Crummock Water

A Gleam Of Sunshine

This is the place. Stand still, my steed,
Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy Past
The forms that once have been.

The Past and Present here unite
Beneath Time’s flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook,
But seen on either side.

Here runs the highway to the town;
There the green lane descends,
Through which I walked to church with thee,
O gentlest of my friends!

The shadow of the linden-trees
Lay moving on the grass;
Between them and the moving boughs,
A shadow, thou didst pass.

Thy dress was like the lilies,
And thy heart as pure as they:
One of God’s holy messengers
Did walk with me that day.

I saw the branches of the trees
Bend down thy touch to meet,
The clover-blossoms in the grass
Rise up to kiss thy feet,

‘Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,
Of earth and folly born!”
Solemnly sang the village choir
On that sweet Sabbath morn.

Through the closed blinds the golden sun
Poured in a dusty beam,
Like the celestial ladder seen
By Jacob in his dream.

And ever and anon, the wind,
Sweet-scented with the hay,
Turned o’er the hymn-book’s fluttering leaves
That on the window lay.

Long was the good man’s sermon,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For he spake of Ruth the beautiful,
And still I thought of thee.

Long was the prayer he uttered,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For in my heart I prayed with him,
And still I thought of thee.

But now, alas! the place seems changed;
Thou art no longer here:
Part of the sunshine of the scene
With thee did disappear.

Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,
Like pine-trees dark and high,
Subdue the light of noon, and breathe
A low and ceaseless sigh;

This memory brightens o’er the past,
As when the sun, concealed
Behind some cloud that near us hangs
Shines on a distant field.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Crummock Water
Newlands Valley

Newlands Valley #2

A few days ago, I shared with you a photo of Newlands Valley, from the east end, looking west. This time, I thought I’d share a photo of the same valley, but in the opposite direction.

Driving along the road is a real pleasure, but hazardous at the same time as one struggles to keep one’s eyes pointed straight ahead as there is so much to see, and take in. Luckily my wife was with me, reminding me to keep my eyes “on the road”.

The Newlands Valley is well known for its links with Beatrix Potter. The tale of Mrs Tiggywinkle uses the Newlands Valley as its backdrop. The star of the book was based upon the vicar’s daughter – Lucie Carr.

The Newlands Valley is an excellent choice as a base for a walking holiday and provides a huge variety of walking routes from your doorstep including low level valley walks, ridge walks and fell walks such as Causey Pike, Barrow, Robinson, Hindscarth, Catbells, Maiden Moor and Dale Head.

Newlands Valley is also home to the Goldscope Mine. It is on the lower slopes of Hindscarth near Low Snab Farm and was in use from the 1500’s until the end of the 1800’s. It yielded such large quantities of lead and copper that it was called ‘Gottesgab’ (God’s Gift) by the German miners who were brought over to develop it.

Newlands Valley
Newlands Valley
Crummock Water

Dramatic Crummock Water

Crummock Water is located between Loweswater and Buttermere. The lake is 2 ½ miles long, ¾ mile wide and 140 feet deep and is a clear, rocky bottomed lake flanked by steep fells.

The lake is fed by numerous streams including the beck from Scale Force, which with a drop of 170 feet is Lakeland’s tallest waterfall. The waterfall is set back in a gorge part way up Scale Fell, and there are several paths that lead up to the waterfall. The River Cocker starts from here, flowing towards Cockermouth where it joins the River Derwent.

Visiting Crummock Water gives you a chance to see the ‘secret valley’ of Rannerdale where a fabled battle took place. It is said that local settlers and Norsemen resisted invasion from the Normans: they lured them into the valley and slaughtered them all. Come April-May, the valley is covered in bluebells and local legend has it that this is because of the blood spilt.

Crummock Water is owned by the National Trust.

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Crummock Water
Crummock Water
Newlands Valley

Newlands Valley

The Newlands Valley is a picturesque and quiet valley in the Lake District National Park. The name “Newlands” describes the usable new land which had been created at the foot of the valley between Portinscale and Braithwaite by the draining of a large swampy and marshy area during the 13th century.

