GLW2124 : Happy Birthday Stephen

Tuesday 5th September 2021

Tomorrow is Stephen’s birthday.  

To celebrate, he and Julia returned to the Black Swan at Ravenstonedale where we joined them.  

To be more precise, we joined them at Sedbergh for a walk that comprised some of last week’s BOOTboys outing: BB2132 : Akay and the Pepperpot.

Starting from the Old Grammar School car park, we made our way through the grounds of Sedbergh School proper.  

Lots of doting parents were dropping off their young for the start of their new academic year.  Our route led us out and down to the River Rawthey at Birks where we crossed the footbridge to return to Sedbergh via Millthrop.

I hadn’t realised that Stephen and Julia had lived there when they first moved up to Cumbria.  One house in particular had a magnificent display of flowers- not a one year fluke as Google Earth shows it similarly festooned in 2016.

We crossed fields then school grounds to reach the east end of the Main Street. This has really gone up market- maybe Lockdown inspired the shop keepers to get the paint brushes out.  It certainly looked a lot better and more prosperous than in recent years.  And the ice cream was good!

Our room at the Black Swan could best be described as bijou.  It is a good job there were no cats needing swinging. And as for the shower- it needed a Danger, Hot Water sign!

These minor points were soon forgotten when sipping Stephen’s celebratory champagne, sat outside in the evening sun.  

Dinner was up to the usual Black Swan standard.

Then there was the ghost walk.  Betty (dog) needed exercise so we set off up through the village.  Julia knew a short cut through the graveyard.  It was dark and the battery on my phone ran out so I had no light from that.


Monday 6th September 2021

Breakfast was just as good.  We bade Stephen Happy Birthday and then adieu. Our mission now was to explore one of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s walks through Smardale.  The chatty lady at the information hut told us the life stories of the men who built the now disused railways plus those of several other Victorian Eminents whose names I forget.  Meanwhile the finches and tits were scoffing the nuts but the famed red squirrels failed to make an appearance.

The first hundred yards of the old railway track were interesting, as much as anything for the variety of wild flowers.  

However soon the densely tree-lined path seemed rather long.  Eventually, somewhat to our relief, we came out into the open and ahead of us was the viaduct.  

I am sure that when I was last here with the BOOTboys the viaduct was closed but Jamie remembers crossing it in 2006 on bike.

It is quite a structure- an inspiration for the viaduct in the Harry Potter films according to the info-lady.  

Rather than descend here to see it from below, we decided to cross the viaduct and continue along the track until we could drop down to an old pack horse bridge.

Once across we needed a decision.  Should we head downstream to see the viaduct from below then return along the wooded train bed or climb onto the open moor and return in the open.  We chose the latter, wouldn’t you?  It still gave us a good distant view of the viaduct.

The heather on the moor was past its best and the distant views were not as clear as we might have liked but it certainly made a very pleasant contrast to the first part of the walk.

Our drive home was via some remarkably narrow lanes with few passing places plus the novelty of a ford, albeit with only a disappointing trickle of water to cross. Crosby Garret seemed an interesting little village but we didn’t stop to explore.

After crossing another open moorland we reached Orton where a decision had to be made.  Should we stop at the chocolate shop?  You might be surprised to learn that the answer was no.  We should head for home, which we did then promptly fell asleep in the conservatory.  A fine end to an enjoyable short break.

Don, Monday 6th September 2021

5.1 Miles, 462 feet

Great Little Walks

Great Little Walks
Master Index

Home Page

Great Little Walks© is a Lakeland Enterprise production brought to you by
Comitibus Communications