Inspired by McEff's recent visit to Swindale ( http://becausetheyrethere.com/ ) I headed down the M6 and turned off at the village called Heap of Stones. Yes I've just bought Diana Whaley's book 'A Dictionary of Lake district Place Names.' It's dear and I've been eying it up in the Cockermouth book shop since before the big flood. Took the car for some tyres and whilst waiting parted with the cash for the book.
They say you should never go back. I fished this beck a couple of times 30 odd years ago. I explored the
granite intrusion on the valley sides and I have camped a couple of times below Harrop Pike at the valley head. These are happy memories so how come there's a tear in my eye?
About a mile up the valley is this peculiar structure. It does not appear to have buildings inside , it's over 9 feet tall in places, it seems a bit big for a sheep fold?
I'm soon climbing up beside the falls at the valley head. Over to my right there are a couple of heads silhouetted against the sky watching my every move. (How many attempts to spell silhouetted). Behind me over to the left, on the other side of the ridge,will be the Granite quarry where my dad blasted his way through the years in sun snow and rain. If I climb that hill I will be able to see my mam and dad's house on the fellside at Tebay.
At the head of the falls is a wide flat boggy area surrounded by hills. As you pop up here you can catch the red deer unaware, and today was no exception. Too far away to photo, on the slopes above Widepot is a herd of at least 30. I sit and watch as they stream away out of site. So I head right for High Wether Howe. Another mystery, why has someone planted those trees in such a remote area? I must go check them out some day.
There's those heads watching me again. This was a smaller herd on my side of the valley.
I head back down the valley and there's a farmer mending a drystone wall, I shout 'how do.' My aunty Kath, now long gone, would have probably known him. She could tell you the family tree of the families at most of the farms between Tebay and Stainmore. Another age.
Must cheer up, this is a happy walk. Never go back?