BB1812 : The Old Man, the Penguin and the Baby

Thursday 19th April 2018

One year on from my 47DON=70 birthday celebrations, I thought it would be a nice idea to continue where we left off, i.e. at Potter Tarn, and head all the way down to Kendal and in particular to the Tap to celebrate 47DON=71.  John then announced that we had a second reason to celebrate- namely the birth of his first grandchild, Isobel.

We had a couple of time constraints.  As we were to catch the 555 bus to Staveley and as we (Robin, Stan, Terry, Tony and me) are all of an age that permits free travel we, and many other of the silver haired brigade, couldn’t set off earlier than the 9:40.   

That was not the problem; indeed Tony welcomed the lie-in.  The critical constraint was that The Tap, where we had butties on order, didn’t open until 4 p.m..  Everything had to be staged for opening-time arrival.  The boys, now joined by John and convinced that we had plenty of time for the intended outing, decided that our first stage should be a visit to Eclec, the appropriately named wotsit and coffee shop (where Percy, my birthday present from Margaret, had been discovered).

I managed to extract them by 10:30 to lead them up the hill....

..... and over to Potter Tarn. 

It was becoming the mighty fine day that we had been promised.

Knowing that the way back to Kendal was rather further than the boys realised, I drove them on to Gurnal Dubbs for a noon time lunch stop.  

Tony then amazed me by eschewing the first opportunity and taking us half way round the tarn to a place with an obscured view before getting his butties out. Perhaps we are at last weaning him off his noon-time refuelling or maybe it was the effect of his lie-in.

As we passed the boat house, we met a couple of- well I don’t know what to call them.  They were older than girls, ladies doesn’t seem quite the right word, nor does babes and women even less so.  Females is technically accurate but rather cold.  How about lasses?  We met two lasses who had been swimming in the tarn.

Although we didn’t know them, it turned out that they were friends with the lass who had celebrated her 60th birthday by swimming in 60 different tarns, accompanied in at least one by Bryan (who kept his hat on- see BB1726).

I let Tony & co have a reasonable lunch break then stirred them on in case they wanted to visit the megalithic stone circle (BB1621).  They didn’t.

Or if they wanted to visit each of the boundary stones for the Low Taggleshaw enclosure.  They didn't. They were content with the ones that stood beside the track but they did stop to read the plaque.

Shortly afterwards, we met a man climbing the hill, fly fishing rod in his hand.  It was another case of we don’t know you but we know whom you know!

Meandering way down towards Kendal, we stopped now and again to wonder at the perfectly circular, seeming unnamed hillock that is quartered by stone walls and looks as if it ought to be something of historical importance.  If it is, I have so far failed to find any evidence.

Having walked through a mucky farmyard with four tractor projects for Tony.....

..... our next point of interest was Sprint  Mill.  The owner, slightly known to some of us, wasn’t around but the door to the workshop was open and inside was a quite fascinating sight.

Before long we reached the outskirts of Kendal and as we had seemingly made such good time I decided to take the boys the long way round to the confluence of the Mint and the Kent at Sandy Bottoms- an area previously unknown to several.

It was there that I discovered that my watch had stopped and we had 25 minutes less than I thought to reach the Tap as it opened.  There was still time as long as we got a move on.  

This we did, following the path through the town alongside the river, which will soon be much improved thanks to the controversial conversion of the eyesore of the informal, unkempt car park into a riverside recreation area.  

Not that many Kendalians share my view on the matter but there we are!

As we reached Miller Bridge, I looked up into the town and there I could see the Town Hall clock showing three minutes to four.  

We only had a couple of hundred yards or thereabouts to go so arrived at the Tap bang on time.

I felt quite pleased with myself even though in truth it was more of an accident than a masterpiece of timing.

A table awaited us in the sunshine where our ranks were expanded first by Martin,

and later by Roger and James who had been unable to join us walking plus Bryan & Liz  who had been up Helm Crag.

A toast was drunk to the health and happiness of this Old Man and, more importantly, to baby Isobel and proud grandfather John.

Don, Thursday 19th April 2018


PS  The butties produced by Ronnie at the Tap were enthusiastically scoffed but pride of place must go to the finest sausage rolls I have ever tasted.  Ronnie said they came from Plumgarths so next time I am passing guess what I am going to buy!



Shame I couldn’t join you, I had hoped to get to the Tap but the meeting went on too long. Once again sartorial conspiracy, or just the boys in blue?


Just our normal instinctive elegance!



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Robin, Stan, Terry, John


Map : OS 1:50k


BB1812 : The Old Man, the Penguin and the Baby


Thursday 19th April 2018


Potter Tarn, Gurnal Dubbs, The Tap

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:


GPX track

BB1812 GPX


Don, John, Robin, Stan, Terry, Tony

Plus at The Tap: Bryan & Liz, James, Martin, Roger

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