GLW1205: A Minty Treat

Monday 4th June 2012

A Minty Treat would probably not have been my chosen title for this outing but we were following a walk described in a book given by Diane to Margaret for her birthday.  

Therein, it is entitled A Minty Treat in the Foothills.

The book is called Curious Cumbrian Walks and was written by Graham Dugdale.

It is an attractive little compendium; most excursions being within easy striking distance of Kendal and not too strenuous.

Just perfect for what we want and with some quirky facts (and titles) thrown in.

Today, we kicked off with number six:

A Minty Treat In The Foothills.

Looking back over Kendal

The triangle between the A6, the A685 and the Whinfell range has long been one of my favourite areas, although we have seldom visited it.  Lying neither in the Lake District nor the Yorkshire Dales National Parks (although thought is being given to incorporating it into the former), the terrain is gently rounded rather than spectacular but the reverse is true of the long distance views.  And it is so quiet.  Graham Dugdale said that when he did this walk, he saw nobody on it.  We were there on a much busier day- we saw a party of three.  However, it was Bank Holiday so you could expect it to be more crowded.  On the other hand, it was also the Queen's Diamond Jubilee so perhaps that kept folk at home.

Some of the terrain I had covered before with the BOOTboys (see BB1034) .  The penultimate stretch, Margaret and I had travelled in reverse when we did the Dales Way Stage 3.  However, several of the paths were new to us and, irrespective of previous coverage, the whole makes a nice round trip, especially on a sunny afternoon, like today.

Whether-wise, it was a good cutting and drying day as would soon be proven.

A good example of the quirkiness of the descriptions relates to the suggestion that one should pause to look at a distant Selside Hall and then it goes on to relate its ghost stories.

Fair enough except that it would have been more helpful had it been specific as to where to stop or to acknowledge that at this time of the year with tree foliage rampant, there was little of the Hall that you could see!

Consequently, we could see no ghosts although a peculiar thing did occur when we stopped at Selside School, a little further on.  

It being holiday time, we could use the smart facilities without child-molesting accusations.  

But when we came to look at the team picture, something very strange was apparent



At Whitwell Folds, the book warned about a potentially dangerous bull in the field (illegal, surely, by a public footpath?)  

We had no such problems but a big gypsy-ish horse looked as if he would have had a go at us had he not been tethered.

I say we had no such problems, but a bit further on a posse of bullocks did show more than a passing interest.  We gave them a wide berth.

It was silage time and the farmers were making the most of this rare sunny day.

As were the washerwomen.

We did go astray once.  I am not sure what happened.  We seemed to be following the instructions but somehow ended up on the wrong side of a tiny stream and had to negotiate our way through barbed wire and brambles to return to the trail.  The plus points of our unofficial route were that firstly we found a sheltered, sunny, snoozing place and, secondly, a strange large, solid metal object.  An unexploded bomb?

The stream took us to the river- the Mint of the title- and on to Patten Mill and the statue for which Margaret modelled a few years ago.  She has hardly changed.  

At Shaw End not only was there another fine display of washing, there is a magnificent stable block and a rather large house.  I remember this from many years back when Mike lived nearby.  The house was then derelict.  Not no more. Now a very grand looking place.

From here, by a house that will be familiar to Mike, we followed the Dales Way northwards- when we did it previously we travelled south so it was interesting to see the different aspects (and washing).

We passed a number of small tarns and a notice board reminiscent of those we had seen in Greece!

The final stretch left the Dales Way and looped down to the car with views over Kendal, to Benson Knott and across to the Coniston range.

It would be carping to make criticism of the book but the statistician in me gets a little irritated when distances that are clearly approximations in Statute (e.g. "a quarter of a mile") are given a misleading level of precision when converted into Metric (e.g. "402 metres").  The path directions are generally very good and usually, but not always, include clear indications of the distances between critical way points. Unfortunately for the look rather than the utility of the book, the photographs are in black and white.

Minor niggles over, it is good for us to have so many suggestions of local walks that are either new to us or present interesting variations on our previous outings.  The historical descriptions add to the interest and, judging by today's venture, the Curious Cumbrian Walks book is going to be a success.

Don, 4th June 2012


Distance: 5.9 miles;     Height climbed:  711 feet



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