I knew Beacon Fell car parks would be full on a Saturday. I knew Brock Bottoms car parks would also be full. The Covid-19 crisis is bringing everybody out into the countryside, no doubt the coast as well. Shouldn’t we be encouraged by all these people exercising in the countryside? Well no – the amount of litter I saw today and the inconsiderate and illegal parking problems were distressing and that was on a walk when I tried to avoid the hot spots. I’m becoming more and more disillusioned with the British public the longer this lockdown carries on. Selfish and ignorant people are certainly spoiling it for the rest of us. Rant over – almost.
Having said all that I’ve just enjoyed a lovely evening’s walk without meeting hardly a soul, although I came close.
For a change of scenery, I wanted to visit Beacon Fell. I often walk there and back from home on field paths in a round of 12 miles but today I only had a few hours to spare late in the day. Consulting the map I reckoned I could walk along the Brock River and climb up to the fell without encountering the crowds.
Having parked my car on a quiet lane about 5 miles drive from home I set off at 4pm. The lane dropped me down to the River Brock near the popular car park. There were cars parked all over on double yellow lines as an overflow from the official carpark. The noise from the throngs of people by the river was all-pervading. Picnics, barbecues and drinking was the name of the game, all crammed together on the riverside. I’ve never understood the idea of bringing all your urban trappings into the countryside, but maybe they don’t have gardens or parks at home.
My plan was to walk upstream on little paths by the river and in fields, I never met another person – what a contrast. The Brock was fairly low after the dry weather we have had. I saw a couple of Dippers but otherwise all the birds were anonymous, singing hidden in the trees. The path is good with duckboards over the boggy areas. A solitary cottage is passed well isolated from the virus. Onwards through woods just above the river. An old ford in the Brock is reached at the bottom of Snape Rake Lane, there is a footbridge alongside. I can remember driving down here once many years ago, fording the river awkwardly in my landrover to drive up the other side only to find the gate at the top locked. A quick turn around and retreat had me coming back through the difficult ford rather red-faced. My reckless years. Today I was content to sit and look at the peaceful scene.
Climbing away from the river up the steep lane brought me into the woods high above the river.
I then followed quiet lanes up the northern side of Beacon Fell with improving views of the Bleasdale Hills. In the hedgerows tall Foxgloves, white Bramble flowers and wild Dog Roses were in profusion.
I knew a forest break that cut back right up the slopes of Beacon Fell. After the natural woods alongside the Brock, this appeared sterile and eerily silent.
At the top was the friendly old crocodile carving studded with coins.
I was soon at the trig point without meeting anybody.
Although on the way down towards the car park and cafe people were wandering about. it was here that I started coming across blatant littering less than 100m from bins. Obviously, the culprits expect someone else to come along later and clear it all up. The cafe and toilets remain closed because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
My way off the fell was through the Memorial Forest where you can purchase a plot and a tree as your fitting memory. Another memorial was a field of native trees donated by a former Countryside Ranger, a simple inscribed stone commemorated the gift.
Buzzards were flying above on the evening thermals.
A previously coppiced beech wood was traversed out onto the lane where my car was parked.
Well satisfied with that circuit,
Thanks for the most gorgeous photos of places I love, and the wild orchid is just beautiful. The mill at Brock Bottoms must be one of the earlier ones. To us, the idea of putting a mill there seems strange. Do you know anything about it please?
I wrote about the history of one of the Brock Mills in the middle of this post from last year – https://bowlandclimber.com/2019/08/10/keep-it-simple/
Brock Mill was once a thriving water-driven cotton spinning mill with up to twenty cottages in the valley for the workers. The mill was probably built in the 1790s. After a chequered history and two reincarnations as a roller making factory, and then a file making factory the mill finally closed in the 1930s. For some time the ground floor of the mill operated as a café, whilst the top floor was used for dancing on Saturday nights!
Rural life has changed
Splendid walk and really good photos. The litter problem is sickening. As for the crowding I suppose anybody has as much right as anybody else to visit these places and it would be difficult to object because we would be including ourselves but obstructive parking along with the littering should be punishable by flogging. Would that it was easier to police. By contrast I walked just short of seven miles today and excluding the odd car passing me on the one or two short bits of road I saw ABSOLUTELY NOBODY, NOT EVEN IN THE DISTANCE, but there was still litter here and there.
Will be interested to read where you have been.
Work in progress. Am I taking a leaf from the blond baboon’s book? “Conrad R is expected to make an announcement about not having to social distance on a walk within the next 24 hours, or perhaps the next few days, or next week?”
Will I have to adjust my stride length?
Where is the medical evidence?
You’ll be lucky. Science evidence is only available only from the quango organisation set up by me.
NB – This is hearsay only but could be checked: BJ is now taking science advice only from the Joint Biosecurity Centre, an organisation set up by BJ’s government, and they are ignoring Sage – Sage have complained and denounced much of the Lockdown relaxation.
They’re no longer “following the science” (actually a nonsensical statement as there’s no such thing as “THE Science”) but, rather, “following the money”.
Is the acivity centre on the map the site of the old Waddeker Scount campsite? Was camping there way back when I was 16 and had to be rushed home with appendecitis the evening after I’d walked up Parlick
Yes, the Waddecar Scout centre is still there and thriving. Obviously not at the moment.
A bit harsh of you to blame Parlick for your appendicitis.
I was feeling the symptoms when I set off. Thought it was just an upset tum. It got worse during the afternoon and I had to get my friends Dad to come and get me (my parents had gone out for the day). Ended up having an emergency operation 😬. 2nd time the NHs saved my life, and they did it again 12 years ago.
Cheers for the NHS.
On an anatomical note, I almost christened this post “up the backside of Beacon Fell”
Looks like a good walk and I like the crocodile but don’t get me started on people leaving litter, especially in country areas, it makes me so angry 🙁
The whole of Beacon Fell was littered unfortunately. Normally I pick up and take home but in the virus pandemic I’m reluctant.
I was angry too.
The littering is awful isn’t it. At least it didn’t spoil most of your walk. So nice to see the orchid and foxgloves.
Yes if you keep away from the hotspots and carparks there is plenty of nature to enjoy.
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