The Corney Fell Hi-jack!

6 12 2012

Tue 27 Nov 2012
(half these photos are from Richard’s digital camera as I ran out of film partway)

On the Monday we had a quick nip up Black Combe when I decided I was bored with paths and chose a completely unorthodox route down into a secret valley…

Exiting Secret Valley

Black Combe to Silecroft
Black Combe – Whicham Ascent
Black Combe Ascent from Whicham

Frozen on Black Combe
Richard Frozen on the Summit

Secret Valley from Above
My Secret Valley Descent (Richard went back the normal way)
At Head of Secret Valley

The Secret Valley

Path Round to Normal Route
Going back round to join Richard

For the Tuesday I found a nice-looking walk from the west coast village of Bootle. Bootle Village has, coming from the south, two roads down to the beach. If you ignore the first of these and turn down the second, you’ll immediately see a free carpark. We parked up, booted up and, from the main road, headed back south towards the other beach road. Opposite this road there is a road branching off to the left towards Corney Fell.

In a short time, the tarmacked road ended and we went through a gate onto the start of a lovely grassy lane. This ascended briefly over a gentle hill and then descended into a lovely hollow with paths going off in all directions and pretty side valleys with becks.

Bootle Track - Approaching Hollow

Bootle Lane Side Valley

Bad Back Richard Continuing

The beck to the right had some great waterfalls under Black Combe and a track heading that way so I went with my camera to investigate (Richard stayed on the main path as his back was bothering him so he didn’t want any detours). The path wound round through a young plantation of trees to some lovely little camping spots by the main river and the waterfalls – a really beautiful and peaceful spot!

Waterfall under Black Combe West

I then headed back to the main track to join Richard and we ascended out of the hollow on the steadily rising vehicle track.

Bootle Track - Continuation from Hollow

We kept following the track for 2.5 miles, later passing between lots of antiquities – it said ‘cairns’ on the map but they were more like little hut stances – what a peaceful place to live…

Hut Circle Ruins, Bootle Fell

My friend (Fedupofuserids in comments below) sent me the following useful link about the cairns:
Bootle Fell Antiquities

Variable Weather on Bootle Track

Shortly after the antiquities, we passed through a gate and the path became more stony as it headed between two dry-stone walls towards the Corney Fell Road.

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On Walled Part of Bootle Lane

There was a beautiful rainbow in front of Kinmont Buckbarrow and a very dramatic black sky behind. We experienced some light showers but nothing really wetting and, generally, we had quite a sunny day.

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Bad Weather Behind Kinmont Buckbarrow

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Where the track joins the road

We soon reached the road and turned left down the hill back towards the coast road.

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After ambling pleasantly down the hill for 2.5 miles on the quiet road, we reached a left-turn just past a couple of farmhouses (one beautiful but derelict). This road goes to Corney village in another quarter of a mile where we reached a crossroads in a hollow. We took the left-hand branch back uphill but you could also go straight on and wind back to the left later up by the church. We were pleased with our choice as it had great views back to the Corney Fell hills of Whitfell and Kinmont Buckbarrow. There were also lovely views to the dark hills around Devoke Water…

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Just as we curved round to the next junction (another quarter of a mile), we forked left again to continue along the same contour. Round the next corner we got a shock… there was a huge flood stretching away out of sight around the corner. I set off wading into it but it soon reached my boot tops and there was still a long way to go round the corner. As always, I looked into the fields either side of the road to see if we could go through them and climb back out onto the road after the flood. The right-hand field was lower than the road and was equally wet – the left-hand one unfortunately had barbed wire and thorn-hedges so that was out of the question too.

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We dithered around in the road wondering what to do when I heard a vehicle approaching – ah, our salvation! A van came down the lane and I stood determinedly in the middle of the road blocking its way. A nice young man leaned out and asked what the problem was. I asked if he would kindly drive us through the flood round the corner and explained it was well above our boot tops. Luckily he was fine with that (I wasn’t for moving out of the way anyway) and he opened the back of the van. We clambered into the back and he shut us in – it was completely pitch-black in there as there was a bulkhead between us and the driver’s compartment.