The earliest signs of human settlement in the valley have been found at Ullock, where evidence of a Bronze Age burial site has been found. The remains of a Celtic workshop were also found at Portinscale. Viking herdsmen arrived in Cumbria after 800 AD. Many of the present day place names in the Newlands valley have their origins from these early Norse settlers. The valley area was originally called Rogersat or Rogersyde which was derived from the Old Norse “Roger-Saetr”, which translates as Summer pasture belonging to Roger. The present day Newlands valley settlements of Keskadale, Skelgill, Birk Rigg, High Snab and Uzzicar all have their name origins from the early Viking settlers.

The scenery of the Newlands valley consists of farmland in the valley bottom and soaring fells above. Fells that have their foot in the valley include Barrow, Causey Pike, Catbells, Ard Crags, Knott Rigg, Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson. The quality of the fell walking is very good; the Newlands horseshoe is a 9-mile walk, starting and finishing at Little Town, with over 1,000 metres of ascent, taking in most of the 2,000-foot peaks at the head of the valley.

On the steep slopes of Ard Crags above Keskadale farm is Keskadale Oakwood, which is an ancient oak and alder woodland, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. It has an area of 50 hectares and has been fenced off for an initial period of 15 years to encourage natural regeneration and keep out grazing animals.

Newlands Valley
Newlands Valley
Cogra Moss

Week In Focus #30

This is picture #30 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo was captured while visiting the Cogra Moss reservoir, near Lamplugh in West Cumbria.

Cogra Moss is an artificial water retained by a substantial dam across Rakegill Beck, created as a reservoir about 1880, and discontinued as a public water supply in 1975. It has a pleasant setting surrounded on three sides by Forestry Commission planting.

Cogra Moss
Cogra Moss
Close To The Start Of My Ascent

Blake Fell

This morning, I had a lovely 7 mile walk up Blake Fell in West Cumbria, which commenced from the Lamplugh side of the fell. It was hard going at times, with legs burning and my heart pumping away like a knackered old steam engine, but I did eventually get to the summit. Phew!

Close To The Start Of My Ascent
Close To The Beginning Of My Ascent

During the ascent of the fell, I met a cheery fella called John Black who had earlier taken off from me like a whippet in a race. Wow – he could walk. John urged me to join Whitehaven Ramblers, of which he is a current vice president. I am actually considering, but not sure if I could commit due to working shifts. Perhaps it’s something for me to do in my retirement years – the countdown for retirement has begun, with 9 years left on the clock.

Lamplugh Fell

Blake Fell is the highest point of the Loweswater Fells, an area of low grassy hills with steep sides overlooking the lake of Loweswater on one side, with the Cogra Moss reservoir on the other. Blake Fell is designated as a Marilyn.

Resting Among The Cotton Grass

The Loweswater Fells have been compared to the digits of a hand, radiating out south westward from the “palm” centred on Loweswater village. From the west these are Burnbank Fell, Blake Fell, Gavel Fell, Hen Comb and Mellbreak, the “thumb”. Blake Fell is the highest in this group, the summit area being a long ridge running southwest along the “finger”.

Poppy Leading The Way

Descending south west from the summit are High Pen (1,558 ft), Low Pen (1,427 ft), Godworth (1,197 ft) and Kelton Fell (1,020 ft). Beyond lie the Croasdale road and the West Cumberland plain.

Lake District National Park Boundary Stone

Standing aloof from these tops, but still within Blake Fell’s orbit, is Knock Murton (1,467 ft). This is a steep sided fell, forested on the western flank and with sufficient prominence that it is only barely excluded from the list of Marilyns in its own right. Blake Fell also extends a western ridge over the prominent top of Sharp Knott (1,581 ft) and the wooded High Howes (1,027 ft), falling gently to the village of Lamplugh. There are fantastic views of Cogra Moss reservoir from most locations.

