Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Friday/Saturday 23 and 24 March 2024 - RAMSOC weekend in Kirkby Stephen

Kirkby Stephen's Youth Hostel has now been sold and has become an independent hostel, but the same arrangements for 'Rentahostel' have been preserved, offering a cheap weekend for the exclusive use of our group of 25 or so members and hangers on from Sue's old university walking group (RAMSOC - presumably being the 'Rambling Society'.

On Saturday we split into two groups, one of which saw me leading about nine of us on an easy walk up the Mallerstang valley beside the River Eden, as far as the remains of Pendragon Castle, one of many such ruins in this area. I was reminded of Peter Goddard's memorial walk up nearby Tailbridge Hill in September 2021.

We started from the hostel, pictured above.

We soon reached Frank's Bridge.

A walk along the valley brought us through Nateby and up to an elevenses stop near the remains of Lammerside Castle, where Jo turned round for an easier day.

The rest of us continued to Pendragon Castle for lunch in the shelter (from a cool wind) of its walls.

The castle has a rich history, described in more detail here. According to legend, it was built in the 12th century by Uther Pendragon, King Arthur's father, and it is said that an abortive effort was made to tame the River Eden into forming a moat for the castle.

Click on any image for a better version/slideshow

A short stretch of tarmac took us up to Pudding Howe Hill and a good footpath heading north. By now there was a shallow, long lasting, rainbow. Curlew and lapwings were present, and the air seemed thick with skylarks. A white bird in the distance turned out not to be a seagull (we saw those as well) but a barn owl flapping around looking for food. And wherever there were trees there seemed to be a colony of rooks.

A pleasant descent back into the valley, via a convenient spot for afternoon tea, led us to an intricate arrangement of riverside paths, a disused railway, and a viaduct.

After most people had taken a direct route back to the hostel, four of us returned to our outward path, and Frank's Bridge. On the way, we passed some clumps of Common Toothwort, a parasitic plant in the Broomrape family.

Here's our route - 19.5 km with 400 metres ascent, taking the best part of 6 hours including breaks.

Once we had the cooker up to temperature, there was a fine display of cookery. Robin's black pudding and poached egg starter, which most of us had chosen, was a triumph!

Sunday morning, and 13 of us drove the short distance to Cotegill, where a friendly farmer pointed out where our three cars could be left without being a nuisance. Soon we were striding up a path in the Howgill Fells that led to the summit of West Fell (541 metres).

It was a lovely sunny day, very clear, with a cool but light breeze higher up.

On West Fell

Our onward route to The Calf followed the ridge on the left of the next picture.

I bypassed Hazelgill Knot by taking the good Dales High Way path, but everyone else went up to this minor summit. There's a pond beside the path shortly before it climbs past some remnants of snow up to the 676 metre summit of The Calf, where we enjoyed our lunch in the presence of a few other hikers.

The route ahead  stretched over Bush Howe and north to Simon's Seat.

Some of us took a contouring path that's just discernable on the right in the next picture. It looks deceptively easy, but there were a couple of steep gullies, and you wouldn't want to fall off the path!

Descending from The Calf

On the steep sided contouring path

I contoured again and rejoined the others near the summit of Simon's Seat, from where we headed down to a final minor summit, Middleton (490 metres).

After that, most people followed the path to a packhorse bridge over Langdale Beck, after which a very steep ascent led them over Cowbound Brow. My preference, and Julie and Richard followed, was to cross higher up, across a ford, and follow a much more gentle slope to the brow - our final climb of the day. This worked. We all had gaiters. Splish, splash, splosh and we were across the beck with dry feet.

Before the final descent to Cotegill

Today's outing was about 19 km with 700 metres ascent, taking around 7 hours. A day to be savoured in the fine conditions.

I went home to welcome some fencers on Monday morning (our garden fences blew down in gales in late 2023 and need replacing; they lasted 11 years.), whilst Sue stayed for a short Monday morning walk before returning home.

1 comment:

AlanR said...

You had great weather for that walking weekend. Whenever we have been in the area it’s been tipping it down.