Staveley Outlying Wainwrights and a Vampire Dog!

10 04 2016

16 – 18 Feb 2016
After Richard and I had left Kendal we had a few days walking around Staveley as I had a lot of Outlying Wainwrights to do in the area – I got more than I bargained for!

Gurnal Dubs & Boathouse
Gurnal Dubs

click on photos for full size/resolution – Richard’s photos as marked

Since reading my Wainwright books, I’d always wanted to visit Gurnal Dubs – I think for the name as much as anything. So, the first day I found Richard a nice little circuit on the lanes above Staveley, the first of which I was to use to access the Potter Fell area. We set off in pleasant sunshine…

After briefly following the back lane east out of Staveley towards Garnett Bridge, after about quarter of a mile we branched left onto the road heading uphill towards Craggy Wood. There are footpaths up through the woods but we like quiet lanes so we continued on up the road.

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R Wood

After passing some nice little tarns by the roadside, I turned off on down a track for Birk Farm while Richard continued the road loop back to Staveley.

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R Wood

After a short descent to the ex-farmhouse and then a pleasant easy rise I arrived at Potter Tarn which has an interesting old dam at the outlet.

Potter Tarn

I headed around the tarn, crossed below the dam and followed the lovely track up further golden-brackened hillside…

Potter Tarn from Above

I soon reached a stile into a walled enclosure where Gurnal Dubs hove into sight with it’s lovely little boathouse…

Gurnal Dubs

Gurnal Dubs from Weir

There is a path all the way around the tarn but I chose the vehicle track around the north side.

Gurnal Dubs Shore Path

Nice light on a frozen dub near the tarn…

Gurnal Dubs & Icy Pond

There was a lot of peering at the map and trying to identify which of the surrounding hills was Potter Fell. In the end I missed the hill as it is incorrectly named on my map – I thought the one shown on the map didn’t look much! Never mind, it’s a lovely area to go back to so I don’t mind…

However, while I was peering at the map and walking, I managed to trip over a tussock and fall flat on my face in front of the following couple. I hurriedly got up but they definitely saw – how embarrassing!

I did manage to locate the Outlying Wainwright of Ulgraves and bagged that – it was a nice viewpoint for Longsleddale where we’d walked a couple of days before…

Youlgreaves

I was amused by what I called a ‘hedgehog wall’ – a superb example of the dry stone waller’s art…

Hedgehog Wall!

I then headed back over what wasn’t Potter Fell but the map said was and returned to walk the other shore of Gurnal Dubs…

Gurnals Dubs Quiet Side

Frozen Gurnal Dubs

Two days later it was another nice day and I decided it was time I bagged Reston Scar above Staveley Village – I’ve been looking at this fell for years now and wanting to do it. Richard said he wasn’t bothered so I sent him off up the lane on the quieter western side of Kentmere with his camera for a stroll. He took quite a few photos of the fells I was on…

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My first two fells, Reston Scar and Black Crag behind (R Wood)

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Reston Scar above Staveley Village (R Wood)

There is a superb and popular path up the front of Reston Scar from the back of the village.

On Reston Scar looking back
looking back from halfway along the ridge (my photos now)

On Reston Scar

Reston Scar Summit

I then headed off down the back, along with two other women, to Hugill Fell…

Hugill Knott from Reston Scar

The Outlying Wainwright is apparently the slightly lower and craggier fell to the right – marked Black Crag on my map (confusing innit)… I bagged both, as did the two girls. I then had a hunt around for a route through the dry-stone walls criss-crossing the fell all the way along the ridge to High Knott or Williamson’s Momument. This was the last fell I had to bag that day and I’d heard there were access problems and a possible trespass.

Whenever I found a gate, it had a stern notice on it warning that trespassers would be dealt with (didn’t say how). I have to admit that, with the potential visibility of walkers along the felltop and the amount of walls crossing my route I was easily put off and decided to descend back to the valley and try from the end of the road I’d sent Richard up.

