Monday 31st. August 2020 - Littledale, Lancs. 7. 5 miles
There is a large lay-by on the single track road near Baines Crag. This was a bank holiday so we met at 9:30. There was one other car and another rolled up before we set off. Surprisingly there were only twelve in total when we returned six hours later.
I have had several outings in Littledale before. The terrain is similar to our recent walk in the Hindburn valley with heavily wooded, steep sided valleys and cropped turf and old tracks above, giving extensive views. Looking down at the wooded valleys with their offshoots gives an air of mystery and secretiveness and there is a real feeling of exploration and possible tempting alternatives for other days.
We passed the abandoned church in Littledale, deconsecrated, stripped out and used as a barn for the nearby Littledale Hall estate.
From the Internet I gleaned that Littledale Hall was built in 1849 for Revd. John Dodson. He had been vicar of Cockerham but seceded from the Established Church because of the Gorham Judgement and retired with his family to Littledale.
Further research informed me that the Gorham Judgement arose from a bishop refusing to appoint a vicar in 1850 who argued that baptism was not "sacramentally effective" and that to "accept Jesus" required an adult decision. That apparently clashed with The Thirty Nine Articles of the Anglican High Church.
I've always thought that dunking babies, thereby having them traumatised and screaming, was not a kind thing to do, but then I would never have been a vicar having to make a decision on that matter of principle, but I reckon one should have the choice whether to "accept Jesus" or not rather than having it forced upon one at birth. The church hierarchy seem to thrive on creating these kinds of arguments and dissensions.
Littledale Hall is now a residential rehab centre for people with drug problems. There is a website giving details but strangely there is nothing about the principals who run this establishment - no names or company details at all. I presume this is a private enterprise that receives candidates mainly sent by and paid for by local authorities?
Beyond the hall Ordnance Survey said we were still on the public footpath but we were battling through waist high bracken until we discovered a substantial farm track a little higher up.
We walked as far as we could to get a view of the upper section of Littledale and were able to see where we had crossed higher up when we were walking the Lancashire Witches Walk in 2016. We then backtracked to pass through the buildings of Littledale Hall and eventually climbed up onto the edge of the Clougha Pike moorland. For me the track through the heather just coming into bloom was the highlight of this walk. I had not been on that part before and the views across to Black Coombe, Caw and the Old Man of Coniston and the rest of the Lakes hills was unusual and dramatic bcause we had enough height to be able to see these hills with the whole expanse of Morecambe Bay stretching out below them. Magic.
We had speculated about being able to match the appeal of our recent walk in the Hindburn valley and we reckoned that they both deserved equal merit.
|Baines Crag and my parked car. A bit of Morcambe Bay in the background|
|Zoom to submarine construction buildings at Barrow 23 miles away|
|"C " number plate - 1965|
|At least it's still got some tread left on the tyres|
|Wooded valleys. Clougha Pike moorland - heather just coming into bloom|
|We sat on the wall until this procession had passed by. They were in no hurry and neither were we|
|Littledale abandoned church|
BC battling through the bracken. He turns back questioningly.
We found a proper farm track about twenty yards up the hill, but OS said we were on the public footpath here
|We walked just beyond the far red line to get a view of upper Littledale then backtracked to pick up the return route - red line going right|
|Onto the moorland track|
|Looking back at our route. Littledale Hall the other side of the cleft top centre|
|Baines Crag - BC had of course climbed there but rough boulder terrain at the foot of the crags was off-putting |