Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Three miles too far?



Years ago, from the M6 motorway, I spotted the mysterious  entrance to a valley just south of Tebay. Once seen, it was a must explore objective.

Borrowdale is the small secret cousin to the well known dale south of Keswick. A track, mostly unsurfaced winds up the valley for nearly  five miles from the M6, passing a remote farm halfway and continuing north-westwards to meet the old A6.

The River Borrow continues over the road for another two and a half miles to its source in the wild and rarely visited Shap Fells. I have walked and run the main valley and its northern and southern ridges on several occasions, and the whole area is pure delight. I have never followed the river on the other side of the road, although I have roamed the Shap Fells nearer the source of The Borrow.  A circuit following the river and returning via Bannisdale to the south looks inviting, although there is no continuous path marked on the map, and it could be rough going in parts.

In 2009 a planning application was submitted for a holiday/timeshare cabin village to be built in this dale which would have destroyed its rare solitude forever, but after strong objection permission was fortunately refused. 

Yesterday, in pursuance of flat walking, in consideration of my recovering knee, I walked from the A6 through to the M6 end and back, a distance just short of ten miles. That was further than I have walked since the op, and my inclusive speed was 2.8mph so the knee was painful by the end, and I was overwhelmingly tired that evening, but it had been a more than worthwhile trip re-acquainting myself with an all time favourite venue.



Just after the start looking down Borrowdale towards the M6 end

Looking back to the start. The straight line of the A6 is seen cutting across the centre of the background.
There is much criticism of windmills these days, but what about these three pylons of yesteryear? Click to enlarge for a clearer view of their intrusion on the landscape.

Looking back again towards the start. The peak in the centre is just on the other side of the A6 - High House Bank, 495m.

Low Borrowdale Farm - the halfway point. As far as I could see it was unoccupied, but the barn has had a new roof

The track crosses the stream and becomes Tarmac about half a mile from the minor road near the M6 which leads up to Tebay.

Another one for my "Relics" folder. The colour of the rust was almost surreal.


12 comments:

Phreerunner said...

Well done Conrad, but don't rush it. It must be very frustrating. I recall 'rushing it' after ACL surgery. It set me back some time and resulted in further arthroscopy on both knees. I incorporated Borrowdale on a Dales Way walk and found it to be a lovely, quiet valley. A great spot.

welshpaddler said...

Yes, good to see you extending your distance, but take care!

We looked down on this Borrowdale in October from the other side of the M6 on a "leg stretch" en route to the Lakes.

Nadolig Llawen (merry Christmas)

welshpaddler said...

Yes, good to see you extending your distance, but take care!

We looked down on this Borrowdale in October from the other side of the M6 on a "leg stretch" en route to the Lakes.

Nadolig Llawen (merry Christmas)

gimmer said...

High Borrowdale Farm was bought by the Friends of the Lake District a few years ago - for conservation and protection purposes - walls, meadows, buildings - and to help stop the sort of threatened destruction you mention
all help, physical, intellectual and financial - gratefully received - working parties held regularly - I'm told that in Spring and Summer it is idyllic - so can understand your delight in this valley
http://www.fld.org.uk/high-borrowdale.html

afootinthehills said...

As the others have said, well done Conrad. How quickly does the pain subside? I ask, because I noticed that improvement in recovery time from pain after a walk signalled an overall improvement in my knee function. Admittedly my injury is trivial compared to yours.

Borrowdale looks delightful and a not too unlike my own local hills.




Sir Hugh said...

All - thanks for your comments and good wishes, and all the best for Christmas and New Year.

Gimmer - I wonder if The Friends bought it before or after the planning debacle- was it part of the strategy to prevent undesirables getting their hands on it?

Afoot - Hi Gibson. Your comment is encouraging - the one thing I have noticed over the last few weeks is acceleration of recovery time, and even after the Borrowdale walk it was back to "normal" again next day, and no overall stiffness the day after (today). I always find that stiffness is worse on the second day than the first, if it occurs at all.

gimmer said...

FLD bought High Borrowdale Farm in 2002 - the proposed chalet/cabin 'eco-village' (eco - of course, everything is labelled that these days) was in the late '00's and was refused permission in '09, when the developer put the farm on the market.
So beside obvious broader land-use and environmental issues, FLD had adjoining neighbour/landowner interests of concern, particularly the impact of such a development on their land conservation and restoration programmes for their property.
For more information on these programmes and how you can help this very worthwhile project, go to the FLD website - where links will also lead to full histories of 1000 years of the valley activities: I just spent a part of the afternoon reading up on this rather than working on tax matters!

Your blog fires the desire to tread those paths personally - glad to hear that all the signs about your knee are positive again.

Roderick Robinson said...

During my eight-month training as an air wireless fitter in the RAF a member of our class was called Tebay. And guess where he came from. Does the fact that he wasn't very hot on theoretical electronics add to or subtract from the stereotype that is beginning to form in your mind?

Sir Hugh said...

RR -Amusement within my family used to see us ascribing American Indian names to people. For example, daughter Jill, who is a teacher was High Horse - there were others.

Your Tebay conjures up the visage of one assigned the name Furrowed Brow.

Tebay’s only reason for existence is that it sits at the head of the Lune Gorge, thus channeling, originally the ancient road north, then the railway, and latterly the M6 motorway.

The only thing to see is a drab row of railway terrace houses set on the steep valley side with long multi storey walls facing the railway, and short ones facing the road, and at one end, one of those large pubs now desolate and forlorn, far too big for the present population, which catered for the thriving railway related population, and weary road travelers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when getting from even the north of England to Scotland was a multi day event.

Nowadays, everything just whizzes by Tebay.

afootinthehills said...

Exactly so Conrad. Second day is worse.

gimmer said...

strange how Tebay is exciting so much chatter - when we lived at Appleby, a farmer's boy at the school, who hailed from near Tebay, was described by my father as having by far the coarsest language he had ever heard - coming from a Durham mining town, he knew about such things: not quite gentle Borrowdale stock, I'm sure.
I think the village has gentrified marginally in the decades since !

Sir Hugh said...

Gimmer - You know more than me about Tebay. Like the "whizzers through" I referred to, I don't think I have ever stopped there.