Walk Date – 11th August 2018
Distance – 7.25 miles
Weather – warm, sunny spells, fair weather cloud, light breeze
We’ve walked over a few of the Lake District’s outlying fells over the years, but they’ve generally been incidental visits rather than specific walks so we decided to pay a visit to the gentle rolling countryside of South Lakeland and follow the very first walk in AW’s Outlying Fells guide across Cunswick Scar and Scout Scar. AW described this walk as ‘a walk above others: a pleasure every step of the way.’
Serpentine Woods, Kendal – Kettlewell Crag – Cunswick Fell – Cunswick Scar – Scout Scar – Serpentine Woods, Kendal
Only a couple of spaces were available in the car park and its quite a tight area so bit of to-ing and fro-ing was required to enable us to back into one of them. No sooner had we parked than another vehicle arrived and backed into the space beside us, a couple, plus dog, jumping out and setting off straight up this path. I took a look back as we left the parking area behind and walked up the gently rising tarmac path where the trees and pathside vegetation eventually gave way to …..
….. a lovely open view across the rooftops of Kendal to the Whinfell ridge, part of the Shap fells. Its a lovely morning but once again there is a degree of haze around so the distant views are less than pin sharp.
The tarmac eventually gives way to this grassy lane with its extensive views one of which, just a little further along, was this one …..
….. of some of the Lakeland fells, although rather hazy and shadowy. On the left skyline is Red Screes with the two smaller and more rounded humps of Sour Howes and Sallows just below it. Over on the right skyline, beginning just behind Sallows, are Yoke, Il Bell and Froswick, one section of the Kentmere Horseshoe, and to the right of them are Thornthwaite Crag and High Street.
On our right are the Shap fells, infrequently visited and where you can have some very enjoyable walks well away from the busier Lakeland fells.
From the grassy path we ignore a trodden grass path turning off to the left and continue straight ahead on a stony pathway through a wooded area which brings us out at …..
….. this former quarry below Kettlewell Crag. Apparently some of the quarried limestone was used in the construction of Kendal’s town prison, known as the House of Correction. It became the County Gaol after the closure of the one in Appleby in 1888 and closed as a civilian prison in 1898 with the site being sold in 1907 and subsequently redeveloped.
From the quarry we continue on the path and eventually emerge onto one of the greens of Kendal Golf Course where once again we have a view of the distant Kentmere fells, what a lovely setting for a golf course. The low humpy feature at the end of the green is Helsfell Nab
We follow a line of waymarked posts across the rougher grass, notice the sneaky little water hazard sited smack in the middle of one of the greens.
Nobody yelled ‘Fore’ so we crossed unscathed. The Kentmere Horseshoe is more or less in full view. Thornthwaite Crag and High Street are on the centre skyline, just below them is Mardale Ill Bell and Lingmell End, and to the right Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike are now visible.
From the golf course we drop down alongside this wall and squeeze through the very narrow stile below. Ahead of us is Cunswick Fell but we have another couple of stiles and a bridge to cross before we can set foot on it.
“I don’t know what they see in all this fell walking lark, do you Daisy?”
Over the last two stiles and we reach the footbridge across the A591 with traffic constantly whooshing beneath it. I am not at all comfortable when crossing this type of footbridge so before we start across …..
….. I took advantage of a slight break in the traffic to take a look along the A591 cutting through the limestone cliffs, knowing that once on the bridge I would not be able to stand and take a shot. So taking a deep breath I stepped onto the bridge, my hands firmly holding on to the top of the metal fence and with eyes firmly fixed on the far end of the bridge I walked swiftly across. This from someone who likes peering down gullies for heaven’s sake. Meanwhile J, who dislikes peering down into gullies or over the edge of anything high, saunters casually across and even stops in the middle to take a look up and down the road. No, I can’t fathom it out either.
Having crossed the bridge and a couple more stiles we reach the clear path rising steadily over the pasture towards the wall on the left. Another stile is crossed at the wall and then we continue on to …..
….. the cairn on Cunswick Scar.
A closer look at the view of the Kentmere group from the cairn.
Over towards the Shap fells now for a look at the Whinfell ridge once again.
Ahead of us, to the south, is the very easy and enjoyable walk above Scar Wood across Cunswick Scar.
The path undulates here and there as it crosses the Scar but for the most part the route is more or less level, definitely nothing which increases the heart rate significantly.
Towards the end of the Scar we cross another path, the Gamblesmire Lane, and head up the hill towards the phone mast just behind the tree on the skyline. A lady, wearing a pink top, is up ahead with her dog. Apart from a couple of runners, everyone else we’ve seen, and there were lots of folk about, has been attached to a dog so we began referring to it as Dog Walking Central. Keeping the phone mast to our left we carry on through a stretch of woodland and eventually arrive at the Scout Scar car park. The path winds around it and then …..
….. drops down to cross the Underbarrow Road.
On the opposite side of the road is the old metal kissing gate and the more modern wooden one beyond which we follow the steepish path up to an open grassy viewpoint.
