I enjoy reading several blogs which have an affinity to my interests and location. I subscribe to a dozen or so and comment regularly, encouragement is always welcome. One such blog is beating the bounds where Mark writes about walking and nature with excellent wild life photography. He is often way behind with his reports and wrote recently of a cycle ride he almost completed, puncture problem, last August. It struck me as being an interesting ride on unfrequented lanes, and so today I parked up at Beetham Corn Mill for a similar journey.
The day was sunny with little wind, and the mist was just clearing from the valley bottoms as I set off. The garden centre was doing a roaring trade, judging by the number of parked cars. The lane was closed a little farther on, but I managed to squeeze past the tarmackers. Over the railway, motorway and canal, this is a major south north communication corridor, I turned onto a quiet lane through the dozen or so habitations that make up Farleton Village. As one proceeds up the motorway, the bulk of Farleton Fell is a landmark to the east.It rises steeply in bands of limestone with prominent scree slopes. There is climbing on the crags, but they were high on the skyline from my present viewpoint. I was going to loop around the northern nose of the fell.
A narrow gated road climbs and cuts across the northern slopes, one would be foolish to come this way in a family car. I did get off and push the steepest section, but then followed a lovely undulating ride through this elevated limestone land, passing the occasional remote farm. The Barbon and Casterton fells were in haze, and I could just make out Ingleborough in the distance. We are just on the edge of the Lake District here, but the high fells were hiding.
A high lane bisects the Farleton and Hutton Roof crags, one for another time. I continued into the hamlet of Hutton Roof. Stopping at the small St. John’s Church, built in 1880–81. The architects were the prolific Lancaster partnership of Paley and Austin whom I keep coming across throughout the NW. It replaced an earlier chapel from1757. The church was closed, but I had a look around the graveyard and came across a roughly hewn limestone memorial with the names of those from the Parish killed in World War One. The vicar of the church at that time was Rev Theodore Bayley Hardy. As chaplain to the British Army, Hardy was the most decorated non-combatant in the First World War, receiving the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order, and the Military Cross for the unselfish assistance he gave to the wounded. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Hardy is worth a read, without wishing to glorify war what a contrast of dedication and humanity compared to some of our present day leaders.
The village of Hutton Roof is one street of farmhouses and stone cottages. We used to park here before taking the steep track up through the bracken to reach the extensive bands of limestone craglets which were a joy to boulder on as the sun set in the west.
It was mainly all downhill now to Burton-in-Kendal, although I did take the little lane through sleepy Dalton en-route, which gave me views to the southwest side of Farleton Fell. Burton was a staging post on the road going north and has some fine C17 and C18th buildings. On the outskirts of town is one of those signposts dating from when this area was Westmorland.
Back across the motorway, canal and railway I cross the busy A6 onto leafy lanes heading to Beetham, but a navigational error brings me back out onto the A6 where fortunately a pavement sees me safely into the village.
By chance, I get into conversation with a local couple. She had been born in Hutton Roof and went to school alongside St. John’s church. They were bemoaning the fact that this whole area, once a backwater, is becoming a tourist hotspot. I felt the lanes I cycled today were a reminder of those ‘Backwater’ days. Highly recommended.