which is not always the best of compliments.

However we had a good afternoon out, and the low-lights of the route were more than made up for by the highlights of the day.

We're heading "Back O'Skiddaw" to John Peel country, in the form of the B5299 towards . . . well you can read it yourself !

- - - o o o - - -



Conveniently we arrived about lunchtime

which allowed an initial visit to the Oddfellow's Arms in the village.


This not only provided us with a nice lunch and sociable conversation

but it meant we only needed to carry minimal gear

for the afternoon walk.


The pub was dog-friendly, and so were the staff.


My companions today, Sheila and Loes

outside the pub at the start the walk.



- - - o o o - - -

The afternoon would include road and off road walking, river gorges, fine views, industrial heritage

and the chance to appreciate the many historic aspects of this part of the world (as hinted at in the old photos at the pub).

Gill Beck, a tributary of Cald Beck, as it runs through the village.

the flags are out for the forthcoming Jubilee and in support of the People of Ukraine.

After our lunch we back-tracked and started the walk proper from the main car park.

Soon after the beginning there's a footpath seemingly through some private housing but it's well signposted,

but warnings didn't include any about delightfully crazy women.



- - - o o o - - -


The initial path, hinted at in the first gate photo above

took us unto a wonderful garlic-filled valley

on a good track towards the area called "The Howk".



This part of Caldbeck is famous, both for the river gorge

and an old Bobbin Mill.



Our inclusion of this extra section to the published route

allowed us to explore the wonderfully named Howk

and the waterfall on Whelpo Beck.

- - - o o o - - -

The old signboard gave us some basic information, but it was rather too faded to read easily.

You can at least get the idea of the old mill's layout and scale.

In reality the view was much clearer and though all the machinery within the main building had gone the building was recognisable

even though the storage barn before it was larger than the illustration suggested.

The high back wall of the mill has the water supply trough above.
The sheer scale of the waterwheel can be imagined by the size of the pit.

It was a 42 foot wheel, three foot wide undershot wheel, in its day the largest such water wheel in the country.

The reason for the mill's location was a gorge and fine waterfall just upstream

which made the need for a long and complex water feed unnecessary.

We crossed on the substantial bridge, which stands high above the limestone gorge.

- - - o o o - - -



The Whelpo Beck,

soon to be renamed the Cald Beck

as it flowed through the village,

has cut a remarkably deep channel through the rock.



We look down on the waterfall from the bridge

as the water tumbles and crashes down

carrying tree trunks and debris

into the narrow rock fissure.



- - - o o o - - -

Across a field out onto the road at Todcroft and remarkably we still seem to be within the village of Caldbeck

despite our half mile detour through the delightful wooded valley.

We turn right by the Union flag at the village school and a colourful Copper Beech tree on the junction.

The squat building goes by the name of "The old Map Shop" but it's architecture hints at a more historic past.

The classic local architecture here uses a lot of stone not slate

and my eye was drawn by the contrasting colours of the green ivy, the Provence green/blue of the barn door and the old red sandstone arch.

A beautifully maintained pond in a garden in Upton, before we cross the bridge back over the Gill Beck.

I wouldn't be surprised if this was an old mill pond for one of Caldbeck's long forgotten mills.

A house at Townhead had a lovely scarecrow guarding their potato patch.

I cant help feeling that he would do a better job if he were looking at the patch itself, rather than staring over the fence behind ;o)

- - - o o o - - -

We left the village and enter a more agricultural landscape, heading up the road to Wath Farm.

Our route through the barns and outbuildings was complicated by poor signposting and an inaccurately placed path on the O.S map.

Still we found our way around the houses and barns and were soon back on our route.

Much of this next stretch was described as 'pathless' but we basically followed the gradually reducing Gill Beck, climbing steadily uphill.

Again the fine detail of the map's right of way path 'left a little to be desired'.

A covered-over pipe bridge described in the article took a bit of finding.

The path follows around Crook Bank with the gorse on the adjacent Mall Hill making a spectacular display.

We aimed for "fingerpost on the skyline"  and emerged onto the Potts Gill farm road.

Can't see the fingerpost . . . neither could we !

The delightful Potts Gill, with a well preserved square enclosure immediately alongside the entrance to the farm.

Another choice ahead . . . either continue upward onto the open fell and join the Cumbrian Way path half way up the hillside,

then lose all the height again as you immediately drop back down to the farmland . . .

or follow an right of way path across the marginal land in the middle field and avoid the extra climb.

The mapped footpath was tussocky and occasionally damp, but we successfully reached the footbridge near Nether Row.

It was an interesting crossing of the next field though, as it had two rather frisky horses in residence.

To be fair, the horses weren't a problem to us, but to the dogs, whom they chased rapidly around the field.

You hear about dogs sheep worrying . . . this was horses worrying dogs on a legitimate footpath . . . not pleasant.

I made a direct line for the gate and encouraged the dogs out a.s.a.p.

Adrenalin levels back to something like normal, we entered a field with cows and calves . . . oh well !

Thankfully they were docile beef cattle and with the dogs close at heel we passed through without incident.

Had we taken the described mapped route through Potts Gill Farm we would have ended up on the track you can see in the background.

It was longer and more climbing but we would have avoided the horses, but we weren't to know that in advance.

