GLW2010 : The Four Bears Marmalade March

Friday 14th August 2020

If you are thinking that's an odd name for a walk you are right.  However, much as I would like so to do, I can't claim the credit.  I'm not sure who can.  I was going to call it, mundanely, Dalemain and Dacre but I discovered the Long Distance Walkers Association were using the Four Bears title, liked it so have borrowed it.

The March has been adopted as an extension to the Ullswater Way that Margaret & I completed with Cynthia & Ian three years ago.

Luca was to play cricket at Keswick so we thought we would go and support him. Margaret came up with the idea of visiting the gardens at Dalemain on the way.  I then discovered the Four Bears Marmalade March.  We decided that, if we had enough time, we should incorporate that into our expedition.

It was a glorious day.  We expected there to be heavy traffic but that proved not to be the case, not in our direction at least.  The house, of course, is coronavirally closed but the gardens are open on Fridays.  They are nice but not that extensive and I have to say that I think the cost, for what there is to see, is exorbitant at £8.50.  Fortunately Margaret had her prize voucher from the 2018 World Marmalade Championships in which she had won a silver medal.  That was a two for one entry which made it much more reasonable.

The gardens were a day or two past their best, or so it seemed to me, but still very colourful and enjoyable.  I don't know the names of many of the plants but Margaret rejoiced in identifying them and telling me which we had at home.

We were saddened to see on a cottage gate a notice for a Service of Thanksgiving for Jimmie Dey, the retired gamekeeper, who had recently died.  We remembered him from our previous visit.  His garden was a haven for wild birds who were sufficiently tamed that they would feed from his hand.

We left Marmalade Towers and set off on the Ullswater Way extension along a farm track to Dacre.  The March.  This was mostly dead straight and lacking in any great variation of view so it became rather tedious on what was a very hot day.

Eventually we reached Dacre, passing the Cumbria Clock Company where, we think, Big Ben had been repaired.  

Dacre Castle was quite imposing in a modest sort of way.  

Dacre itself is a small hamlet which boasts a rather old church, Saint Andrew's. Unfortunately the lady arranging the flowers wouldn't let us in but we did wander round the graveyard, finding the four bears; one near each corner of the church.  If you didn't know, I doubt if you would realise they are bears,  Their origins are somewhat obscure but the version I like best is that described in The Dacre Bears, only it concludes that the bears might be lions!

Unfortunately, I couldn't find the Lady Anne lock described in the walk leaflet.  The lock on what seemed to be on the correct door was dated   1875.  Maybe her lock plate is on the inside of the door.

The Dacre Church Drone Flight in and around the church is well worth watching (though you might want to turn the music off).

On a seat on a small grassy triangle in the middle of the village we stopped for coffee and cake whilst debating which way to return. The March drops down to Dacre Beck then heads off to Pooley Bridge.  That was out of the question given both heat and time- we were running late and didn't want to miss Luca's batting again.  Consequently we took the path that leads round Flusco Hill and almost back to Dalemain.  A mostly much more pleasant track than our outward one.

Unfortunately there was a short section along the A592 which was unpleasant. The verge was narrow and, in places, overgrown forcing us into the busy road.

Soon we were back at Dalemain, now long closed, but the car park was ungated (I had taken the precaution of checking beforehand).

The drive along the A66 to Keswick is quite spectacular as you pass by the side of Blencathra.  The cricket ground is equally splendid with Skiddaw as its backdrop and glimpses of the distant hills across Derwentwater.  Is there a finer located wicket in England?

Although we were late, the match hadn't started.  The opposition chose to bat. Luca put on a decent show in the field and took a wicket with his bowling.  He is going to be a good whippy bowler when he grows and puts on a bit of muscle.

Unfortunately we didn't get to see him bat.  He was due in at number 8 but the earlier batsmen knocked off the runs before he got his chance.  Whilst all this was happening, Ellie was enjoying herself in the rather impressive children's playground.

The drive home along the A591, England's finest A road, through the heart of Lakeland was marred only by the fact that dusk falling fast as we reached Windermere.

All-in-all a fine garden, a great little walk and a special encounter with Emma, & co. to watch Luca in action.  Four Bears, Marmalade Towers and a cricket match.  A grand day out.

  Don, Friday 15th August 2020



Great Little Walks

Great Little Walks
Master Index

Home Page