Saturday, 25 February 2012

Wet Valley valley

Inspired by McEff's recent visit to Swindale   ( ) 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?


Alan R said...

These valleys are pure heaven. you can get away from the crowds.

Jules said...

Going back can be good, especially if you are reliving great times.

Going backwards is different, though, and not so good.

Greg said...

Alan , yes the car park at the dam had a few cars in but once I got away from the reservoir I saw no one.
Jules, yes the only way is up.

Because They're There said...

Hi Greg. When I worked in Crosby Ravensworth in the early 1980s they used to reckon that the people in Heap of Stones, which was only three miles away, were about 20 years behind everyone else and still wearing winklepickers. That used to make me smile, because Crosby Ravensworth is hardly the northern Milan of the fashion world.
Moving on. A couple of weeks ago, while walking back from Mosedale Cottage, I glanced up that valley beneath Harrop Pike at the small fir wood on the flank and wondered if anyone ever walked up there. Apparently they do, because you’ve just proved it. That walled structure is interesting. As you say, it’s too high for a sheep fold.
It never ceases to amaze me that a bloke can spend decades walking in a small area of countryside like the Lakes and new things like that suddenly present themselves out of nowhere. I shall have to get myself up there sometime and have a look for myself.
All the best, Alen McF

Greg said...

Alen it's worth exploring. When descending in the mist one time I came upon the wreckage of an aeroplane sticking out of the peat. Must go back and look for that one day.

Paul Sharkey said...

Hi Greg,

Your account is a fascinating insight into Wet Sleddale, I missed the stone structure when I was there, 9ft in places? kept me guessing too, seems to be some kind of enclosure of some sort. Great report on the some lonely fells.