Returning to the North – Arnside Knott

The last couple of months have been incredibly busy, lots of new things have been happening in my life and I’ve spent a lot of my time travelling – but only so I can write lots of wonderful posts for you! Paris, Anglesey… but first I’m going to take you back to North West England and Arnside.

I returned to Lancaster to see my friends from university and get a taste of that lifestyle once again… as well as go on a little hike up Arnside Knott. Despite living in Lancaster for three years, I had never been to Arnside, which is only a short train journey away. Close to the beautiful Silverdale, Arnside is a quaint little place with a lovely view out over Morecambe Bay.

Moody skies looking back to Morecambe bay and Arnside Railway

Upon arriving at the station (after a frantic dash in Lancaster – it wouldn’t be us if we weren’t late), we set off immediately up a footpath that climbed from the flat shoreline. We had to chase after my friend, Dave, who claimed he knew exactly where he was going. Before getting us completely lost.

Thanks to Google Maps, we managed to work out the route, backtracking on ourselves hugely before realising we could have simply crossed over the field. It was definitely one of those days.

But eventually, we were on the right path and climbing the steady slope of the hill. Despite not being the highest elevation at only 159m (522ft), you still get incredible views across to South Lakeland, the Kent Viaduct and Morecambe Bay.

View of the Kent Viaduct from Arnside Knott

View from Arnside Knott

View from Arnside Knott

It was a beautiful walk and one in which you could easily spend hours exploring all of the detours and meandering paths across the hilltop. There are various viewing points along the way highlighting what you can see in the distance, including the Old Man of Coniston, Crinkle Crags, the Helvellyn range and Skiddaw. The cloud was low, however, so we could not quite see the more distant fells- which still didn’t make the view any less beautiful.

View from Arnside Knott View from Arnside Knott View from Arnside Knott

Along the way, we found many piles of logs from which we fashioned a group of walking sticks and a den that I promptly got stuck inside… it’s the perfect place to bring children to run around and play in nature. The area at the top of Arnside Knott is pretty wide, with much to see and explore. We could have wandered for hours, if it wasn’t for our need of coffee and to return to Lancaster for the Warriors celebrations (a sporting event between Lancaster University’s colleges).

View from Arnside Knott

We descended via a different path which took us along the opposite side of the fell and trekked through bracken before reaching the road into Arnside. It was time for a quick stop for some well-deserved coffee and cake at the lovely Ramblers Café and Take-away.  The café itself is pretty small, so good luck getting a table! But it is well worth it if you’re able. They have a huge selection of coffees and delicious food, which I definitely need to try more of!

View across Morecambe Bay from Arnside

Despite the weather not being the best, we went to drink our coffees (and teas) on the end of the pier before heading to the train station and home.

Catch other adventures in my Lake District Chronicles here.

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Lake District Chronicles: 8

Fearing a torrential downpour, we decided not to do the full route pictured on the map and find our own way back to Keswick – which in hindsight was not very wise.

Skimming Stones in the rain: Keswick to Walla Crag

It was about this time last year, I had finished my final exam of third year at university – and it was all over! So, we decided to celebrate with a trip to the Lake District. I had picked up a map on directions from Keswick to Walla Crag the previous summer, and was yet to try it. Therefore, we set off on a fairly cold May day to Keswick.

Walla Crag Route Map
Walla Crag Route Map

After stopping to buy some lunch at the local Booths, we wandered through the centre of town to reach Keswick’s Town Hall and Tourist Information Centre – the start of our walk. Following the same route to the Castlerigg Stone Circle, we were soon in open countryside with Derwent Water far below us. Climbing through trees and fields, we spent a lot of time stopping to take photographs despite the overcast sky.

Woodland on our path to Walla CragHowever, we soon came to a dilemma. I had been so busy enjoying the walk, I had unwittingly led us the route of Castlerigg Stone Circle and we needed to fall back on ourselves to reach the correct path. Not exactly as planned, but the slight detour was worth it for the fantastic views across Derwent Water and towards Blencathra and Skiddaw.

Looking towards Blencathra
Looking towards Blencathra

Upon reaching the ascent of Walla Crag, we realised that we had misjudged the gradient and, for an easy walk, it was pretty steep! We followed the path around to Surprise View, which gives an amazing panoramic view across the whole of Keswick and Derwent Water. But now the rain was creeping in as the clouds darkened and spots of rain formed on my glasses.

View from Surprise View
Surprise View

Fearing a torrential downpour, we decided not to do the full route pictured on the map and find our own way back to Keswick – which in hindsight was not very wise.

We followed a less traversed path along the side of one of many stone walls that section the Lake District’s landscape, before reaching an even steeper descent. With the sound of a waterfall nearby, we attempted to navigate the ill-formed path, jarring knees on too high steps and slipping on loose gravel as the rain began to fall more heavily. Reaching the cover of some trees, we sought a quick break to recharge the batteries and nurse an injured ankle. Mosquitos had found us, however, and came in droves, driving us to keep moving as we continued our descent.

Descent from Walla Crag
Descent from Walla Crag

Making our way through the Great Wood, we found ourselves at the edge of Derwent Water. The rain was coming down thick and fast by this point – perfect weather for skimming stones of course! It became the mission to find the best stone to skim as we dodged along the banks using the trees as cover.

Looking out across Derwent Water
Looking out across Derwent Water

Eventually, we gave in to the inevitable and enjoyed the rain, seeing how far we could throw our rocks and collecting the best as we went. All too soon we were making our way back into Keswick, where we found a café for a hot drink to warm us up as the rain still fell.

Returning to Keswick
Returning to Keswick

It was the weekend of Keswick Midsummer Festival, so we sat for a while in the shelter listening to the acts and watching those stood in the rain getting drenched – but really, what did they expect in Cumbria? Some of the acts where pretty good and we would have liked to stay longer, but were restricted by the bus timetable.

We returned to Lancaster looking like drowned rats but perfectly happy with our little adventure.

Nature Poetry: Skimming Stones

I’m posting this poem as I think it quite fits with my next (and last) Lake District Chronicles post, which will be live next Sunday. Another of my poems written whilst at university, this was inspired by how the simple act of skimming a stone can drastically change the appearance of the water. Let me know your interpretations!

Skimming stones

A pool lays secluded

beneath the weeping willow

whose tendrils tickle the surface.

The silent kingfisher perches,

cleaning his feathers, as minnows

begin their calm procession.

Where the water is shallow

you can see the glint of gold

in their scales. A lost time

when the world was serene.

 

Then you started skimming stones.

 

The smack as the perfect flat stone skips across the surface,

small explosions as it crosses the standing water.

Ripples spreading out, battling to reach their widest scope,

rolling over one another until the large rings merge –

fade to the tranquil mirror

 

but the stone still rests at the bottom.