SCoM Late Summer Walk - September 11th, 2011 - Eskdale
By Steve Wardle
The plan was a good one. Those of us walking on Saturday or arriving Saturday evening and staying over in Boot would start with a short walk to Dalegarth station followed by an interesting half hour ride on the narrow gauge (15") railway to Ravenglass. Anyone coming up for the day could choose to avoid negotiating the tortuous roads leading to Boot and meet us at Ravenglass at 11am, returning by train after the walk. The route would take us through Eskdale Green where a station (and pub) would give us the option to curtail the walk should the weather turn really nasty.
It wasn't a large group that set off from Ravenglass - five plus, as usual, Dolly the dog. We headed south initially to see the remains of the Roman Bath House (or Walls Castle as it is now known) which is one of the largest Roman structures in England, with walls 12ft high. From there we turned to follow our primary direction, north east over Muncaster Fell.
As we crossed the A595 the rain arrived and light, intermittent, showers stayed with us through most of the day. There was one heavy squall which arrived as we sat finishing lunch at the highest point on the Fell.
Coming down from the Fell through Eskdale Green we took a minor road and crossed the River Esk to follow it's bank before heading through Low Wood where the party divided. Two took the planned route to the road and then past Dalegarth Station to Boot. The rest of us did some unintentional exploring.
We walked up to the waterfall at Stanley Force and back before finding the footbridge across the Esk. No one was willing to try the stepping stones which were barely visible under the fast flowing water. On the way a young couple staying in Boot asked for directions and walked back with us. Grateful to have found their way back they insisted on buying us a drink in the bar of the Boot Inn. Very kind.
Dolly probably had mixed feelings about the weekend. The Boot Inn is dog friendly - as we sat in the bar after arriving the barmaid brought out complementary sausages for all the dogs. On the other hand some of the paths were rather muddy and one way to clean a muddy dog is to dip it in a river. At the end of the second walk she was a understandably reluctant to follow me down to the water...
For me it was it was a nice change to be doing a Ski Club walk with relatively little climbing but I'd also enjoyed the Saturday walk which was more typical.
So, a perfect plan - surprising that so few chose to take advantage of it. In fact the whole weekend was well planned with good walks and good company, thanks to Dave and Vanessa.