Lonf Meg's erratic daughters
Long Meg, Little Salkeld Mill and Lacy Caves
My move to Cumbria nearly eight years ago from lowland West Oxfordshire was the fulfilment of a long held resolve not merely to wander the high fells, but because I held a passion and admiration for the greater countryside of Cumbria. From an early age the first books I really had contact with were the nature stories of Romany and Raq. Hence it comes as no surprise that a walk in Romany Country holds a rich treasury of magic moments in Long Meg's erratic Daughters any season. Rev G. Bramwell Evens, alias Romany of the BBC, regularly stayed at Old Parks Farm during the 1920s and 1930s. In 2001 Terry Waite unveiled a plaque to his memory in the Methodist Church, provided by the Romany Society. The plaque later moved to the site of his ashes at Old Parks, includes the phrase "He loved birds and trees and flowers and the wind on the heath", their evidence is all apparent on this walk. "Out with Romany" was the first regular and hugely popular naturalist series on BBC radio, where he was able to share his bond with the natural world with children.
The Methodist Central Hall in Carlisle was built during his time in ministry and contains another tribute to the work of a man who touched millions.
Enter St Michael's churchyard, the notice advising horse-riders to stay on the paved path an unusual request at such a moment. However, the path through Addingham churchyard is a bridleway, I know of no other instance where riders my formally approach a church door without reproach! Search in vain for the village or even a vestige hamlet of Addingham the medieval settlement, located down by the Eden, is a 'lost village'. The church stands at the centre of a very large graveyard abundant with handsome tombstones to the good people of greater Glassonby. The gorgeoustoned sandstone of the church simply glows in the sun.
In spring the scene is further enhanced with native narcissus, the daffs simply flood the well-tended lawns.
From the church porch wander on with the paved path south to slip through the metal gate and into the horse pasture, currently two ponies graze the electric fenced paddock – not without concern is there a notice directed at dog owners! Advance to the Maughanby farm-road, crossing by the facing gates. The first steps in the next field are currently muddied by recent manure spreading operations. Keep the wall close right along an unploughed margin, bear right at conifers via the hand-gate entering a confined path, from where the westward views of a Lakeland fell skyline stir the heart, from High Pike to Loadpot Hill with so much in between. At the end of the conifer break a hand-gate opens to another fenced field margin with what at first glance appears to be young sprouts, but when looked at more earnestly proves to be nineinch high conifers… it then struck me this is the farm I bought my Christmas tree from last year!
A hand-gate leads into a pasture field keeping the wall close right advance through successive gates, now with woodland left. Spot the bizarre ash tree close right as if grafted to a mighty bulbous burr at its base! Dairy Friesians frequent this and the next field, which is entered via a cattle-muddied hand-gate in the fence corner.
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© Mark Richards 2008