I found a track heading steeply down the hill back to the road and walked back into Staveley. I’d been going to continue up the road but thought Richard would be back by now. He wasn’t and, after waiting ages I decided to get chips from the chippy – very nice!

Richard had taken these photos of the fellside from the lane…

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As I came out of the chippy I saw Richard heading for the car and shouted him. We decided we’d drive up the road to its end up on the fellside where there is a track running to Kentmere. The road was very rough and the Sunny didn’t thank me one bit! I parked on a rough verge at the junction and set off for my quick quarter mile walk to High Knott with Williamson’s Momument atop it.

I soon found the same warning signs and solid drystone walls with no stiles or gates. The fell was obviously a complete trespass. The farmer must be kidding himself though as, with the fell being listed as an Outlying Wainwright, that means people are going to its summit whether he likes it or not! Far better to put a stile in rather than have everyone climb your precious drystone walls.

I hurried up the lane and noticed a female runner approaching with two farm dogs. The next moment, the first collie had rushed up and hurled itself up at me. I felt a bang on my wrist bone – had the damn thing bitten me? The dog started to go for a second lunge so I started to yell angrily at it, changing its mind. The other dog also ran up but that confined itself to jumping up but not snapping. She eventually reached me and called her dogs off and muttered a brief apology. As she passed, I rolled up my sleeve and saw two puncture marks on my wrist – luckily it had been covered by clothing so there was no direct contact between teeth and flesh. Even more luckily, my very expensive winter jacket was unscathed!

I was pretty angry but continued with my trespass. Climbing the walls was complicated by the stock fence along the top but I managed to find two places to scramble over and back.

Williamsons Monument on High Knott

On arrival back at the car I asked Richard if a runner had passed him with two dogs. He said he’d seen her but she’d turned back just before the car – I wondered whether she was from the farm as they looked like farm dogs to me! Perhaps they extract payment from trespassers for visiting ‘their’ monument?

I showed Richard my wrist – it was now blackening with bruising with the 2 bloody puncture marks in the middle – I looked just like I’d been bitten by a vampire! he was pretty cross as well and said I should see a doctor. I didn’t think I needed to though as it had been well covered. What a troublesome fell to visit!

When I looked at Richard’s photos, we’d both taken the same moody shot towards Kentmere:

Kentmere from Hugill Knott
Photo comparison – my film shot above, Richard’s digi below
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Richard also took the following photos on his lane walk…

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Kentmere Weir
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Scroggs Bridge damaged in the Storm Desmond floods

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Out of interest, as we’d driven up the road we’d met the two girls from earlier coming back along the road – they’d obviously continued along the fells despite the notices!

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28 responses

17 04 2016
fedup

Well done on your perseverance! It sounds like the GOML signage has increased since I visited these 😦 Collie’s seem to be a bit snappy – I’ve lost count of the number of times my dog has been attacked, while walking through farmyards & even on the open fell!

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17 04 2016
mountaincoward

the GOML signage seemed to be all the way around the fell in every direction. He must be mad if he thinks people aren’t going to climb his walls though as obviously everyone will be doing, especially with a monument at the summit.

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18 04 2016
fedup

I thought (which means its probably wrong) that if the public had been using a path for a certain amount of time it could be turned into a public right of way. Inclusion in a Wainwright guide is surely proof enough of previous access?

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18 04 2016
mountaincoward

actually that is completely correct. I know as a women was trying to stop a right of way going past her house and I (and others) wrote to the local council saying we’d been using the right of way for years – she lost her case.

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16 04 2016
surfnslide

Splendid couple of walks on the lower fells. Really makes me angry to think there are wonderful outdoor places that some people feel are “theirs”

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17 04 2016
mountaincoward

It’s particularly ridiculous to make something private when there’s a monument to someone on the summit!

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12 04 2016
tessapark1969

Not good re the dog. Hope it has healed ok.

I have the Outlying Fells book but am not going to get sucked in.. I think!

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15 04 2016
mountaincoward

They’re pretty easy so far and hardly any time to do. I’ve just done the wettest ever fell though and that was an Outlying Wainwright…

My bite healed up within the week but the lads at work were impressed!

