Western Howgills

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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

outhwaite wood river roeburn On March 20th last year we drove, with some foreboding, to the adjacent valley of Roeburndale for a walk (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 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



     129.   From the Delights of Downham to the Heights of Pendle
     128.   Spring around Scout Scar
     127.   To Calf Top Top
     ...
     125.   “Walking is not a sport”
     124.   The Most Prominent Hills of North-West England
     123.   Over to Overton and Around Little Fylde

               A list of all Saunterings so far

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    © John Self, Drakkar Press, 2018-

Blencathra

Top photo: The western Howgills from Dillicar; Bottom photo: Blencathra from Great Mell Fell