back to my home page

Scales (A66), Mosedale Viaduct, Sandbed Moss, Great Dodd, Mosedale Beck, Barbaryrigg Moss, Cumbria.
[22.9 km]  Mon 19 Apr 2021

OS Grid ref: NY 33911 26711
Lat/Long: 54.631184, -03.025281

There continued high pressure with hardly any wind as I drove north to Cumbria. It was a pleasant sunny morning when I arrived at Scales and parked in the vehicle lay-by. There was heavy traffic as I set off walking east. I left the busy A66 and turned right down the minor road which descends to Lamb Bridge. I was annoyed with myself because there was a perfect parking spot here but I wasn't aware when I arrived earlier. I left the road to turn right along a minor lane through open fields to the small Hamlet of Wallthwaite.

 Great Dodd and Clough Head in the distance.

Up ahead I could see the fells but before reaching them my first objective was to have a look at Mosedale Viaduct which used to carry the Railway over Mosedale Beck. The viaduct is visible from many of the walks on Blencathra and it intrigued me. Unfortunately there is no public footpath adjacent to the structure but one passes close by to the east.

Mosedale Viaduct.

 Mosedale Viaduct & Clough Head in the distance.
I left the road at Wallthwaite to follow the path through the field heading south east. It crosses the railway at a footbridge but I kept to the west field boundary to get closer to the viaduct. I reached the edge of the deep valley and was able to to step over the fence onto the old railway route below. A substantial fence prevented access to the top of the viaduct but I was able to step over the fence and descend the steep slope to the valley bottom where I had a good view.
from Wikipedia
The Mosedale Viaduct carried the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway over Mosedale Beck until its closure in 1972.
Building work on the viaduct began in 1862, and the first test train crossed it in 1864. It is made of stone and has 12 arches & was built single-track but was extended to the north in 1900 to accommodate two tracks. Since the structure was widened, three of the piers have been reinforced in concrete.
Despite the line suffering heavy losses in the 1950s and being earmarked for closure in Beeching’s 1963 report, the Penrith-Keswick passenger service survived until 1972.
In 1997, the BR Property Board agreed not to demolish the Viaduct as a proposal to reinstate the line as far as Keswick is being progressed with some political support.

 Mosedale Viaduct.

I climbed up out of the valley following a fence line and was able to step back into the field and rejoin the official public footpath. It continued south passing the property of Highgate where there were plenty of new lambs in the fields. At Highgateclose I decided to leave the field path and head east through a gate to join the access track to the property of Lobbs about 1 km to the south.

Bridge & path over the railway.
Before the property entrance I went through a gate to continue on the path which is a bridleway. They sign says it could be impassable to horses in wet weather. I last came this way in 2003 on a backpacking trip and still remember the horrible wet moss I had to cross. I continued south and even though the weather has been dry for a long time the ground was still very wet.
I could see a gate up ahead but a path marker post took me away from it and over the river out into boggy land. I managed to rejoin the official path and followed it as best I could cross Sandbed Moss. The old map calls it Flaska Common. In wet weather this route would be very unpleasant. Thankfully I reached the Old Coach Road without incident and turned left for a short way.

 On the Old Coach Road.
My next objective is Great Dodd and the path would take me around to the east to Groove Beck Fold. I decided to take a shortcut and head straight up the spur which wasn't too steep. At the top I followed a minor path which eventually joined the main path towards the fell summit. I could see a walker up ahead and overtook her shortly afterwards. There were also two young men with mountain bikes who were riding up ahead. When they got off to push and I was able to catch them up and have a short chat. I reached Great Dodd in lovely still, warm weather but the views were quite hazy.

 Cyclists on Great Dodd.

 Cyclists on Great Dodd.
To the east is a minor summit with a stone shelter so I headed for it before returning back to where I'd come. I descended on the steep path down towards Calfhow Pike. There were plenty of people around now but I soon left the main path to descend easily down to Mosedale Beck. I follow the path down to Rowantree Fold, which is a stone sheepfold.

 Rowantree Fold
The route from here is extremely wet even with the recent dry weather. I reached the Old Coach Road and turned right to follow it back towards the route I'd taken earlier. I decided to avoid Sandbeds Moss and turned off the track at Barbary Rig to head north east across Barbaryrigig Moss. Part way I found a faint path and followed it fairly easily to Caral Beck.

A short way on I regained and the path that I'd walked on earlier. Remembering the problem of the diversion market near Lobbs I ignored that route and headed straight for the gate I'd originally seen. It was a much better way and through the gate I descended to the Lobbs track. I continued north and didn't bother with the field path and followed the road back to Wallthwaite. I was now on my original route and followed it back to the car.
Garage Bridge.
back to  my
home page