'The Westmorland High Way' with Mark Richards
Written by Peter Burgess
Thursday, 27 October 2011
- Running Time: 57mins
- PAL, Colour, Stereo
- 16:9 widescreen
- Full colour, 16-page route guidebook included
- Directed: Steve Lord
- Written by: Mark Richards
As a child growing up, I was always proud to be Lancastrian and I still am. On one of my earliest trips to Lakeland we stopped at the summit of Wrynose Pass in my friend's Volkswagon camper. I guess the year must've been about 1979, but it was the monolith of limestone near the summit of the motor road that caught my interest. Seeing LANCASHIRE emblazened across it was obvious to a child (see left), but it was the L, W and R embedded in the grass that had me intrigued. "They stand for Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmorland", I was told by my friend's father. With hindsight, it's the first recollection I have of taking note of that word. I'd been to Kendal and of course driven through the old county of Westmorland on many an occasion, but this piece of limestone at the summit of the infamous pass has become somewhat of a pilgrimage point for me - a kind of qiblah whilst I'm exiled in London!
The name of the old county of Westmorland is less well-known than some, but its landscape will be familiar. From 1889 to 1974 the area existed as an administrative county, but in that latter year was absorbed into the new county of Cumbria along with Cumberland in the west and Lancashire 'north of the sands'. In this new video, Mark Richards takes you on a fantastic exploration of the lesser known dales in the east starting with Bretherdale, before embarking on three rapturous days taking in the lofty heights at the head of Great Langdale including the wonderful mountains of Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes.
With more than 30 years' experience as a walker, illustrator and writer, Mark's books include guides to the Cotswold Way, Cornwall's North Coast Path, the Offa's Dyke Path, the Peak District and Hadrian's Wall. He has nearly finished his eight part Lakeland Fellranger series. He lives on the fringes of Lakeland with his dear wife and presents a monthly fell-walking slot on Radio Cumbria and is involved in many regional organisations and campaigns.
Guided by Mark Richards, the consummate fell-walker who counted AW as friend, this film concisely defines an original week’s walking holiday in two parts. The opening sequence is a three-day journey, drawing you from the eastern edge of the National Park through ten gorgeousl Lakeland valleys, destination - the fabulous mountain sanctuary at the head of Great Langdale.
There, at the ultimate ‘high divide’ and westernmost limit of old Westmorland, Mark embarks upon the thrilling second phase of his High Way adventure, climbing the dizzy heights, there’s romance and drama in every step. An invigoration to walk, an inspiration to watch. For any person with an appreciation of these fells or with a longing to see distant mountains when absent from them, then this DVD will bring a spell to your TV. Like Mark's last venture onto the screen, the narration is good, always enthusiastic and this time with its undivided attention on the Lakeland Fells, I've been moved to give it my firm seal of approval. Once more, with the fantastic skills of Steve Lord, the mountains are brought into your home with such panache and with vivid clarity. Incredibly the weather conditions and clarity present Lakeland at its absolute best.
From my own perspective, as someone who knows Lakeland intimately, this route is a real breath of fresh air. For anyone who hasn't ventured to Cumbria before, then it presents a real adventure. Firstly there's the westwards walk in, culminating in the arrival in Great Langdale for 3 more days of mountain exploration. For anyone unfamiliar with the Lakes then this enlightening route is a glory to behold. In all honesty, these are the kind of routes that need to be created in the unique way that our very own John Paterson has celebrated his 'Unfrequented Wainwright Routes'. There is a real need to educate people away from the regular tourist honey pots, onto lesser byways and this is where 'The Westmorland HighWay' excels. Of course, the route could be tackled as part of a week long sojourn in Cumbria, but quite equally could be completed in parts during day walks. All that's left to say is, 'Forget Everest Base Camp for another year. Instead drive into Westmorland Services and make your approach to Bowfell 'base camp' beneath the tumbling scree slope of Pike o'Stickle. There might be a lot less ice and altitude on this adventure, but it's £2400 cheaper!' COMPETITION NOW CLOSED - SEE BELOW. Win a copy of this DVD by answering the following question and forwarding it to
Q: Name the 3 counties that formed what is now modern day Cumbria and still identifiable at the summit of Wrynose Pass?
A winner be selected randomly from one of the correct entries.
DVD WINNER: Angie Espin wins the DVD. Her name was pulled from the bag by Lorraine Barks on the summit of Dow Crag recently. Well done to all those who entered with a chance to win and to Angie in particular for being selected. CONGRATULATIONS. Of course the three counties were Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmorland. PLEASE KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR FUTURE COMPETITIONS COMING SOON!
It's a winner!
The adventurer's approach to the mountains giving a unique interpretation to some of Lakeland's classics. Peter Burgess
We have found these DVDs brilliant. The narrator was so clear. We were so dubious to buy this when we were in Ripon Information Centre but are now very glad we did. N Dobson, UK.
- If you would like to purchase this title then visit Compass Films or retailers to get a copy. Mention the OFC when ordering!
- Mark Richards' Great Mountain Days' and the 'Lakeland Fellranger' series can be purchased from www.cicerone.co.uk
- Music from this film can be purchased fromhttp://www.cumaramusic.com
"I love the Lake District. Went for first time 20 months ago. OFC website is the best thing I've found, along with all the members' sites. My kids at school log on every morning as well." Sue Sullivan