Bell Ringers’ Walk from Brathay to Hawkshead

Name of walk Bell Ringers' Walk from Brathay to Hawkshead
Date of walk 2016-05-14

On Saturday morning the Barrow St. James’ bell ringers rang the bells at Brathay Church, then we walked to Hawkshead via a Roman Fort, took the ferry to Wray Castle, and made brief ‘detours’ to The Outgate Inn and the Red Lion in Hawkshead, and then joined the 2.30-4.30pm ringing meeting of the Furness and South Lakes branch at Hawkshead Church. I picked up Sue at 7.45am. The ringing at Brathay, near Ambleside was scheduled for 8.45am. Rise and shine Ambleside! The weather was perfect, blue skies and sunshine!

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On the way to Brathay Sue and I stopped on the shore of Esthwaite Water. The bluebells were out in the woodland.

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Looking towards the boat house.

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Holy Trinity Church, Brathay is Grade 2 listed and was built in 1836. The hilltop site for the church was recommended by William Wordsworth who, when describing it in a letter in 1836, said "there is no situation out of the Alps, nor among them, more beautiful than that where this building is placed". It has the advantage of being in the middle of nowhere, just below Loughrigg Fell, so ringing the bells at 8.45am is not going to disturb many people.

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Our merry band of ringers. The photo was kindly taken by Brathay Tower Captain, Clive.

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We rang Call Changes, Plain Hunt and Grandsire.

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The bell ropes had become quite long with the dry weather. So long that even Sue had to put knots in her rope. Who would have thought that Sue would turn out to be a 'two knot ringer'?

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Clive joined us for a ring at the start. Our hour went incredibly quickly, soon we had to leave to start the walk.

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No spiral staircase here! Climbing ability and a head for heights required! Cameron descends the ladder.

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Alan's photo of us in the church car park ready to set off.

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We head off alongside the River Brathay.

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Cute otter bronze by the footbridge over the River Rothay. Bronwen Nixon was the elderly proprietor of the Rothay Manor Hotel who was murdered in 1986.

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Looking towards the stone bridge.

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The stone barn that you can see from the road when you drive past. It is in this field that the remains of the Roman Galava Fort are found.

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The remains of Ambleside Roman Fort date from the 2nd century. It was probably built under Hadrian's rule to guard the Roman road from Brougham to Ravenglass and to act as a supply base.

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I am standing on the stile that gets you in amongst the ruins.

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We head off through the park in the direction of Waterhead Jetties. Alan is surrendering already!

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Windermere.

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Our boat across to Wray Castle. Tickets are £4 for the 15 minute crossing.

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Time to indulge in some ice creams before we catch the boat. Sue with her 'go herdwick' Trail map. I am thwarted again in my efforts to buy one, as the ticket seller at Windermere Cruises looks at me blankly when I ask if they have any.

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Sue's photo of us on the boat.

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Very good visibility to the mountains today.

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Looking back to Waterhead.

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The Fairfield Horseshoe.

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The Low Wood Hotel. There is a Herdwick hiding there!

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The slopes of Red Screes.

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Andy's photo of Wray Castle jetty.

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Sue photographing swans.

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Spectacular views from the castle terrace.

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Close up of the Langdale Pikes.

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Andy's photo of the castle from the front. It is not a real castle but a private house built in the Gothic style in 1840, and is now owned by the National Trust.

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Andy's panorama of the view. Left click for a larger view, then re-click to return.

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Side view of the castle.

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Sue and Alan strolling up from the terrace.

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The grounds contain a number of specimen trees: Wellingtonia, Giant Redwood, Gingkoa, Weeping Lime and varieties of Beech. There is a Mulberry Tree planted by William Wordsworth in 1845. The photo is of a Giant Redwood. I have a Dawn Redwood, grown from seed in 2000, in my garden...it doesn't grow quite as big!

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A lovely display of bluebells.

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Andy's photo of me and Rosemary in the undergrowth.

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We head off down the long drive to the exit. Wonderful views across the fields.

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A Himalayan Poppy.

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Sue discovers that there is one for sale on the stand at the entrance. (AP)

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We head for the footpath on the other side of Blelham Tarn.

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There were lots of cows with calves on and alongside the footpath.

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Most seemed friendly enough, but I still detoured around them.

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At the footbridge we had a 'Billy Goats Gruff' moment when this cow was adamant she wasn't moving, doing a bit of foot stamping. There were some cyclists on the other side hanging back hoping she would move of her own accord. When she saw Andy approaching her, armed with a tree branch, she knew she had met her match and backed off, eventually crossing the river by the ford adjacent to the bridge. So we were able to "trip-trap over the rickety bridge" without being gobbled up!

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We continued onward beside Blelham Tarn. The footpaths on this route are excellent. All the sign posts have destinations and mileages.

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We walk through many areas shrouded with bluebells.

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The highest point on our walk looking back down on the tarn.

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Andy's photo.

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More bluebell woods.

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The great thing about this footpath is that it leads to the Outgate Inn where we meet up with Ken and June. We arrive at 12.30, exactly on time! (AP)

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We were going to eat here, but they were not taking orders until 1pm, and there was only one guy in the kitchen, so we thought it best to move on to Hawkshead and eat there. We arrange to meet Ken and June in the Red Lion. (SF)

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Sue's photo.

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So it was back on to the well signposted footpaths to Hawkshead.

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More lambs.

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More bluebell woods.

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Hawkshead in the distance.

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Loanthwaite Lane.

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An interesting slate porch.

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Did I mention there were lots of lambs?

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Well, at least it is not another lamb!

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The final approach to Hawkshead.

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The route takes you directly into the back of the Red Lion.

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A member of the public volunteered to take this photo of all of us.

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Andy and Cameron have starters, so we have little option but to watch them eat. Thankfully we don't have to wait too long for our mains. While eating we listen for the bells, they only start ringing just before we set off for the church.

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June, Alan and Rosemary.

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We approach St. Michaels and All Angels Church from the back.

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It is Grade 1 listed. Five of its eight bells were cast in 1765. The ringing room has an excellent view out to the church interior. It is 3pm, so we are not very late.

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The ringing room is small so every one takes turns ringing then comes back down to the church to watch and chat.

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Cameron, Rosemary and Sue.

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I take a walk around Hawkshead in the sunshine.

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The church is on the top of a hill so it has excellent views out.

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Hawkshead is quite a small village.

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This cat was here last time I came! After ringing we have coffee and cake. Then our merry band of walkers kindly get a lift back to our cars at Brathay, from Clarissa and Ken and June.

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On the way home Sue and I stop off at Hayes Garden Centre so I can finally buy a 'go herdwick' guide. Plus an opportunity to bag a few more. This is Rosie by Jayne Lancaster.

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Lady Ewegenie Baathsheebaa by Alex Jakob-Whitworth.

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Ms Todd by Frankie Cranfield.

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At the Low Wood Hotel is Burley, designed by Lionel Playford.

An excellent day with excellent company! The walk was very easy and was less than 5 miles. Our next ringers’ walk will be from Sedburgh to Dent for the branch meeting in June. Let’s hope the weather is as good. Thanks to Andy, Sue and Alan for the use of a few of their photos.

Jo.

 

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