From the viewpoint we can look back across to Scar Wood above which is the open route across Cunswick Scar.
A zoom in for a closer look at Cunswick Scar and the trees of Scar Wood cramming the ravine below the escarpment.
Cunswick Hall on the right just below us and those Kentmere fells again on the deeply shadowed skyline.
We continue along Scout Scar with Barrowfield Woods and the Lyth Valley below us. Its a steep drop and its unfenced yet I can walk along here quite happily, J keeps to the middle although he did a have a quick peep down.
A panorama of fells is on view as we walk along the Scar but they’re so hazy and clouded that they have more or less merged into one long blue-grey silhouette. The pointed top of Caw can be identified over on the left so to its right are the Coniston fells, somewhere to the right of those is the Scafell group, the Langdale Pikes, and the eastern and far eastern fells. Separating one from another, or trying for any close ups, wasn’t worth the effort today.
Eventually the shelter on Scout Scar comes into view and so we leave the edge and make our way over to it.
Known as The Mushroom, its a fine shelter, its smack on 11.00 am so we stop for elevenses and enjoy the views.
One side of the shelter carries this information plaque and on the inside of the roof is a topographical identification of the surrounding fells. I did try for some shots of that but they didn’t turn out well. It was difficult to get close enough to them, using the zoom chopped off a lot of the information, and it was quite dark just below the roof anyway.
A few views from The Mushroom, here looking north west towards the Lakeland fells …..
….. looking east towards Benson Knott and the Howgills beyond …..
….. and the view towards the north Pennines directly ahead of us as we munched on our elevenses.
A look back at The Mushroom as we carry on with the walk, the cloud continuing to build.
The way ahead across Scout Scar and we are still meeting dog walkers aplenty. If any of the dogs need a drink they will have to wait a while, we haven’t seen a beck anywhere so far and the ground is hard and dry despite the recent rains. The rain water must seep down into the limestone and emerge somewhere else, it certainly doesn’t drain off the scar and create pleasant little becks along the way.
A look back along the limestone littered Scar to where the metal roof of The Mushroom is peeping up above the trees …..
….. and a look to our right for a view of Arnside Knott and the Kent estuary as we make for …..
….. the gap in the wall ahead of us.
We go and have a look at the stone seat before we pass through the wall.
A simple stone structure which will probably still be standing when the small metal memorial plaque set into it finally weathers away. I liked this seat, no fuss, no frippery, just quietly doing what it says on the tin.
We turned sharp left once through the gap in the wall and made our way up to the trig column on Scout Scar, at 229 metres on our route map. The limestone is everywhere so the grass barely gets a foothold, or is that roothold, up here.
Mum and calf taking it easy under the trees. As they stood quietly in the summer warmth they seemed to epitomise everything about this walk, gentle, easygoing, no rush, no toil, no sweat.
About a mile further south from the shelter we arrived at this path junction from the left of the shot, turned left and began making our way back down to Kendal.
A good path meandering across the open slopes of Bradleyfield takes us gently down through the heather, juniper and bilberry bushes …..
….. with the Howgills on the skyline above Kendal once again.
Kissing gate number one, followed by …..
….. kissing gate number two where I stopped to partake of some very sweet blackberries, it looks like there will be plenty to pick before much longer. A trio of runners, of middling years, came by so I offered one of them a blackberry. I think the sweetness of it surprised him because he uttered a very approving Mmmm, before suggesting that perhaps I could bring a tub of ice-cream to go with them next time.
Just around the corner from the last gate is this third one which leads us across this open grassland which, at one time, used to be a racecourse. This link has more information about the racecourse –
Plonked a little to the left of the path was this rusting metal structure but we didn’t come up with any sensible ideas as to what it once was.
The path ends at this squeeze stile in the wall alongside the Brigsteer Road.
We cross over the stile and the quiet road and begin the walk back to Kendal. The gateposts marking the entrance to the former racecourse just ahead of us.
Straight ahead for Kendal then, hopefully Rintein and Killarney are as lovely as the countryside around Kendal. Yoke and Ill Bell are just peeping up above the fields on the right of the shot.
We cross the A591 once again, no problems for me crossing this wide road bridge. Its just as high as the footbridge was so perhaps my difficulty with those is down to their narrowness coupled with the height. I can’t think of any other reason.
Back in Kendal we leave the last section of road walking and return to the car park via one of the trails through Serpentine Woods, perspiration in abundance through here as it was very muggy in the shade.
After just a short walk through the woods the trail led us down to the squeeze stile and gate and back to the car park. We’d had a very enjoyable walk and it was still only 12.30 pm. AW suggested taking sandwiches and making a day of it but even though we walked at a very leisurely pace we just couldn’t stretch things out any further and make a full day of it as he suggested. It would make a a grand little walk for a morning or afternoon excursion, or even a fine summer evening. There are no difficulties anywhere and just about anyone, whether they be toddlers or totterers, could manage it easily. It really was ‘a pleasure, every step of the way’.