An afternoon in Eden26th May 2009
May this year has brought us a right mix of weather. Saying that, it seems that its bank holiday weekends didn’t fare two badly and the start of the month saw me head to Appleby-in-Westmorland for a spot of wandering about the Upper Eden Valley in pleasant weather. The countryside, a mixture of the pastoral and the rough stuff, was as Eden-like as the weather. The route followed took in a number of public footpaths and I even got to fit in a snippet of the Pennine Way too, all the while keeping the amount of road walking to a minimum.
The idea of reaching High Cup Nick was in the back of my mind but, due to delays to my journey, that’s where it has had to stay for now. If a delay to my departure weren’t enough, a malfunctioning train really finished the prospect of it happening on my first visit to the area. It’s probably just as well not to overdo things on a first outing so I am far from bitter and, given the day that I enjoyed, being like that only would be a display of ungratefulness. The Upper Eden Valley is an area through which I had passed without stopping on various Anglo-Scottish journeys, so a visit was long overdue.
When I got to Appleby, blue skies were very much in evidence, but wads of cloud were obstructing the sun from time to time too, a mere triviality. The exit from urban confines was swift and getting over the A66 was no trouble either; I simply walked straight across the dual carriageway, not at all as foreboding as it sounds. Public rights of way conveyed me without a bout of confusion all the way to Flakebridge with only a short spell on tarmac. Field crossing was followed by woodland walking through Flakebridge Wood before more fields were traversed without too much perturbation of the livestock, sheep in places with cattle in others and a mixture elsewhere, or they of me. There were empty fields too, but the ground, except for the boggy stuff around Keisley Beck, remained sound as far as Keisley.
Passing Keisley, not at all a big spot and a hamlet really, I kept on with the public footpath shuffle until I reached the Pennine Way. It was at this point that I started thinking about fitting plans to fit the available time. It was enough to get me as far as Peeping Hill and allow for a bit of poking around on the access land. The reason for my probing was to see if there was a quick way down to the floor of High Cup Gill but I was going the wrong way about it so I returned to the Pennine Way in the interests of time. Looking at a map while spewing out these words, I can see better possibilities but they must await a future visit, perhaps with a newer map that actually shows the extent of the access land hereabouts.
Unobstructed sunshine was to accompany me as I returned to Appleby. While I did largely reprise my outbound route, I stayed on the Pennine Way to reach the road passing through Dufton. With an eye on the time, I skirted Dufton but followed part of the road to Appleby before making use of a public footpath returning me to Flakebridge. It had by now become a wonderful evening for photographic exploits so I just had to stop and use the opportunities, though without overstaying my welcome. Beyond Flakebridge, I heard the sort of hubbub about which I often don’t care so much but it was reassuring this time around: road traffic noise. It was coming from the A66 and told me that I was making good time. As it happened, I was at my train station with maybe fifteen minutes to spare, never a bad thing, but my progress had been steady rather than rushed, a travesty given the evening that was. The visual delights weren’t done with my train taking me past plenty of gloriously lit hill country before it reached Leeds. Two changes of train later and an untroubled journey home was completed, an appropriate end to a good day out in the countryside.
Return train trip from Macclesfield to Appleby-in-Westmorland (the station gets called just Appleby for some reason) with changes in Manchester and Leeds.
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