The Kendal Scars (a traverse).

Start. Kendal (Abbot Hall)

Route. Kendal - Gillinggate - High Tenterfell - Serpentine Wood - Kendal Fell - Cunswick Fell - Scout Scar - Helsington Barrows - Helsington Church - Ashbank Lane - Sizergh Castle - Nannypie Lane - River Kent - Wilson Place - Larkrigg - Cracalt - Natland - Helm Lane - Oxenholme.

Notes. Something a little different today, a bus ride into Kendal followed by a walk home via the Kendal Scars, Cunswick Scar and Scout Scar a wonderful limestone escarpment rising between the Kent and Lyth Valleys. The weather forecast looked grim, low cloud and drizzle. I'm afraid I haven't got much to show for my efforts, sitting at home writing this I've got a camera full of terrible pictures and that tired warm feeling you get when you've been in the fresh air battling the elements too long.

Daybreak I stepped from the bus opposite the entrance to Abbot Hall Park, directly across the road Gillinggate climbed between grey limestone houses, I climbed with it joining High Tenterfell where Gillinggate terminated. The road lead to Serpentine Wood, it was quite dark when I entered the woodland, the place is alive with ghost stories. Ignoring any spooky goings on I wandered through the woodland, quite a pleasant place this time of morning.

After escaping the tree cover I traversed Kendal Fell crossing the by-pass at a fine foot-bridge, I then ascended Cunswick Fell into drizzle and low cloud, and that was the story for the next four miles. Head down against the elements I wandered on, keeping the Scars to my right. I wandered above Cunswick Scar then Scout Scar, paused at the Mushroom for a brew but that was it you couldn't see bugger all. If I'd followed the right path next would be Helsington Barrows, I had, the path guided me to the tarmac of Brigsteer Road, a few yards to my right the narrow lane that leads to the little church at Helsington. From the church a farm lane guided me to a finger-post, “foot-path to Sizergh or bridleway”, I opted for the bridleway. This green trod guided me through park land, (from what I could see of it), depositing me in Ashbank Lane, another farm track, a finger-post promising passage to Sizergh, Sizergh it was then.

Once at Sizergh Castle I grabbed some dinner in the excellent cafe, open to the passing rambler. The access lane then ushered me to Nannypie Lane which in turn guided me to the River Kent, after crossing the river at the foot-bridge accessing Wilson Place field paths lead to another bridleway. Between hedge rows and dry stone walls I wandered, this ancient track ejected me into sheep pastures at Larkrigg, I made for the canal bridge, crossed the dry canal then continued to Cracalt, from the houses and farm buildings it was a short stroll over tarmac to Natland. Once on the village green I opted for Helm Lane, the narrow tarmac lane to the right of the church, this guided me to the main road a few hundred yards from my home.

view route map.


One of many paths through Serpentine Woods, it's quite dark although the camera makes good use of the available light, the problem was holding it still.

The summer house built in 1833, in those days a sixpence levi was charged for access to the woods and use of the summer house, just enough to keep the commoners out.

I've escaped the woods into misty views over Kendal.

Serpentine Woods seen from the edge of Kendal Fell golf course.

Just visible for now, Benson Knott over Kendal.

Looking to Cunswick Fell.

Ascending Cunswick Fell, viewing Scar Wood, beyond swallowed up in low cloud Scout Scar.

Looking north to Cunswick Fell, there's a bank of cloud rolling up from Lyth Valley about to swallow me up and the whole of the Kendal scars.

In a world of my own, wandering through a land of swirling mist.

Wandering along the edge of Scout Scar.

The Mushroom one of the best view points in South Cumbria, I'm not being sarcastic. The late Harry Griffin wrote, "This (Scout Scar) must surely be one of the finest viewpoints in England, for you can see at least 120 hills and mountains in the Lake District, Yorkshire and Lancashire, as well as less interesting features such as Blackpool Tower far away across Morecambe Bay", not today Harry.

Near haunted Hodgson's Leap the mist is thicker.

Helsington Barrows.

Helsington Church as I have always known it, to give it it's official name, Chapel of Ease of St John Helsington. Built in 1726 in this isolated position to allow parishioners from nearby farms and villages to access a place of worship, lets not forget three hundred years ago roads were muddy tracks, if you were lucky you had a horse, if not it was shanks's pony, it was an awful long walk to the Parish Church in Kendal.

I've left Helsington Church and shanks's pony's carrying me through park land to the west of Sizergh Castle.

Descending to Ashbank Lane through a man made landscape.

Finally I'm under the cloud base, looking east across the Kent valley.

Sizergh Castle, the oldest part of the building, a solar tower dating back to the 14th century.

The foot-bridge at Wilson Place.

Looking back down the bridleway guiding me to Larkrigg, Larkrigg Spring Wood and behind the trees to the right the River Kent.

Finally wandering into Natland.

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