Silverdale is a favourite place, and suitable for days that promise to be wet, like this one. We much prefer to halt in the Silverdale/Arnside area on days when the higher Lake District hills may be less than pleasant.
After an easy journey from our overnight accommodation in Adlington (thanks, Robert, Lyn and Louise, for seeing the New Year in with us), we demolished some coffee in the company of some cyclists and set off at 10.50 from Leighton Moss RSPB Visitor's Centre.
Rain didn't dampen our enthusiasm as we wandered through the reed beds pictured above. Visitors to the public hide were enjoying the sight of otters frolicking in the distance amidst the many varieties of duck.
We passed a muddy area near Grisedale Farm, where sediment is being removed from the pools and ditches of the reserve. The organically rich sediment will be dried then used as compost/fertiliser to be ploughed into the fields, and the pools and ditches will attract more wildlife than when they were clogged with sediment.
It really was quite wet. These sheep near Yealand Conyers looked pretty miserable.
It's limestone country. There are some 36 lime kilns, in various states of repair, in the Silverdale/Arnside area. Perhaps I should organise a ‘Kilns of Silverdale’ walk to complement the ‘Wells of Silverdale’ excursion. We now came across the Peter Lane Lime Kiln, before heading directly west on a good path to Crag Foot, and sloshing across soggy ground on the Lancashire Coastal footpath to Jenny Brown's Point, and another kiln.
It wasn’t the brightest of days, and given the continuing rain and our lack of provisions, the Wolfhouse Gallery proved an ideal spot for lunch.
From here, a pleasant woodland path leads to Wood Well, which used to be Silverdale's principal source of water, and on through leafy ginnels (even in winter) through the back streets of Silverdale village.
Beyond Silverdale, a couple of fields saw us at the Cove, enjoying views across the Kent Channel to Grange-over-Sands.
There's a small cave to explore, but we headed away from the beach, past some alpaca, across the caravan park to Far Arnside, and on up the gentle slopes of Arnside Knott.
The rain had stopped. The sun came out. We enjoyed our first summit of the year, albeit at only 159 metres above sea level..
Then we descended by a direct and vaguely steep path towards Arnside Tower, which is just beyond a farm where the tenant certainly knows how to look after his vehicles.
The farmyard is in a similar condition, so it’s a muddier walker that emerges to the delights of the crumbling remains of Arnside Tower, a five storey Pele tower built in the 15th century and used as a house until the 17th century.
The light was fading as we headed past Middlebarrow Quarry on the way to Hawes Water and then the RSPB Visitor's Centre, but at least we’d enjoyed a couple of hours’ respite from the rain and an excellent dose of fresh air to start the year.
Here’s our route: 21 km, 400 metres ascent, in about 5.5 hours.
There’s a fuller slideshow, with 34 images, here.