Secret Book

Hidden Book Phenomenon

Thousands of books have been hidden across the Cumbrian countryside for children to discover. Clues are given on social media in relation to their locations.

The hidden books scheme was started by a woman from Parton, in West Cumbria, who wanted to give her grandchildren something to do during the summer months.

  • I think this is a fantastic idea. It combines a sense of adventure with the excitement of discovery and will encourage children to read!

Hundreds of people have been participating in the scheme since it began a few weeks ago. Cumbria Police have even been getting in on the act. Several copycat Facebook groups have sprung up, replicating this amazing hidden book phenomenon.

The book I found, hidden beneath a twisted tree at Longlands Lake was left there by Harley and Poppy – a note said, “You are the lucky finder of this book. Keep it as long as you please. When you have finished with it, rehide for someone else to find and enjoy”.

I left the book in situ for eager children to discover.

Well done to all those involved. It’s great to see so many people participating in this rewarding, and innovative scheme. Sometimes the simplest of ideas are the best!

A Hidden Book For Children To Discover
A Hidden Book For Children To Discover
Bridge End, Egremont

Bridge End, Egremont

The River Ehen flows through the historic market town of Egremont in West Cumbria. The river supports the largest freshwater pearl mussel population in England. The river is also a breeding ground for Atlantic salmon.

At Bridge End, in Egremont, the river flows past terraced houses overlooking a sometimes raging torrent, and then onwards to the sea. The River Ehen is overlooked by Egremont Castle – a historic castle dating from around the first millennium AD.

In 1565, a stone bridge was built over the River Ehen to access the town. In bygone days, dyeing and weaving were traditional industries based around the River Ehen.

I have come a long way to-day:
On a strange bridge alone,
Remembering friends, old friends,
I rest, without smile or moan,
As they remember me without smile or moan.

All are behind, the kind
And the unkind too, no more
Tonight than a dream. The stream
Runs softly yet drowns the Past,
The dark-lit stream has drowned the Future and the Past.

No traveller has rest more blest
Than this moment brief between
Two lives, when the Night’s first lights
And shades hide what has never been,
Things goodlier, lovelier, dearer, than will be or have been.

Edward Thomas
Bridge End, Egremont
Bridge End, Egremont
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
Longlands Wild Garlic

Week In Focus #27

This is picture #27 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 is from a recent walk to Longlands Lake. Large swathes of land around the lake are home to wild Garlic. The smell was amazing!

Allium ursinum, known as wild garlic, ramsons, buckrams, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek or bear’s garlic, is a bulbous perennial flowering plant in the lily family Amaryllidaceae. It is a wild relative of onion, native to Europe and Asia, where it grows in moist woodland. The leaves of wild garlic are edible.

Longlands Wild Garlic
Longlands Wild Garlic
Catkins Silhouette

Week In Focus #24

This is picture #24 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 taken along my local coast to coast cycle path, and is a silhouette of catkins.

A catkin or ament is a slim, cylindrical flower cluster, with inconspicuous or no petals, usually wind-pollinated but sometimes insect-pollinated. They contain many, usually unisexual flowers, arranged closely along a central stem which is often drooping.

Life seeks life and loves life. The opening of a catkin of a willow, in the flight of the butterfly, in the chirping of a tree-toad or the sweep of an eagle – my life loves to see how others live, exults in their joy, and so far is partner in their great concern.

Edward Everett Hale
Catkins Silhouette
Catkins Silhouette
Sampson's Rock, Dent Fell

Sampson’s Rock

Sampson’s Rock is a mythical stone, located on the top of Dent Fell, in West Cumbria. The rock is said to have been thrown across the sea, from Ireland by a giant called Sampson.

During the 1930’s, a chap called Denton mused in the Whitehaven News that a railway be built on Dent Fell to bring people closer to the rock:

A light railway to the top of Dent is to be constructed, so that Samson’s Rock may be brought nearer to the natives.  If Mohammed won’t go to the mountain…

Whitehaven News

Dent fell is traditionally the first encountered by those embarking on the Wainwright Coast to Coast walking route. The fell isn’t within the Lake District National Park, but a campaign has now begun for the park to be extended so that it can be included, and thus be protected.

  • At its highest point, Dent Fell stands at only 352 metres (1155 feet), but offers uninterrupted views of the Cumbrian coast from the Ravenglass estuary in the south to the Solway Firth and across to Scotland in the north. In the west the Isle of Man can be easily seen, and views to the east extend to the high peaks of Pillar and the Sca Fells.

Speaking at a recent Cleator Moor Town Council meeting, councillor Hugh Branney, who is a member of the Lake District National Park, said: “Dent is almost sacred to Cleator Moor. We all go up.”

Sampson's Rock, Dent Fell
Sampson’s Rock, Dent Fell