Described as "another pathless stretch" . . . quite a lot of the mapped footpaths we used came under that category.

An outline I recognise . . . Carrock Fell in the distance.

Again a deviation from the publish route finds us in Hudscales farm yard where we chatted to the guys staying at their camping barn.

A nice carving of an owl graces an old tree trunk next to the main house.

Advice from the local farmer about young lambs and various farm stock in the fields, found us taking the farm track out rather than footpath.

We've noticed several nice barn conversions in this area and this one was no exception . . . very posh.

Heading north along the farm track, aiming obliquely for Hesket Newmarket.

Rural scenes and the Caldbeck TV mast once again, this time on our left as we walk downhill.

It's remote up here . . . you could call it big cat country !

We found the recommended track and turned right at the junction, down an old lonning.

Ahead another field of free range sheep and lambs . . .

These were texels which stood no messing from us or the dogs.

With my two happily to heel we ambled on leaving this mum muttering under her breath.

Texels, a Dutch breed, always remind me of the old Ford Transit vans, square, a wheel at each corner and built for the job.

The old lonning once again becomes walled in, as we reach the property known as Street Head.

- - - o o o - - -


If we felt our own forthcoming Jubilee celebrations were not enough

it seems we could journey back here next Saturday

to enjoy the Hesket Newmarket Celebrations.

Hope it goes well.

- - - o o o - - -

Our different line of approach brought us in at the west end of Hesket's village green.

It seems fairly busy up ahead.

There's an awful lot of people and motorbikes.

The buzz around the place was in stark contrast to our last hour on the forgotten footpaths of Caldbeck.

It seems there was a Vintage Motorcycle Rally, several of the competitors having the identifying numbers on show.

This was an old 'Panther 600' and sidecar.

The festivities were centred around the village green and The Old Crown Pub

and it seemed churlish not to join in . . . anyone for a beer ?

Some of the fine old, pre-war motorcycles, which sounded as good as they looked.

A classic BSA bike and sidecar drove past us, as we sat and enjoyed the sunshine.

A red Moto Guzi, its driver waving to a fellow participant in the event.

Apparently it was organised as the Vintage Motor Cycle Back Green Rally and was for bikes dating from pre-1960.

Not all the bikes were old however and I think it was no coincidence that the village was full of bikes on this nice day.

The attraction of the old bikes, the sunshine and the village location had encouraged the others to journey here as well.

There was even a rather smart three-wheeled bike which attracted a small group of enthusiasts.

Having partaken of our refreshments, glasses were collected and we were on our way once more.

- - - o o o - - -

- - - o o o - - -


Our required footpath headed directly north from The Green.

We walk off in the direction of the River Caldew.



Our path once again headed through glorious garlic-filled woods

and then across open fields towards the river.



Loes and Sheila (and myself) pleased to have better paths

for this later section of the walk.



- - - o o o - - -

We were getting rather blasé now about cattle on the footpath

but once again they were a beef herd and more interested in the eating the grass than chasing the us and the dogs.

The Cald Beck just up stream of Waters Meeting.

Dougal certainly appreciated the cooling effect of the water on this lovely sunny day.

Crossing could have been made on those fallen trees, but an easier method was to use the bridge.

- - - o o o - - -



Looking down the Cald Beck towards Waters Meeting.


Strangely the River Caldew which we had walked alongside

as we left Hesket village had remarkably little water

flowing in its river bed.

(sorry no photo)


The larger River Caldew has its head waters close to Skiddaw House

and flows north to here from near Mungrisdale.


The additional of the waters of Cald Beck

would enhance it's size appreciably today.


- - - o o o - - -

The Cumbria Way also follows this valley but on a path higher up the hillside.

We walk close to the river, heading for Caldbeck, just a short distance ahead.

First one tent, then a whole collection . . .

. . . tells us the path has entered the Caldbeck Campsite.

As we reach the village we cross the first footbridge and call over to see the famous St Kentigern's Church.

The building includes Norman and English Gothic architecture

but is more famous from a secular point of view for the graveyard alongside the church.

There you can find the grave of the famous John Peel, subject of the popular Hunting song "Do you 'ken John Peel".

The grave stone is painted white and consequently easy to find.
A second gravestone took a bit more finding . . .

We were guided to the Harrison Family grave by a lady who introduced herself as a distant Peel family member.

Who is this other grave belonging to ?    The answer is Richard Harrison and his wife, Mary Harrison (born Mary Robinson)

who earlier in her life was known as "The Maid of Buttermere"

- - - o o o - - -

Caldbeck was still not ready to let us depart for home without one more interesting find.

This was the Priest's Mill down by the river.

The old water leat feeding the mill.
and the old water wheel, sadly no longer operational.

Part of the reason for that is the collapse of the weir across the adjacent river.

Our walk ended with a woodland glimpse of the teams enjoying a game of cricket on the village green . . .

. . . and then it was back to the car park, ready for our drive home to Loweswater (and Cockermouth of course).

- - - o o o - - -


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 . . . that lovely lunch before we started.

Go to Home Page . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 18th May 2022 - We Wander to Wonder (in Borrowdale)

A previous time up here - Wednesday 30th July 2009 OFC Roughton Gill and High Pike   (looking down on Caldbeck from far away)

Next event - 31st May 2022 - Loweswater Farmers Summer Trip 2022