BACK 'O' SKIDDA AND A BIT MORE 20/10/2019

On Great Sca Fell

Ten group members set out from Mae’s Tearooms in Uldale, the base for this year’s Annual General Meeting and meal.  After a gentle start, following field paths, we were suitably warmed up for the main climbing of the day at the ‘Back ‘O’ Skiddaw’. The first objective Longlands Fell, afforded excellent views over to the Solway and the Galloway Hills beyond and to the west, the Isle of Man. Next in line on our route were Little and Great Sca Fell with the roller-coaster over Meal Fell to Trusmadoor.  The sheltered position of Trusmadoor made for an ideal coffee stop.  Soon the legs were working again on the short, sharp ascent of Great Cockup.  One member commented that his workplace must have relocated here!  

Continuing over to Little Cockup, our route descended its flank, to meet a track down into Hause Gill, where we passed the Thorny Crag bunkhouse.  Hause Gill beck was in full spate and fording it proved trickier than on the recce.  Soon we reached Dash Farm, where there was evidence of some filming work taking place, with a large number of vehicles and filming equipment in place.  The next section of the walk was tarmac and led to the road at Peter House Farm.  Field paths and a short sharp section of woodland path, towards the edge of Park Wood, gave way to rolling landscape around Orthwaite.  

Having skirted Overwater, we encountered two unusual features in the fields behind the Overwater Hall Hotel.  Firstly, an earthworks, recorded as ‘Moat’ on the modern Ordnance Survey Explorer sheet OL4 and secondly, a curious stone carving of a man’s head, complete with headgear, on a pillar.  Without an inscription, it is difficult to identify; any suggestions would be gratefully received!  For the meantime, he remains the ‘Mystery Man of Overwater Hall!’  The 1865 first edition Ordnance Survey map (historic series) shows Orthwaite Hall Hotel, then known as Whitefield House and the ‘Moat’ is shown as a [Roman] camp.  The ‘mystery man’ is marked only as ‘stone.’  A photograph of the map accompanies this report.

The grounds of Overwater Hall Hotel provided an excellent lunch venue.  There was no time to peruse the list of beers, wines and spirits, as our AGM wouldn’t wait!  Binsey, our next objective was in sight and upon reaching the summit; we made the decision to shorten our route, so that we could arrive back in Uldale with time to spare.  Instead of heading over to High Ireby and past the site of Ireby Grange to Ruthwaite, we returned to Uldale via the road.  The walk involved c. 3,700 feet of ascent and was c. 15 miles in length.

A convivial meal followed the Annual General Meeting at Mae’s Tearooms and we look forward to going back to Mae’s for our 2020 AGM.