The Kendal Scars.

Start. Oxenholme.

Route. Oxenholme - Burton Road - Oxenholme Lane - Natland - Hawes Lane - Hawes Bridge - Scroggs - Helsington Laithes - Lane Head - Brigsteer Road - Kendal Racecourse - Bradleyfield - Scout Scar - Underbarrow Road - Cunswick Fell - Kendal Fell - The Tram Heights - Kendal - Waterside - Natland Road - Watercrook - Hawes Lane - Natland - Burton Road - Oxenholme.

Notes. Scout Scar to the west of Kendal, a limestone escarpment adorned with dwarf vegetation and shattered rock, cliffs plunge into the Lyth Valley ending in rivers of limestone scree swallowed up by dense woodland. This is a popular hill with local folk, dog walkers and families all tread this limestone plateau. If you just want to admire the scenery make use of the Scout Scar car park, but if, like me you intend to make a long afternoon of it, walk from further afield. My walk started from home, I don't suggest you start from Oxenholme, there's a number of places en route, Natland, Natland Road, the Leisure Centre on Burton Road or many of the pay and display car parks in Kendal.

Via tarmac lanes and field paths I made my way to the River Kent, on reaching Hawse Bridge I crossed to join the west bank. North I wandered through sheep pastures, stiles aided my crossing of field boundaries, on reaching Scroggs I ascended the tarmac lane, to have my progress halted by the A6, the main route into Kendal, braving life and limb I crossed to join a footpath signed Helsington Laithes. With a farm lane under foot and discreet arrows to guide me I ascended, passing under the Kendal By-pass to access monastic looking Lane Head Farm, field paths then ushered me the short distance to Brigsteer Road. North over tarmac I wandered to be greeted by a finger-post inviting me to Scout Scar, I obliged crossing Kendal Racecourse then Bradleyfield with it's muddy path, gorse bushes and stunted vegetation. I left the main trod immediately on leaving Bradleyfield, a faint path and dry stone wall then guided me to the trig point on Scout Scar.

I sat a while, had a brew, drank in timeless views over Lyth Valley, to the south Arnside Knott rose through the haze standing guard over the upper reaches of Morecambe Bay. The tide was in, my mind drifted back to the 18th century, to a time when the rising waters of the bay would flood these pasture far below my feet. The early 19th century saw the coming of drainage, land that was once washed by the sea became the damson capital of Europe, it excels in beauty when the blossom is out.

I'd regressed to another time, back in the present I was heading north, Lyth Valley to my left, passed the Mushroom, a well known local landmark. I soon found myself crossing Underbarrow Road to start the short walk to the summit of Cunswick Fell, the views from the summit cairn are excellent, even better than Scout Scar. No time to linger, the light was fading, night was creeping over my shoulder. I turned south-east, field paths guided me to the foot-bridge over Kendal By-pass, I then traversed Kendal Fell before descending into the town.

All routes down hill lead to the River Kent, my companion for the next 2½ miles. My route followed Natland Road out of town, after the final building on the right (Clark's Warehouse) I followed the narrow lane leading to Watercrook Farm, part way down a finger-post invited me to wander field paths once more, I again obliged. Through green pastures in fading light, passed Alavna Roman Fort I wandered, passed a large burial mound, over stiles marking field boundaries, above the river now ink black as the sun dipped under the horizon. I stepped onto tarmac at Hawes Bridge, all that remained, to re-trace my steps from earlier. Wandering between the dry stone walls of Hawes Lane I noticed a orange hue hanging in the eastern sky, The Helm looked alien in this light, by the time I reached Natland it had developed into a full blown sunset, the sky was on fire. I strolled through the village, some urgency in my step, I needed to reach high ground, the best place to enjoy this unfolding spectacle.

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Exploring the ruins of an old Bobbin Mill.

The race that once gave life to the old mill.

From Bradleyfield, Benson Knott across the Kent Valley.

Guided by a faint path, a dry stone wall to guide me with views to The Helm for company.

Along the edge of a limestone plateau, with views to a skyline of Lakeland favourites.

The Coniston massif seen over Lyth Valley.

Rising through the haze, guarding the upper reaches of Morecambe Bay, Arnside Knott with Whitbarrow to the right.

Timeless views over Lyth Valley, reaching across the skyline the Crinkle Crags, mighty Bow Fell and the Langdale Pikes.

The Whinfell ridge with it's very own blanket of cloud.

Views to the west from the ascent of Cunswick Fell.

The rolling summits and grassy ridges of the Howgill Fells.

The high skyline, the Whinfell ridge as seen from Cunswick Fell.

Looking to the bowl of hills closing and embracing the head of Kentmere, the long ridge of High Street taking centre stage.

Under a hazy winters sun the limestone plateau of Whitbarrow.

The summit Cunswick Fell with views to the Howgill Fells.

Benson Knott seen from Kendal Fell.

A place of importance, a burial mound near Alavna Roman Fort at Watercrook.

Heading south above the inky black waters of the River Kent.

Alien like, this is The Helm seen from Hawes Lane.

Hawes Lane looking towards the setting sun.

The village green, Natland.

Seen from field paths between Oxenholme and Natland, Scout Scar under a burning sky.

Same view from a bit further up the field.

Blazing skies over South Lakeland, it doesn't get much better than this....

....oh yes it does.

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