: The Comeback Trail
24th October 2018
are your requirements?” I asked Martin before the next
stage of his Comeback Trail.
than 10 miles, not more than 2,000 feet of climbing
and a route that we have not done previously,” was the
reply. He might have added something to the effect
that it would be a bonus if we could see where we were
going. As he didn’t, I added that in for him.
solution was the Willdale Round. Never heard of
it? Nor had I. It starts from Bampton and
climbs up the minor hills to the north of the Haweswater
Dam along to Low Kop then back along the Hause to the
day was far better than predicted. No fog or mist
to be seen anywhere, just a beautiful autumnal morning.
Would it last? It did.
passing through pleasant rolling farmland.....,
we emerged onto the fell.
there are many tracks and paths but we weren’t too concerned
about following them, we just wanted to get to a good
view point to see Haweswater. Consequently we took what
was a remarkably direct route to an unnamed small summit
almost directly above the dam. The views did not
continued along the undulating ground to Four Stone
Hill. Same view, still superb.
took a bit of scurrying around trying to find the stones.
Brian spotted them. They weren’t on the hill that
carries their name and number. They were in a
dip to the northwest, left of a small tarn which has
an ancient ring of stones to its right.
was another odd feature about them that I will reveal
next intended point of interest was to be what the map
shows as the Old Boundary Stone. We had some difficulty
finding it. The first reason was that the OMN
mapping program on my phone refused to work- it seemed
to think I hadn’t renewed my subscription but I had.
Consequently we resorted to more old fashioned
navigation by using the line of our shadow to orientate
the paper map.
we were looking for a path coming up from the valley.
That is my excuse for us going too far. I
had to get out my old Garmin and obtain the grid reference
from the satellites. We could now navigate directly
to the top of Low Kop but we still couldn’t see the
Old Boundary Stone. We had a hunt around but it’s
a grassy area; there was no stone to be seen. Then
Terry spotted it. What a surprise. It must
be the smallest boundary stone in the whole of Cumbria,
if not the world.
descent was straightforward. We needed to pass
between two enclosures of trees. We saw them in
the distance and headed directly towards them. However
when I later checked where we were, I couldn’t see them
anywhere. The reason being that we had already
been through them and I completely failed to notice!
OS map shows two routes to Moorahill Farm. The
left hand one is a track that goes through a ford. The
right hand one is a path that heads to a bridge.
that is not what the finger post told us. It said
that we should take the left hand track in order to
avoid the “deep” ford. What should we do? We
gambled, against the odds, that the map was correct
and the authorities that planted the finger post were
wrong. Fortunately we were right. There
was a clapper stone bridge over the stream which is
just as well as it would otherwise have been a deep
amount of water to ford.
had seen many wild ponies but all of them black. Then,
near the farmhouse, there was a white one, galloping
across the field like Shadowfax.
we had reached civilisation and we strolled down the
lane to Bampton, passing on the way a tree hosting a
rather strange black fungus.
reaching the village, we had a Withnail moment. I
had quite forgotten that in the film “Withnail and I”
they made a call from a phone box deep in the country.
Furthermore I hadn’t realised that that very phone box
was on the edge of Bampton village. Like Sleddale
it is a bit of a shrine to the pair, having a visitors
book that is full of Withnail related comments. I
thought we ought to add something but nothing witty
came to mind so perhaps it was as well that none of
us had a pen.
the way to the car we passed "The Mardale Inn @
St Patrick's Well" which is a rather strange establishment,
claiming to be "ALWAYS OPEN
. . . within reason!"
seems to have run out. Clearly we couldn’t stop
there to celebrate our successful circuit of the comeback
track. Nor could we stop at The Crown and Mitre
as it was closed until Thursday. Instead we drove
on to Shap and tried its Crown which was open. Let’s
just say that it is not the most attractive pub that
we have ever visited.
now to the question you have all wanted to ask. How
did Martin cope with the distance and terrain? Did
his hip stand up to it or was he having difficulties?
Well, yes. He had had great difficulties.
He had had a severe reaction to his flu jab yesterday
and had phoned me first thing this morning to apologise
that he would not be able to join us.
am pleased to report that he phoned again this evening.
He is feeling much better and was very grateful
that we have reconnoitred for him a trail that is under
10 miles, less than 2,000 feet and a route that he has
not done previously. He is looking forward to
following in our footsteps. We would like to go
with him but it is no longer a route that we have not
done previously so it doesn’t qualify.
mind, Martin. We’ll make an exception for you.
Come back soon.
Wednesday 24th October 2018
Those with an eye for detail will realise that
I haven’t yet revealed the odd feature of the Four Stones.
The answer is that there are only two of them.
I have put that right in the Comitibus photo,
leaving a space for Martin to reappear.