Saunterings:  Walking in North-West England
Saunterings is a set of reflections based upon walks around the counties of Cumbria, Lancashire and
North Yorkshire in North-West England
(as defined in the Preamble).
Here is a list of all Saunterings so far.
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126.  Return to Roeburndale
On March 20th last year we drove, with some foreboding, to the adjacent valley of Roeburndale for a walk
(Sauntering 78). Three days later we were all
told to stay at home. Now, over a year later, we again drove to Roeburndale but this time with some
optimism. We are being encouraged to believe that the easing of restrictions will be irreversible.
We shall see. For now we certainly hope that our two walks in Roeburndale will serve as bookends to
the period of the pandemic.
We parked at the same place, at the head of the track to Backsbottom Farm, and again headed east,
down to the River Roeburn. This time we turned upriver, to follow the permissive path through Outhwaite
Wood. This is a familiar walk for us, shorter than the one tackled in
Sauntering 78. A person held captive and starved
for months should not immediately feast when released.
As soon as we entered the wood we saw a large deer – it is always good to be reassured that deer
are able to continue to live in this wood. The wood was peaceful, of course, with just the sound of the
river and a few birds. On the ground were carpets of wild garlic but it was too early for any blue on the
bluebells – or indeed much green on the trees.
Last March we were puzzled by some new wire fencing that had been installed in the wood. This
time we came upon three men who were dismantling the fence. They said that the fence was ‘for pheasants’
and that they were moving the fence to the other side of the river. A multitude of why?s arise but we
didn’t ask them. It wasn’t the time or place to debate the release of 50 million pheasants in the UK every
year to be shot. Anyway, it is a shame that non-native birds are protected within this ancient woodland.
We emerged from the wood to walk across fields and over the river to reach the road
near Barkin Bridge. We were
a little disappointed that the sun hadn’t managed to disperse the cloud, especially when, walking along
the road past Thornbush and Back Farm, we could see that there was sunlight on the slopes of the Dales
hills and the cloud had almost disappeared from their tops. But we heard curlew and skylark and, at once
and at last, the world seemed a cheerier place.
Date: April 1st 2021
Start: SD600657, by start of track to Backsbottom Farm  (Map: OL41)
Route: E past Backsbottom Farm – bridge over Roeburn – S on permissive path – Bowskill
Wood – SW over Roeburn – near Barkin Bridge – N on road – track to Backsbottom Farm
Distance: 5 miles;   Ascent: 70 metres
© John Self, Drakkar Press, 2018-
Top photo: The western Howgills from Dillicar;
Bottom photo: Blencathra from Great Mell Fell