Shap Spa and Summit
8th September 2012
a few week's lay off, thanks to this poor
summer's weather, once again we tried one
of the Curious
Graham Dugdale. This one was his Walk
22: All's Well at Shap.
was late afternoon when we parked outside
the Shap Wells Hotel.
stop was the Britannia monument commemorating
the accession of Queen Victoria and as featured
BB1223: St George and the Squirrel.
on descending to the Spa, this time there was only one
red squirrel to be seen, scampering so quickly across
the path that Margaret didn't spot it. A fact
that particularly annoyed her as the same thing happened
last time I saw a kingfisher!
was, however, a feature that had not been noticed on
trip- the distinct "smell of sulphur".
as a consolation prize, a remarkable growth on the side
of a tree that resembled Mr Squirrel with his shopping.
Or maybe it was a meerkat?
our way differed from BB1223
we made our way upstream
we missed the waterfalls - perhaps the vegetation
has grown somewhat since the book was written.
promised dark tunnel of rhododendrons was
made quite a spooky tunnel.
a quite a stretch of woodland, we emerged
into a field via a pylon.
the far side was the high point of the London
to North Western railway line:
no steamers to be seen struggling their
way north, although there is a footbridge
if, on the odd day one passes, you want
nostalgic lungfulls of steam and smoke.
there was a majestic view of..... Shap Granite Works.
I have seen this many, many times from the A6
but never from behind like this where you can really
see the scale of the operation.
path now turned south, following the old
road, now just a track, but once travelled
by a hopeful Charles Stuart on his way to
Derby. And quite possibly when in
a bit of a dash on his retreat.
he stopped for a bout of grouse shooting
we don't know but there were plenty of birds
asking for trouble today.
reaching the long driveway to the Shap Wells
Hotel, we had a decision to make. To carry
on with the walk or to cut and run back
to the hotel? .
was approaching - the nights are now rapidly drawing
in. Nevertheless, we decided to press on, up to
the A6 for a brief section then left over the moorland.
before the sun dropped below the skyline, we stopped
for a brew and to provide the midges with an early evening
supper. The track thereafter became increasingly
boggy, even more so after we passed Salterwath farm.
was distinctly twilight as we passed through
the Shap Wells car park- now very full as
not only were there two coach loads of visitors,
including one from Zell am Zee, there was
a wedding party in full swing.
although several cars were parked around
us just outside the grounds, we were able
to escape into the gloaming and thickening
was far from being the prettiest walk that
we have ever undertaken, but it did have
its points of interest.
an earlier start would be recommended. Especially
if you want to see the squirrels.
8th September June 2012
Mr Dugdale, please note that in the 18th century
(well, certainly in the 20th century) Shap was in Westmorland,
5.6 miles; Height climbed:
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