GLW1505 : Mizpah in Winster

Saturday 25th July 2015

Midway between the popular Gummers How and Orrest Head vantage points overlooking Windermere is a small, little known hill that provides an equally superb panoramic view. Its name is Rosthwaite Heights.

I remember going there with the BOOTboys ( BB1442 ) and thinking that I must take Margaret but had you asked me yesterday I would have said that I had done by now.

However, I could find no documentary evidence and she no recollection thereof so we concluded it had been an intention that slipped my mind.  Not an unusal occurence! Time to put it right on a rather better day than most we have had this summer.  We were accompanied by Roger and Denise, neither of whom knew of its existence.

We parked by St John's Church at Winster where a garden party seemed in full swing at the old School House.

The Brown Horse was our first objective but only to cross the A5074 although I nearly got spiked or even decapitated by a tractor turning the corner too fast with its prongs before it.  Rather than walk along this busy, pathless road, we did an up and down and up and down along back lanes to recross the road three quarters of a mile nearer Bowness.

Now we were on bridle then footpaths taking us around by Bellman Houses.....

..... and down to Bellman Ground where we saw people manning the turning that leads off the road and up to Rosthwaite Farm.

Once we had climbed the hill to the farm it was clear that another, rather larger and grander garden party was in process.  It would have cost us £5 each to enter but as it had not been on our agenda, we continued along the bridle path through the grounds. As it happened, we saw quite a lot of the attractions for free.  

There was a display of vintage horse drawn carriages, including one for a child that would presumably have been pulled by a Shetland Pony.  Or a large, biddable dog.

The path led onto what, in winter, would be open fell but at this time of year is covered in head high bracken. Fortunately the path was clear so Open Day visitors could have a tractor-drawn ride to the summit.  We walked up to see the fine views over almost the full length of Windermere.  

There is an inviting memorial seat but, unfortunately, it is exposed to the wind which was having a right good blow so we didn't linger.  Instead we headed south through the woods to the Ghyll Head Reservoir, found a vantage point and enjoyed a brew.

A long bracken trail then led us east to Winster House where a decision had to be made. Back to the car or up to the Brown Horse?  We felt we had earned the trip to the pub and what did we discover?  A party was in swing, this time it was a beer festival. Roger and I tried pub's own Winster Valley Lakes Blonde but, sad to report, it was not one about which we would rave.  I found it rather thin and almost sour.  We didn't try any of the other 14 that were on offer.

Back at the Church, the old School House party had finished and all was quiet.  

Of particular note was the number of gravestones carrying the word Mizpah.  

We knew not what it meant, although it sounded Hebrew.  That turned out to be correct. Seemingly its basic meaning is "Watchtower" but in Genesis 31 it marks the territorial agreement between Jacob and Laban, his father-in-law.  The word has now come to mean an emotional bond between people who are separated, either physically or by death.

The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another

It was a touching conclusion to a walk filled with features and fine views.

Don, 27th July 2015


Distance: 6.6 miles   Climbing: 828 feet


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