We parked at the racecourse at Cartmel but we were not going to the races, we were off to do a recce for a forthcoming walk with Crosby Rambling Club.
We walked through the village with its 17th – 18th century cottages to reach the Priory.
Cartmel Priory was founded by Augustinian Monks in 1190. After its dissolution in 1537 part of the priory survived. The building has an unusual tower. When it was heightened in the 15th century the extension was built diagonally to the original tower. This gives it a two tiered appearance.
Heading north we had a short section of road walking before we turned right to pass through a farmyard and begin our climb up to Hampsfell. We stopped to chat to the farmer.He said “ I hope you are well booted up, its very muddy in the fields” He was so right, especially near the gates where the cows had trampled the ground. The mud was more like slurry and the water had a bright green tinge to it. This was not the place to fall down!
Our objective was Hampsfell Hospice. It was built in 1846 by the vicar of Cartmel to provide shelter for travellers. It is really just a stone hut with an observation platform on top.
There is a toposcope on the platform and a sign indicating the fells that can be seen on the Lakeland Skyline. But not today. Everything was grey and visibility was poor.
Above the doorway was a sign that we could not decipher. it was all Greek to me!
As we began our descent we could see a line of brightness on the horizon. Was the good weather heading our way?
Leaving the fell we continued south across field paths to reach the village of Allithwaite and continued on to Humphrey Head. Some of the fields were waterlogged and we only just made it. Humphrey Head is a limestone outcrop that juts out into the Kent Estuary. It is where the last wolf in England was killed in about 1390. Local legend has it that the wolf came down from the Coniston Fells where it had caused havoc with the sheep flocks. After it had attacked a child in Cark the local men chased it to the end of Humphrey Head where it was killed with pikes whilst it was hiding in the rocks.
We walked along the track and then the mudflats on the western side of the headland. We did not quite make it to the point as the way was blocked by a deep water channel.
The sun had finally come out and we sat on some rocks to have our lunch. It was very quiet and peaceful with nice views looking across the saltmarsh.
Our intention had been to climb up to the trig point on Humphrey Head but we had missed the path. We found it on the way back but did not have time to reach the trig point. The headland is very exposed to the prevailing westerly winds and is noted for the wind blasted Hawthorne bushes. Here are a couple of photos I took the last time I was there.
We now had more road walking, something I don,t usually enjoy, but it helped us to pick up our pace at we were out of the mud.
We came to the village of Flookburgh, once a busy fishing village. It derives its name from the flat fish, known as flukes, found in the area. Edward I gave the town a royal charter in 1278. It was later confirmed by Charles II. We continued on to the village of Cark before joining the Cistercian Way for the final leg of our walk.
The Cistercian Way is a 33 mile long trail that crosses the low limestone fells that fringe the shores of Morecambe Bay. It made for an east last couple of miles. Soon we were at the edge of the race course and we could see the top of the Priory. The finish was in sight, only three furlongs to go.
Our walk had been just over 12 miles and the going was officially ‘soft’
I want a stewards enquiry.