The River Kent, Sizergh and the Kendal Scars (a traverse).

Start. Natland.

Route. Natland - Hawes Lane - Hawes Bridge - Wilson Place - Nannypie Lane - Sizergh - Sizergh Castle - Holeslack - Helsington Church - Helsington Barrows - Scout Scar - Underbarrow Road - Cunswick Scar - Kendal Fell - Kendal.

Notes. A superb walk incorporating a river side ramble, woodland, parkland and an airy stroll into timeless views from a wind blown limestone plateau. I did this walk through default, I'd intended to head into the volcanic turmoil of the Lake District, an emergency phone call from my daughter put an end to that plan. A miss-interpreted time table left both daughter and granddaughter stranded with a two hour walk to the nearest bus stop, I was dispatched on a rescue mission. Buy the time I deposited them back home it was mid afternoon, a brisk breeze had blown the grey mist of morning away, replacing it with blue sky and scudding cloud, I abandoned the car in Natland.

After following the grey ribbon of Hawes Lane I joined the east bank of the river for the short walk down stream, through sheep pastures above the fast flowing waters of the River Kent I walked, I joined a muddy bridleway which in turn deposited me in more sheep pastures, a green trod then lead to a foot-bridge spanning the river, I crossed to join Nannypie Lane. This quiet tarmac lane guided me away from the river, out of the valley, it ushered me under the main road placing me at the entrance to Sizergh Castle. If you find the need for refreshment there's a trio of watering holes here about's. Sizergh Barn has an excellent tearoom and café, the Strickland Arms serves good food at a reasonable price and Sizergh Castle café is very good value for money.

I went in neither, I let the castle drive guide me to the car park, I wandered passed the café and gift shop to be welcomed by a finger-post directing me across a field, after traversing said field I ascended through a small cops before reaching Holeslack with a fine example of medieval barns. After passing through the farm the access lane guided me into spectacular views, I stopped for a brew at the tiny Church of St John, a number of benches allow the walker to sit and drink in views over Morecambe Bay, Lyth Valley and the Lakeland Fells. Brew over I wandered down the tarmac access lane, on reaching Brigsteer Road a finger-post invited me to Scout Scar.

This insignificant sign marked the start of a three and a half mile walk through spectacular limestone scenery, precipitous cliffs on one side the shattered rock and dwarfed vegetation of the limestone plateau the other. The route, the views and the atmosphere were faultless in every way, and at this time of day it was quiet, an almost perfect walk to the large cairn on Cunswick Fell, here I stopped for another brew before turning south-east and heading off the hill. A green trod guided me through scrub land then grass land, via the manicured lawns of Kendal Fell golf course I wandered before descending into town. A choice to make, walk home via riverside paths or the long disused Kendal/Lancaster canal, or jump on the last bus to Oxenholme, the bus won. My walk wasn't quite over, I disembarked at the Natland stop, descended Oxenholme Lane into Natland before making the short drive home..

view route map.


The River Kent south of Hawes Bridge.

Looking down on the white waters of the River Kent.

Further down stream with no sign of the drama I've just witnessed, I'm standing in an old quarry, the supplier of the stone used to build the gunpowder works on the opposite bank.

The stately pile of Sizergh Castle, home to the Strickland family for the past eight hundred years.

The grand house was thought to have been built around a piel tower, it is now believed it is a 14th century solar tower, generally the family's living area above the Great Hall.

Holeslack Farm on view from near Sizergh Castle.

Medieval barns at Holeslack.

Views over Lyth Valley captured from near the Church of St John.

The Church serves the village of Brigsteer at the bottom of the scar, but the Parish is called Helsington after the name of one of the twenty four townships which constituted the greater parish of Kendal, there's a piece of useless information for you, I've got my back to the best thing about this quaint little church, the vistas over Lyth Valley, Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland fells..

Arnside Knott seen across the vast flatlands of Lyth Valley.

Ascending Scout Scar looking to a skyline of Lakeland favourites.

A truly humbling sight, the limestone cliffs, shattered rock and dwarf flora of the Scout Scar plateau.

Striding out through handsome views, over Lyth Valley Arnside Knott with Whitbarrow to the right.

Benson Knott in dappled light with the Howgill Fells across the horizon.

Standing with my back to a feature locally known as the mushroom, looking to the bulk of Red Screes, grey on the horizon.

A vision north over pastoral land to the woodland and limestone cliffs of Cunswick Scar.

Dark in the middle distance Lord's Lot, as seen from Cunswick Fell.

Timeless views across Lyth Valley, rain washes the Coniston massif.

The field I'm crossing is marked on old maps as the rifle range, Kendal by-pass runs behind the tree line but the drone of traffic dose little to detract from this magical view to the Howgill Fells.

The perspective north, the Shap Fells and the rolling Whinfell Ridge.

Looking to Cunswick Fell with heavy weather rolling in from the Lake District.

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