Eleven walkers set out on this glorious Sunday morning. Nine members and two guests, Sally and Mick, a Northumbria LDWA member, made for a strong turnout.
The walk began at Armathwaite Bridge and headed south, through Coombs Wood, where we encountered ‘Vista’ one of the Eden Benchmarks. The route took us past Longdales and out towards Ruckcroft past some rare breed poultry. Two large ‘emus’ eyed us suspiciously as we passed! The group was well and truly warmed up by the time we reached the road into Ruckcroft. Field paths took us down to Barugh Cottages and past the farm at Slack via the only boggy section of the walk. The frosty conditions made the ground generally firm, which was preferable to a mudbath! Undulating terrain led down to Croglin Water, which afforded a welcome coffee stop. Back on the route, the group headed past Croglin High Hall and Caber Farm, through field paths and met up again with Croglin water close to the village. From Croglin village, a firm track led up to a green lane over the lower slopes of the fell. This was the highest point of the walk and offered excellent views to the west, including distant views of the Lakeland fells. It provided a scenic lunch stop, which, in spite of the sunshine, was quite chilly.
After lunch, the route skirted the village of Newbiggin and continued past Foul Sike Wood, Quite an appropriate name, as on this section, cattle had wallowed in deep mud and it made for solid ankle-breaking terrain! Having negotiated this successfully the group headed out onto the Castle Carrock to Newbiggin road. Soon a fingerpost indicated a walled lane, which connected with a back lane. At this point, good views of the Newbiggin and Croglin Fells could be seen. A couple of miles of road walking followed, passing to the North of Broomrigg Plantation and down to Ainstable village. The route passed behind the vicarage and church and over field paths (via a minor diversion involving a makeshift ladder stile; we’ll draw a veil over that one!) back to the River Eden. A pleasant riverside walk led back to Armathwaite bridge and the Fox and Pheasant for liquid refreshment!
The LDWA organises many challenge and local group walks, as well as listing many more organised by other organisations. Challenge events are normally between 20 and 100 miles and must generally be completed within a defined time limit. Group walks are normally led walks of around 20 miles. Click here to go to the LDWA website.