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Armathwaite, River Eden, William Mounsey rock carvings, Cumbria.
[10.8 km]  Thu 21 May 2020

Lat/Long: 54.806448, -02.767193
OS Grid Ref: NY 50785 46001
Late morning put walking gear in the car and set off to drive to Armathwaite. This is my first walk in Cumbria for around 10 weeks. It was a lovely drive north along the M6 motorway and it was great to see the Howgill Fells in the sunshine. It was quite warm when I reached Armathwaite Bridge and was surprised how many cars were parked. When I've been here previously there has rarely been more than one car.

Track by the River Eden.
My original plan was to come here tomorrow but rain is forecast and I wanted to walk along the river Eden while the level was still very low.
I have walked here previously to try and find the face carvings in the sandstone cliffs to the south of the bridge. The high river levels have always prevented me from getting for enough. I doubt the level will be lower than today so I've come here this afternoon. It was quite warm as I walked along the tree shrouded track heading south towards the ruins of the Old Mill or Boat House. I left the main path and descended the minor track down to the ruins.
Ruins.
The continuing path is not obvious but it follows the base of the cliffs by the river’s edge. I reached the furthest point I got to the last time I was here and thankfully I was able to continue further. I had a GPX track on my Garmin that I found on the internet. It is supposed to show the way to the carvings. I soon reached the point shown by the track but there was nothing. The way ahead was straight forward so I continued and eventually came round a left hand corner into an alcove and suddenly in front of me was the text carving and date 1855.

 Extract from Isaac Walton's Compleat Angler published 1653
Directly below it it was one of the familiar carved faces I had seen online. To the right were two more carved faces and I enjoyed taking many photographs trying to capture the mood.
There are five heads, between them is a carved salmon and above them are some lines of poetry from Isaac Walton's Compleat Angler. All carved in soft sandstone and presumably done by William Mounsey. Letters carved in reverse are typical for Mounsey.
William Henry Mounsey (1808–77) was a British army officer, local scholar, traveller and antiquarian with an interest in Persia and Jewish culture. Further examples of his work can be seen at the Caves of St.Constantine at Wetheral and on the Jew Stone at Mallerstang Dale.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._Mounsey
The carvings are loated at lat/lon: 54.799646, -02.772227
OS grid ref: NY 50453 45248
Below is the actual wording from
'The Compleat Angler'
O the gallant Fisher's life,
It is the best of any;
'Tis full of pleasure, void of strife,
And 'tis beloved of many:
Other joys
Are but toys;
Only this
Lawful is;
For our skill
Breeds no ill,
But content and pleasure..

Faces

Fish.

Face.

Face.

Face.

Faces.
I didn't proceed further and returned the way I'd come. In front of me was another card face with a fish carved to it's right. The face looked genuine but the fish was rather crude and I'm not sure if it was done with the other carvings. Returning along the path quite a few more people were approaching in large groups and not observing social distancing.

River view.

New building across the river.
I got back to the main path and met a few more people as I returned to the car. I then had a pleasant drive down the motorway and got off briefly at the Shap exit to make this diary entry direct to Google Drive.
 
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