Cogra Moss Reservoir

Knock Murton and Kelton Fell bear the scars of mining activity, having been the site of extensive haematite workings. Between 1853 and their closure in 1914 these mines produced anything up to 60,000 tons of ore per year. A railway, the Rowrah and Kelton Fell Line, was built up the valley between the two hills, the line of which can still be traced. A further working, the Croasdale Iron Mine, operated to the south of Kelton Fell.

Nearly There!

The summit of Blake Fell is a grassy dome decorated with a large cairn, the meeting point of paths from the various ridges. Westwards there is no higher ground to interrupt the sea view. To the east is a fine array of hills stretching from Binsey in the north to Grike in the south. The North Western Fells across Crummock Water are particularly fine, although much better seen from Loweswater End.

A Discarded Fence Post Points The Way To Blake Fell

From Loweswater village a direct line can be taken up Carling Knott, or a more southerly approach made via High Nook Beck. From the west, Lamplugh or Felldyke provide good access, lying at either end of a network of footpaths. These connect to the track alongside Cogra Moss which can be used to gain the high ground via Low Pen. Knock Murton can also be ascended from the head of the reservoir.

Blake Fell
Blake Fell
Looking Over Loweswater
Looking Over Loweswater
Poppy Taking In The Views
View From The Summit
Looking Towards Swinside

Wath Brow Vista

is is the view from nearby Wath Brow in West Cumbria, just after the last snow of winter. For the photo, I was looking in the Swinside / Longmoor direction. Ennerdale Water is sat behind the first ridge.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

Jerusalem – William Blake
Looking Towards Swinside
Looking Towards Swinside
Ennerdale Heather

Moorland View

A few yards from the summit of Crag Fell, Ennerdale, in West Cumbria, wild Heather grows in abundance on the moorland, many miles away from human activity. It’s truly a sight to behold when vibrant purple flowers carpet the landscape.

  • The word heather is derived from the word hather which is middle english and means an open land covered with heather and or moss. This land can be hilly and rocky which is exactly where heather is happiest.

Heathland and moorland are the most extensive areas of semi-natural vegetation in the British Isles. The eastern British moorlands are similar to heaths but are differentiated by having a covering of peat. On western moors the peat layer may be several metres thick. Scottish “muirs” are generally heather moors, but also have extensive covering of grass, cotton-grass, mosses, bracken and under-shrubs such as crowberry, with the wetter moorland having sphagnum moss merging into bog-land.

Calluna vulgaris (known as common heather, ling, or simply heather) is a low-growing perennial shrub growing to 20 to 50 centimetres (7.9 to 19.7 in) tall, or rarely to 1 metre (39 in) and taller, and is found widely in Europe and Asia Minor on acidic soils in open sunny situations and in moderate shade. It is the dominant plant in most heathland and moorland in Europe, and in some bog vegetation and acidic pine and oak woodland. It is tolerant of grazing and regenerates following occasional burning, and is often managed in nature reserves and grouse moors by sheep or cattle grazing, and also by light burning.

Heather is an important food source for various sheep and deer which can graze the tips of the plants when snow covers low-growing vegetation. Willow grouse and red grouse feed on the young shoots and seeds of the plant. Formerly heather was used to dye wool yellow and to tan leather. With malt, heather is an ingredient in Gruit, a mixture of flavourings used in the brewing of heather-beer during the Middle Ages.

Ennerdale Heather
Ennerdale Heather
Ennerdale Water Sunrise

Ennerdale Water Sunrise

You might have gathered by now, that I love Ennerdale Water in West Cumbria. The lake and surrounding area is devoid of tourists and shops selling cheap memorabilia. Quite simply, it is how the Lake District should be. Tourism has so many negative impacts on the county: From damage to the environment to pollution; congestion and expensive homes for locals.

In 1724 Daniel Defoe described the area as “the wildest, most barren and frightful of any that I have passed over in England”.

I wish the Lake District had stayed as Defoe had described it. Sadly, tourism in the Lake District began in the late eighteenth century when a number of guide books had been published, along with the railway finally reaching these parts in the mid 1800’s.

Thankfully, Wild Ennerdale has been left relatively untouched by man and his destructive touch. Long may that continue.

Ennerdale Water Sunrise
Ennerdale Water Sunrise