My walks are usually planned and rarely much altered and so it was today, but a new objective presented itself halfway through.
After a lot of faffing including emptying my Go-Lite backpacking rucksack from my recent trip and reinstating the relevant items in my day walking rucksack, I was off to a late start from Leck church at 11:20am.
Once off the tarmac and onto the path I had a feeling of euphoria, contrasting the surrounding hills, cropped turf track and dales ambience with my recent trudging along soulless country roads with high hedges, and only occasional glances of endless cultivated flat fields. For sheer enjoyment, apart from serious mountain walking, there is nothing to compare with the Yorkshire Dales, ok, I suppose some of this route was probably in Lancashire.
The track was well established and all delight leading to a steep climb on a well cut high bracken path. That lead out onto undulating moorland, and joy of joys, heather in bloom. There is something about heather in bloom and its surroundings that supercharges my soul - is it not a bit early for it to be blooming?
Arriving at Ease Gill I looked down into the steep, thickly wooded ravine with an underlay of chest high bracken and was deterred to investigate the various potholes and caves lurking below.
I had been switching between Ordnance survey 1:25 and 1:50 on Memory Map on my iPhone and now looking again at the 1:25 I noticed a pothole named Big Meanie which could be incorporated in my plan to cut back to the Leck Fell road and possibly climb Gargareth. There was no footpath indicated, but big Meanie was situated against a wall boundary which may have a path of sorts alongside, so I now had a new objective for the walk. I retraced steps back a few hundred yards to find the wall and sure enough there was a half decent path all the way back to the road. The location of big Meanie is not precisely indicated on the map. Just before I got close rain started. I found two significant sinkholes at the supposed point on the map, and took photos risking getting my camera wet and then trudged on. The rain increased with a vengeance - this was the really thick stuff where the metaphor of stair rods is appropriate, and they seemed to have some kind of extra force propelling them into the ground. My new Mountain Warehouse Pakka lightweight waterproof jacket did a good job (£18.99) - that rain persisted almost for the rest of the walk, and back at the car I was still more or less dry - so much for your £100 plus, posh branded gear. Sadly I see their shop in Kendal is closing - I hope that is not the start of their demise.
Several hundred yards further on I found another much more distinctive sinkhole with a large tree growing from its middle, and again risked camera destruction taking a photo. Internet searching I found that this was in fact Big Meanie which is not accurately positioned by OS. Big Meanie turns out to be quite a significant pothole undoubtedly needing a high degree of expertise for it exploration.
CLICK HERE and follow link to PDF titled Big Meanie.
Needless to say say plans to visit Gragareth were abandoned and I walked back in heavy rain down the road. At one point I met a young guy happily repairing a drystone wall in the pouring rain dressed in an ankle length waterproof and listening to Radio 1 on his parked quad bike, and we had a brief chat, about, guess what, the weather.
|Soon after leaving the tarmac|
|A brief spell through Springs Wood.|
I branched off to look at a quirky bridge over Leck Beck,
|Map shows track leading back to Fairthwaite Park House, but not|
a public right of way. That farm is on a list of farms used by an educational
organisation called Countryside Classroom - Google if interested
|You can see the cul de sac road, top left, leading to Bull Pot Farm: cottage used by Craven Potholing Club.|
Crag Hill, pointy on horizon
|End of the path at Ease Gill, my intended turning point.|
Ease Gill sweeps round to right and behind
|Leck Fell House. Must be one of the most remote farms in the country,|
the road ends there. Gragareth summit above
|Click to enlarge or follow link above|