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Category: Cumbria

Rock and Water – Day 5

Rock and Water – Day 5

After breakfast we are walking, not driving, out of the village. Weather is cloudy but dry. I do like scrambled egg with smoked salmon for breakfast – yum, yum!

We set off along one of the numerous footpaths around here heading north parallel with Scandal Beck (a beck in Yorkshire speak is a stream) intending to go as far as Smardale Viaduct and returning via the old disused railway track which has been converted into a footpath.

We hadn't gone very far when we saw this lovely group of Meadow Cranesbill (blue) and Meadowsweet (white) and a little further on there was a view of part of the village including the church tower.

We were walking uphill, not a particularly steep incline, and we could see some reddish brown cows on the brow. As we got higher and nearer we could see that there were also plenty of calves and we were going to have to disturb them because our route took us right through them. The cows and calves that were laying down stood up as we approached and moved to the side. We didn't want to come between a cow and its calf as the mothers can get a little uppity under those conditions and will sometimes charge.

Just as we were nearing the far side of the herd I noticed a very muscular beast staring at us and that was when I realised that it was a huge bull. It watched us for a while then lost interest. I couldn't help wondering which of us would be able to run the fastest.

Coming down the other side of the hill we had a good view of Smardale Bridge; a 17th century packhorse bridge.

Just beyond the bridge we reached a junction where various paths meet and turned east for a very short distance until we reached another path which continues along Scandal Beck towards Smardale Gill Viaduct (not to be confused with Smardale Viaduct).

We took that path and after a short time caught a view of Smardale Gill Viaduct.

As we made our way along the path above the beck we saw this butterfly; a fritilliary of some sort. As soon as I had taken a picture it flew away so I wouldn't like to say, with any certainty, precisely which species it was.

This is the path we've been walking on, in single file as it's not very wide, looking back the way we've come. You can see the old disused railway track over on the right.

The path has been climbing slowly for some time and we are nearly level with the top of the viaduct with the beck now a long way down.

We finally reach the old railway track and walk along the track towards Kirkby Stephen looking at the flora and fauna on the way. I managed to sneak up on this butterfly, a Common or Holly Blue, before I frightened it away.

We turned round and started back along the railway track, across the old viaduct and on towards Smardale Bridge. But before we left the railway track we saw a lot of orchids of which this is just one.

Then a final look back as we set off towards Ravenstonedale.

That was a nice day's walk. Tomorrow we go home.  :bawl: :bawl:

Rock and Water – Day 4

Rock and Water – Day 4

Amanda and I aren't talking to each other this morning! That's because we are each going to different places, me back to Great Asby Scar and Amanda to the small market town of Kirkby Stephen.

Amanda is catching a heritage (rather old) bus into Kirkby Stephen and she actually took a photograph of the inside whilst she was going along. This bus had a platform entrance at the rear and a conductor!

The stairs to the upper deck started from the rear platform.

The roads around here can be very steep and Amanda said the bus made a bit of a meal of them and, at one point, she was afraid that the driver would run out of gears but they arrived safely in Kirkby Stephen.

Meanwhile I had driven up to Great Asby Scar again but to the west side this time. I had heard that the limestone pavements on that side had a distinctly different appearance so I parked the car and set off over the moors. One and a half miles later I could see my destination in the distance.

It didn't take long to get there and find that it was much the same as the pavement on the eastern side.

Perhaps I wasn't in the right place but I didn't have any more time and it would take hours looking around an area like this so I made my way back to the car and thence to Kirkby Stephen. Nice scenery though.

I met up with Amanda in Kirkby Stephen and we had some lunch before venturing out into the little town. We first visited Frank's Bridge; a 17th century corpse lane bridge across which coffins were carried on their way to the church.

In the town we saw this old signpost with distances marked in miles and furlongs and for those of you that don't know there are 8 furlongs to a mile.

We then chanced to walk over a bridge, looked over the edge, and this is what we saw.

There was obviously a serious amount of water there making quite a lot of noise. It was now getting late in the day so we went back to our hotel to prepare for dinner. Tomorrow is our last whole day before we leave for home.

Rock and Water – Day 2

Rock and Water – Day 2

We started from Peterborough and went north on the A1 as far as Scotch Corner where we turned west onto the A66 as far as Brough. Here we turned south through Kirkby Stephen.The Google estimated time was wrong once again and after a straightforward journey of three hours and thirty minutes, instead of the forecast four hours, we arrived at Ravenstonedale in Cumbria but very near the border with the Yorkshire Dales.

We are staying in a nice little hotel called the Black Swan Inn in what they rather grandly call a suite, consisting of a bedroom, bathroom and sitting room, on the second (top) floor which gives us a nice view across the surrounding countryside. Note the low cloud even though the sun is shining.

After settling in and having some lunch we didn't have a lot of time left in the day but we wanted to see some of the local features. This area, and the Yorkshire Dales, is on Carboniferous Limestone which can create some very dramatic scenery.

Not far from our village is Great Asby Scar, a hill of just over 1200 feet, with a large area of limestone pavement on it. Amanda is standing on a section of this limestone pavement and, as you can see, she is well wrapped up. Well it is July in England so it must be cool and raining and, as it happens, it was cool and raining.

Carboniferous Limestone is very well jointed so that over time water percolating down the joints slowly dissolves the limestone and can form a distinctive feature called a Limestone Pavement. The grooves between the blocks are known locally as Clints and the blocks are known as Grykes. Walking on this stuff is fun as long as you don't put your leg down a clint by accident and break it (The leg I mean not the clint)!

The clints can become quite well developed and often have plants growing in them which would not otherwise survive without the shelter provided by the limestone. Amanda was hoping to find something interesting and found a number of ferns which are typical of limestone pavements.

We did return to the hotel without any broken legs and we are going to look for some more limestone features tomorrow.