I was perched on a wheel arch while Richard just sat on the floor – we both found the situation hilarious and were giggling like mad. I had Richard’s digi-camera at this point as I’d run out of film and had been using his – I thought it would be great to take a photo of us stowaways and aimed the camera roughly where I thought Richard would be (I definitely couldn’t see anything). The camera flashed and his image appeared on the screen – but only his head down in the corner. I moved slightly and managed to get a fuller shot of him.

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Hijacker!
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We could hear the van swooshing through the floodwater – it seemed to go on forever! Eventually, we could hear dry road again and the driver stopped and let us out. We thanked him profusely and continued down the lane.

Luckily we didn’t meet any more bad floods and we continued another two miles down to the main road just north of Bootle. Straight opposite the lane-end there is another stony vehicle track heading towards the coast which intersects the road out of the village in another half mile. This is marked as a road on my old 1935 cloth map but is now just a bridleway – we met a horse-rider coming the other way.

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Black Combe From Lane Across Flooded Fields

On reaching the road from the village, we turned left for another half-mile back to the carpark.

Although this route does contain quite a bit of walking on quiet lanes, I’d still recommend it as there was hardly any traffic (the van was the only thing we saw in the 2 miles between Corney Village and the main road) and the views are great.

Stats (approximate): 8.5 miles 1,200 feet of ascent, 4 hours.

There is a great pub, the Brown Cow, at Waberthwaite a couple of miles north on the main road – they do great food and around 6 real ales – the locals are pretty friendly in there too. We had a nice sunset on the way back from the pub too 🙂

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10 responses

10 12 2012
bob

New area for me as well.Looks an interesting day out.Nice rainbow collection.

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10 12 2012
mountaincoward

Thanks Bob – I’m a bit miffed that Richard’s digi-camera made a much better job of the rainbow than my film SLR – think it must be the blue-bias they seem to have on these point-and-shoot digitals.

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7 12 2012
Scotlands Mountains

Certainly an unusual way to get off a hill Carol 🙂
Had to look this one up on the map as I had never heard of it.!

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7 12 2012
mountaincoward

You would if you worked in West Cumbria – there’s a proper rush-hour over that fell road! Great fun on a single-track road with passing places – luckily, they’re mostly going the same way!

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7 12 2012
chrissiedixie

Looked like a lovely quiet area to explore that. We once did exactly the same as you, hi-jacked a lift in a passing Land Rover when we couldn’t get through or around a flood! I remember we were sat in the back with a couple of sheep dogs – luckily our dogs weren’t with us that day or it would have been world war lll 🙂

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7 12 2012
mountaincoward

We were just lucky that van came along as soon as it did – there was nothing else on that road for the next 40 minutes!

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6 12 2012
Paul Shorrock

Bloody hooligans, hijacking innocent motorists 😀

Carol, you have a gift for coming up with places I haven’t walked – I consider that I know The Lakes really well, especially having lived in Cumbria for 25 years and been in a lake District MR team for 17 years of that, but I’ve never been to Black Coombe! Bloody ‘wish list’ gets ever longer 🙂

Great post BTW!

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7 12 2012
mountaincoward

Well, if you do this walk and haven’t done Kinmont Buckbarrow & Whitfell, they’re both useful add-ons to this 🙂

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6 12 2012
fedupofuserids

Had planned a wander up Black Combe two days earlier on the 25th but it never came to fruition 😦 so great to see what I missed 🙂

The van episode sounds like the beginnings of a plot from an American teen horror/kidnap B movie – you may want to start writing the script 🙂

The Corney Fell road is quite a good shortcut providing you don’t get stuck behind anybody !

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6 12 2012
mountaincoward

We quite often drive over Corney Fell – I love that road. We did Whitfell and those fells via Corney Fell as well and it made a nice circuit. I’d had my eye on that path from Bootle for ages though…

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