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Keswick, Braithwaite, Coledale, Knott Rigg, Moss Force, Newlands Valley, Cumbria. (3 day backpack)
Wed 25 - Fri 27 Jan 2012

Wed 25 Jan 2012

Wed 25 Jan 2012

Thu 26 Jan 2012

Fri 27 Jan 2012

As I drove north along the M6 motorway the windsock at Tebay was showing quite a breeze but not too bad. I left my car on Brundholme Road, Keswick and set off back to the main road. I turned right then just before the main roundabout found the small path down to the left which ran along the line of the old abandoned railway. It was quite muddy in places but the mud wasn’t too deep. I came to a bridge where I decided to leave the track line and join a road track below. I walked along the side of the cemetery then on reaching the church turned right to follow the line of the old road towards Portinscale.

The old railway line near Keswick

It is now only a muddy path but on reaching the B5289 I crossed over to continue along the same route but now it is still a road, even though not a through road anymore. I crossed the pedestrian suspension bridge and entered Portinscale.

Footbridge at Portinscale

At the road junction I turned right were I came to the interesting feature by the roadside where a couple of stone arches have inscriptions on them. The largest says Dorothy + Well.

Dorothy + Well - Portinscale

The other is smaller and has text which is indistinct. Further on I crossed the main A66 road and headed up a lane which ended and continued as a very muddy path over Hodgson How. Judging by the avenues of trees either side it must have been a road or track many years ago.

Fungi on Hodgson How

Below I could see the War Memorial which was my next stop. Just before it is a stone arched bridge with nothing underneath it. The river course must have moved many years ago. The memorial was a single Celtic cross on the top of a small natural mound and surrounded by trees. I rejoined the line of the old abandoned road for a while, re-crossed the A66 and walked in to Braithwaite village.

War Memorial near Braithwaite

Just after the village I took the path off to the left and followed it to the vehicle track to Force Crag Mine. The track had fresh vehicle tracks on it and after I’d gone about a mile a truck came up behind and sounded his horn. I couldn’t hear his approach due to the severe head wind which was very difficult to negotiate at times. Along with the wind was drizzle and low cloud. I could see enough of the path high up and driving rain to realise I would have to be careful choosing my camp site. At the mine there were quite a few vehicles dotted about and a couple of surveyors were walking across the spoil heaps. I can only assume a satellite survey receiver station I saw earlier mounted on a tripod is linked as they had a survey pole and receiver dish attached. The stepping stones across Coledale Beck were all underwater and I had to cross with care.

Satellite survey receiver

As I headed up the path a couple were coming down and warned me of the winds high up. The track I was on was the access to the long abandoned High Force mines. At the top of the rise I stayed on the left side of the river to head up towards a high valley below Crag Hill. The map shows a sheepfold in it but I soon realised that to go much higher with the winds as they were would be foolish. At a point where the river begins to rise again I noticed another sheep fold. I walked over to investigate and decided that camping with its walls would be the safest option. It was still incredibly windy but I managed to get the tent up between lulls in the wind. In the early evening I went out to check the guy lines and found a couple that had pulled loose so they were sorted before battening down for the night.