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Stonethwaite, Big Stanger Gill, Bessyboot, Combe Gill, St Andrew's Church, Cumbria.
[6.9 km]  Thu 14 Feb 2019

Lat/Long: 54.515088, -03.143919
OS Grid ref: NY 26043 13912
The mornings are definitely a bit lighter for my drive north along the M6 into Cumbria. Today's walk is at the south end of Borrowdale and I started by driving to Stonethwaite to park in the small parking area east of the primary school. There was nobody else there when I arrived. I set off along the lane continuing south east into the buildings of Stonethwaite village.

Stonethwaite history
There was an interesting sign on a barn door relating the history of the area and the others who owned it.
STONETHWAITE Through a series of transactions beginning in 1195, the Cistercian monks of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire acquired parts of the Borrowdale Valley, including Stonethwaite Farm. Between 1211 and the beginning of the
14th century, Stonethwaite developed into a thriving medieval vaccary or dairy farm and the monks of Furness, who owned much of the rest of the valley, complained that the 1211 agreement had been unfairly drawn up and a long legal battle began. Finally, in 1304 King Edward intervened and confiscated the property. He then sold it to Fountains Abbey for
40 shillings!
I came this way a couple of weeks ago to check out Langstrath but this time I turned off the track where the closed camp site is. Just after crossing Little Stanger Gill a path leads up a stony track and heads up a green field towards the river.
Water treatment
I stopped to check some cubicles by the river which appeared to be a small chlorination plant for water treatment of local supplies. The path became stoned with steps continuing steeply upwards. Further up the Gill was a structure looking like a reservoir with metal hatches and a selection of blue polyethylene plastic pipes running down through the river bed and into the reservoir.
Intakes higher up the gill
Looking up a head the climb looked quite imposing but the stone path was excellent and give a very easy access up towards Alisongrass Crag. I passed 3 flat areas on the way up that would make excellent camp pitches. Near the top of the steep climb I came to a wall where I could climb through easily and the gradient then eased to descend slightly down to the river then back up to follow the east side of big Stanger Gill. I crossed the river easily and turned west to wander up to an interesting high valley below Bessyboot.
Looking down to Stonethwaite
There was an easy path to follow and continued round the outside of a fairly wet area of ground before turning south and winding up words up the north side of Bessyboot summit. It was a pleasant and easy climb and I emerged in a gully with a nice small car at the end marking the summit. It is the first time I have visited it.
Bessyboot cairn
Below me to the south was a view of the Langdales in the distance. Although I had reasonable views there was total cloud above and fairly dull lighting. A steep descent took me down to an easy flat path which skirted round to the west above Rottenstone Gill. Although a path is marked on the map the descent down into Combe Gill is very indistinct and needs a few diversions to avoid some steep rocky drops. The higher area was grassy but the further down I got I had to wind my way through boulder fields.
Tarn at Leaves to the Langdales
Near the bottom a stony path took me to a gate where the path then became much easier to follow. The path continued down to the fields near Stonethwaite and I joined the farm and St Andrew's Church where I had a look in the graveyard for the grave of Bob Graham but unfortunately couldn't find it. It was only a few more minutes along the road and back to my car.