A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Friday, 1 August 2008

Muncaster Fell

On the Friday, my last day in the Lakes, the song of a nightingale woke me up. Or did I dream it? I'd packed up my tent and left the campsite by 9 am, and half-an-hour later had parked in the delightfully situated village of Eskdale Green, put on my boots, and pointed my feet towards one of the most westerly lumps of high land in the Lake District: Muncaster Fell. Not that it's very high - the summit cairn on its western side just scrapes a humble 231 m. But height isn't everything. In fact some of the best Lakeland panoramas are revealed from the lower fells.

Muncaster Fell's shape and features reminded me a little of High Rigg near Keswick. The meandering, up-and-down path to the top took me through ferns, by rocky granite outcrops covered in heather and gorse, across mini-marshland areas. From the summit you could see the higher fells to the east and north-east (1st pic); lovely, wooded, secretive Eskdale to the south and south-west (2nd pic); and the patchwork fields of the coastal plain to the west (3rd pic). You could also make out on the horizon the nuclear site of Sellafield - which is now being run by the NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority).

At Muncaster Tarn (4th pic) I somehow missed the path down, and I'd walked a distance down Fell Lane towards Ravenglass before I snapped out of my reverie and realised my mistake. I returned to the tarn and soon found the correct path, which gradually descended under the cool shade of pine trees to the golf course at High Eskholme and the lane which clung to the base of the fell all the way back to Eskdale Green. This track seemd to go on forever and my right foot was hurting again. Foxgloves bordered the lane and buzzards mewed overhead. Eventually the path led to Eskdale Green station, a halt on the 7 mile long, narrow-gauge Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, where I sat on a bench for a while and watched this train come in to the station (5th pic). The railway is now owned by a railway preservation society, and is very popular with tourists - but it was originally used to transport iron ore to the coast.

1 comment:

Alan Sloman said...

It will be tough going back to work after such a splendid trip.

Enjoy the memories.