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12 04 2016
Mark

Right, that’s on my to do it list. Lovely looking spot.

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15 04 2016
mountaincoward

Take a stick for the dog though…

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12 04 2016
underswansea

Let me get this straight! The dog bites you and the owner just goes merrily on her way? That is bullshit! I would have been throwing rocks, the first few at the dogs and the next ones at the owner. Between that and the no trespassing signs it sounds like you still managed to have a good time. Lovely photos and wonderful report as usual. Good to hear the bite wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Take care. Bob

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15 04 2016
mountaincoward

I was sorely tempted to hit the dog and I’m not normally violent to animals. But you’re right, I probably should have taken it out on her really

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11 04 2016
Blue Sky Scotland

New set of hills and area for me. Looks nice though. Farm dogs are always a threat for walkers and I’ve been chased many times on my bike but never been bitten thankfully in my free time. Been bitten at work over the years by an assortment of species, including humans, and been chased around my van.by various individuals. Working with the public is always an adventure.

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15 04 2016
mountaincoward

Farm dogs are a total menace to walkers and even worse with cyclists! A farm dog bit me at Grasmere and ripped my trousers so I thought I’d best wait for my Mum who was way behind me. When she came tootling along with her walking stick, the dog legged it immediately.

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11 04 2016
McEff

I’m really angry about that dog. People should keep them under control or not have them to start with. It’s bad enough that it attacked you, but what if it had been someone with a child and the dog had snapped at its face? Farm dog or not, something should be done about it.
Can’t beat fish and chips after a good walk. And like the others, I love that hedgehog wall.
Cheers, Alen

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15 04 2016
mountaincoward

Yeah it could have been someone with a kid and the dog would then have got it in the face. I never think of that at the time. To be honest, I think I was too surprised and stunned to say much to her.

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11 04 2016
bowlandclimber

Enjoyed that post thanks.
This year we have had similar experiences –
We visited every pimple on Potter Fells just to be sure, usually Wainwright’s Outliers have a cairn of sorts.
It is crazy that the prominent Williamson’s Memorial on High Knott is out of bounds – this is the Lake District National Park for heavens sake! https://bowlandclimber.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/three-in-one-outlying-fells/
You have my sympathy with the dog attack/bite I think I would have asked the girl for her name and address, might make her more responsible in the future.

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15 04 2016
mountaincoward

I really had the feeling she’d just run along the lane from the farm and back.

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18 04 2016
bowlandclimber

It’s a shame that the perpetrator doesn’t comment on this site. Can’t really expect that.
Same round here where nobody admits to the dog shit left in the road.

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18 04 2016
mountaincoward

she’s too busy training her dogs to bite trespassers!

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11 04 2016
chrissiedixie

Some of those photos look very familiar, think we must have walked bits of that area many years ago……and I’m sure we went in that chippy, too!
Love the hedgehog wall! 😀

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15 04 2016
mountaincoward

It’s a good chippy – but then northern ones usually are 🙂

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11 04 2016
Gaslight Crime

I have fond memories of Staveley as it’s where I used to B and B. Nice to see these pics, John B

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15 04 2016
mountaincoward

I really liked the area – I put it down as a reserve if I don’t move to NW Cumbria (as I plan to)

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10 04 2016
smackedpentax

What a superb walk Carol, I love that hedgehog wall – never seen that before!
Shame about the vampire dog, some people just don’t know how to control their animals. Glad you weren’t hurt though 😉

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10 04 2016
mountaincoward

I’m pretty sure those were farm dogs – they’re exceedingly sly in general which is why most farmers keep them in sheds or chained up when they’re not working. I’ve been bitten by no end of farm dogs on walks. They know what walking sticks and poles are though and never touch anyone carrying those!

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10 04 2016
smackedpentax

I feel a bit safer now that I carry a pole with me – and it has a nasty stud on the bottom. I would never use it except in a ‘life or death’ situation though.

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10 04 2016
mountaincoward

I think the threat is enough – they know what a stick is!

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