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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Dent (Outlying Fells)

Monday 7th March

Dent         NY 037 130
Flat Fell   NY 052 137

It is a long drive to Cleator Moor passing through Broughton-in-Furness home of The Old Bakery Café where I often called with my late climbing friend Tony on the way to Wallowbarrow Crag. The sumptuous cakes and excellent coffee were always a special treat. They had a soft spot for cyclists and there was a poster on the wall of Fausto Coppi who was arguably the greatest cyclist ever, but I reckon few of the non cycling visitors would have heard of him. More recently the business was taken over and refurbished transforming it into a more upmarket venue than its previous unpretentious existence, and with a corresponding increase in prices, but still providing superior sustenance.

As I drove through on this trip I dithered about stopping for morning coffee, but decided to save my visit for the return journey.

Cleator Moor is a drab town originally owing its existence to iron works, but with the decline it became an area of high unemployment. Now that legacy remains, but much of the population is employed by the nearby Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant.  However I was able to park a few hundred yards from the main road, and within five minutes walking I was in delightful, archetypal Lake District countryside which just got better as the walk progressed.

Descending from Flat Fell to Nannycatch I saw a sign for the Coast to Coast walk which I did in April 1990 - I had no memory of the location at all. The climb up to Dent from there was exceptionally steep and near the top I met a young lad on a 50cc mock trials bike coming down from the top. He had been made redundant the day before and said he was bored, but due to start a new job next week. I watched him descending perilously without the engine running, just using the brakes.

Dent provided good views of the Isle of Man and across to the Scottish side of the Solway.

Descending with extensive views of Cleator Moor I met an elderly lady ascending. She was local and of farming sctock, but had been a French teacher. We had a long chat with subjects ranging from farming, Shakespeare,  French language and hers and my expereinces of walking in France - altogether a more uplifting experience than cliché exchanges about the weather.

By the time I got back to Broughton-in-Furness for my much anticipated visit to the Old Bakery it was 2:45. I parked up and walked round the corner only to find they were closed on Mondays. Ah well, I remained philosophical, and was reminded of one of the all time great films, To Have and Have Not and Eddie, the drunken sailor with his repeated question, "Was you ever bit by a dead bee?"

From Flat Fell summit

At Nannycatch - Coast to Coast walk passing through, Flat Fell in background 

The out of work youth starting on the very steep descent

Dent summit ahead

Distant Lake District fells from Dent summit

Cleator Moor

Nannycatch is the location where it says Standing Stones - it is is only so named on the 1:25000 map



5 comments:

AlanR said...

We will never forget Dent. At the end of C2C day one it's tough on the legs. We camped close to the stone circle but got chased off by overly nosey horses.
You could have called into the square cafe in Brighton, Jayne does nice cakes and coffee.
The baker who ran the old bakery shop had a severe heart attack and so had to give up the shop.

Sir Hugh said...

Alan R. Presumably you descended from Dent to Nannycatch - that was some steep ascent my way round. It reminded me of Bentley Beetham describing a rock climb in Borrowdale, "for the nerveless devotee of vertical grass climbing only."

gimmer said...

did you not do Dent as a Marilyn - or is the plan to do everything despite previous ascents ?
Oh Cleator Moor - one of the less inspiring villages in a not very inspiring post-industrial landscape - not fit for humans now, as was said of another Elysium down south - but brings back merry memories of careering about doing very basic shopping whilst training army cadets to climb, at Ennerdale Camp: autre jours, autre moeurs

Sir Hugh said...

Gimmer - oh dear! Yes I did the ascent last year. See my post for 15th February 2015 - More Driving than Walking. After writing up this post I looked up the Coast to Coast connection and realised FOR THE SECOND TIME IN TWELVE MONTHS I must have done this hill back in 1990 when I did that walk. This time of course I was including Flat Fell as per W's chapter and approached from the opposite direction, but I had no memory of being there before. This time I exited onto the road half a kilometre north-east of the lane at Black How from where I ascended last February, and I think if I had come out there I would have recognised it. In any case I still needed to do Flat Fell, but I have to say this is all a bit humiliating.

Roderick Robinson said...

I saw Fausto Coppi race at the Herne Hill track in south London. He was one of the greats but not the greatest; there is no disputing that that title must go to Eddie Merckx. He won the TdF five times, the Giro (Italy) five times and the Vuelta (Spain) once, the Milan - San Remo seven times, held the one-hour record, etc, etc. Some 525 victories all told. A Belgian, he was made a baron by the Belgian king. Blessed by the Pope. Still alive; sometimes appears on the TdF podium, shaking hand with the stage winner.