This was a walk with Southport Ramblers on Sunday February 28th.
We arrived at Staveley, a place I had never heard of until around two weeks ago, at around 11:00. Technically we (the A-walkers) were dropped off at the side of the A591 and had been informed via Linzi’s helpful walk description that we would be climbing pretty much straight away – up a muddy field. The Ramblers, a muddy field? Yeah I know, the two go together like salt and pepper, more or less inseparable. Fortunately, apparently the field had dried out a lot since Linzi’s reccy trip and we managed to get a good old pace going through an only moderately bumpy field in not much time at all. All was plain sailing and the views to the Coniston Fells and the Crinkle Crags opened up spectacularly. I wished that Karl and Sue were with us in order to put a name to each of the myriad of summits that we could see before us.
We’d successfully navigated one stile (perhaps more, I wasn’t keeping count!), normally these are contentious articles with Ramblers – when they’re not breaking up the walk by being superabundant within a short distance, they can be downright dangerous because of how rickety they can be. The one that caught-out poor Tim was not that rickety – it was of the wall-type, However, anyone above a size six in feet (38 in European nonsense) would have struggled – I felt like I was doing a lovely pirouette with my dainty little size eights getting stuck in the top of the wall – the act of manoeuvring without A: Falling off the wall and B: Yanking a hamstring or C: Collapsing the wall was precise affair! Somehow Tim managed to fall off the wall – ironically enough he had already been to the area a number of times this year and had managed to fall over three times on his last visit. I’d have given up with Staveley by now if I were him!
But by this time Linzi informed us that we had done pretty much all of the climbing, I took this with a pinch of salt – there’s always more climbing and the very second that one starts to believe there isn’t…is when you come face to face with an unexpected mound to be ascended. The unwritten rule of ‘Rambles’, any hill at the end of any walk is infinitely more insurmountable compared to the start of the walk. We then began to drop in altitude…quite rapidly it has to be said as we sped our way across the landscape. The weather was far nicer than what we had any right to experience – given the time of year, whilst the skies were not entirely blue, there was sunshine to be basked-in. It was now getting near lunch time, a point rammed home to me in particular as my stomach was growling like a brown bear (or at least what I imagine they sound like, having never had the pleasure of interacting with a brown bear!). We made our way up a delightful tarmac climb and I perched myself upon a rock and tucked into my McColls chicken sandwiches.
After lunch we eventually made our way along good tracks which led us onto the open moorland. We had been warned by Linzi that on her reccy this section featured a section where because of the torrential rain of late, the crossing of a stream had been rendered as impossible. Fortunately enough for us the weather had been kind and had dried out the moor a lot, and the river that was had now returned to being a stream, we all crossed safely…even Tim! We dropped downhill even more, I didn’t recall going up that much to come down from. At the end of a stretch which would have been a real old slog to ascend, we arrived at Kentmere Hall.
Over the next five and a half miles (roughly) we edged closer to the River Kent having first spied the gorgeous Kentmere Tarn (my photography really took a back seat today) just after Kentmere Hall. Our pace quickened – as if we could suddenly smell the pub! It was notable that Staveley seemed to be more or less draped in Snowdrops, Linzi commented that the local garden centre must have over-ordered and given out a packet of them to all of the village such was their omni-presence, it was delightful to see but at one point I would have gladly sacrificed a clump of the little white wonders for practically any other bulb! Finally at around four o’clock we made it back to the awaiting coach and for ‘boots off’ having traversed for eleven miles (or thereabouts) and over six hundred and sixty feet – not a major walk compared to some that I’ve done recently, but still more than a leisurely stroll.
Song of the walk: Zayn Malik – Pillowtalk.