Whitbarrow from the Derby Arms, Witherslack.

Start. Derby Arms, Witherslack.

Route. Derby Arms - Latterbarrow - Longhowe End - High Fell End - Church Road - Yewbarrow - Lawns Houses - Witherslack Hall Farm - High Crag Wood - Whitbarrow Scar - Flodder Allotment - Whitbarrow (Lords Seat) - Farrer's Allotment - Buckhouse Wood - Low Fell End - Mill Side - Derby Arms.

Notes. South of the volcanic turmoil of the Lake District rises a benign landscape where gentle folds of limestone absorb the walker, a landscape confectionery of woodland, grassland, limestone pavements and scrub, a landscape 350 million years in the making. Benign may be a little misleading, when you arrive what you see is bloody great white cliffs sparkling in the sunlight, daunting it looks but never fear our Victorian forefathers were kind enough to hone paths out of the sheer faces, paths still in use today, paths that will aid our ascent into a promised land of vast vistas and silvery seascapes. Come along you'll love it.

My morning started outside the Derby Arms on the old Barrow Trunk Road. With tarmac under foot I wandered west to be met by a finger-post inviting me to High Fell End, I obliged passing through a gate to enter Latterbarrow Nature Reserve. Way-marked paths then guided me north, woodland and scrub soon gave way to sheep pastures before reaching High Fell End. Behind this cluster of houses and converted farm buildings a flight of stone steps (the second on the right) guided me into woodland of ash, yew, oak and holly.

Gaining height with every step I soon reached a field gate, passed through it to access the pastures of Yewbarrow. Ignoring the summit of this low limestone capped hill I continued, a green lane now guided me to Lawns Houses, then on to Witherslack Hall Farm and a finger-post invited me to the top of the bill, master over all it surveys, Whitbarrow.

With way-marked paths under foot I continued, along the edge of the football field then over a ladder stile. Now in woodland a muddy path under foot I headed north, this path terminated at the foot of the escarpment, an exhilarating ascent followed over a path honed from the cliff face, when the climbing ended I found myself on Lord's Seat the summit of Whitbarrow, a splendid cairn marks the spot.

This is a special place this plateau above the scars, woodland and grassland, limestone pavements, erratic boulders and low limestone scarps, a site of Special Scientific Interest, a National Nature Reserve, it forms part of the Morecambe Bay Pavements Area of Conservation, and since the removal in 1999 of a Corsican pine plantation stunning views.

I wandered into said views, the sparkling waters of Morecambe Bay beckoned me forward, it was high tide. Through Flodder Allotment I strolled, then Farrer's Allotment before reaching the south west corner of the plateau. Reluctantly I descended into woodland, the path, another honed from the cliff face ushered me safely down hill depositing me on an old metalled road. This narrow track once echoed to the sound of horse drawn carriages, a super highway in the 18th century linking Levens to Witherslack and the rest of what would have been Cumberland and Westmorland, now Cumbria.

I turned sharp left then almost immediately right onto a green trod that guided me to Low Fell End before depositing me on the old Barrow Trunk Road. This modern road built in 1922 replaced the metalled track I'd just left, it has since been replaced by the A590, the main Barrow road, a mile of easy walking followed, I may have had tarmac under foot but the only wheeled vehicles to pass me was a tractor being overtaken by some guy on a peddle cycle.

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A curtain raiser, the stunning view from High Fell End.

Welcome to a day of dancing shadows and changing moods, I've just escaped the tree cover into views to the dark cliffs of Whitbarrow Scar.

Whitbarrow Scar seen from field paths near Whitbarrow Hall Farm.

A play of light across the pastures of Witherslack.

Amazing views south over Chapel Head Scar.

Under moody skies the Conistion massif. far right grey in diffused light the Langdale Pikes.

The shapely cairn that marks the summit.

Racing moody shadows and wonderful plays of light across the South Lakeland valleys.

Views across Lyth Valley capturing heavy rain washing clean the Kent valley.

The long wide limestone ridge of Whitbarrow provides a fine viewpoint, over the sheep pastures of Lyth Valley the rolling Shap Fells and ridge lines of Whinfell.

Making stately progress through Whitbarrow's limestone scenery, looking to upper Morecambe Bay and the Arnside coast.

Over birch woods just changing into their Autumn clothes, Gummer's How.

Another stricking view over the low limestone scarps and birch woods of Whitbarrow,

Taking a breather, soaking up the views towards Lord's Seat. It occurred to me whilst taking this shot, before the last ice age the whole of the Lake District will of looked similar to this, before the ice scoured away the soft limestone.

Arnside Knott seen from Farrer's Allotment.

Climbing out of shot to the left Newton Fell with Barrow Hollin directly opposite.

Surprises for our delectation, sunlight on Chapel Head Scar.

The River Kent spills into the estuary at High Faulshaw.

Arnside Knott seen from the southern edge of Whitbarrow.

Descending through Buckhouse Wood, under foot paths cut from the cliff face by Victorian entrepreneurs.

This narrow track once echoed to the sound of horse drawn carriages, a super highway in the 18th century linking Levens to Witherslack and the rest of Cumberland and Westmorland.

Then we have this, the old Barrow Trunk Road, this modern road built in 1922 replaced the metalled track I'd just left, it has since been replaced by the modern A590.

Whitbarrow as seen from the old road to Barrow.

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