Keep safe!

Keep safe!
You are responsible for your own safety and that of your dog. The walks listed in this blog are not detailed guides. Plan your route! Click the landrover image for safety advice from Bowland Pennine MRT.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Keswick to Lodore, Derwentwater

Cumbria feels like a second home at the moment, and despite the cost of diesel we headed off to Keswick this morning for a wander along the shores of Derwentwater and a trip on one of the Launches that circle the lake.

Our walk began at the Keswick landing stages along the well trodden path to Friars Crag. Bearing left, we crossed grassy fields before joining a woodland path which continued alongside the lake. The path and lake shore often blurred giving the dog plenty of opportunities for paddling. Much of the route was well fenced off from adjoining fields and the busy Borrowdale Road, and had had it not been a busy bank holiday Monday, the dog would have been pretty much off the lead throughout.

We passed the jetty at Ashness Gate, continuing to the Lodore Jetty, only to find that services were cancelled due to "low water levels" (what a difference a few weeks of sunshine makes). We retraced our steps, along with many others, to Ashness where we just squeezed on to the Launch for a very choppy cruise back to Keswick. We pitied the 30 or so people who were left at Hawse End as the boat was too full to take any more passengers in the high winds!

Overall, this is a great walk for dogs. No stiles to cross and off lead opportunities for much of the route.

Click here for the Keswick Launch website

Doggy rating 8/10

The wilds of Turton Moor

We gave Roddlesworth a rest yesterday and decided instead to take a blustery trip around Turton Moor. The walk was a wild one, with rarely a soul in site and only the faintest of footpaths at times. At all times though, we were only a short walk from either the well trodden path that marks the Witton Weavers Way or the roads leading from Cadshaw to Belmont.

Our walk began at the United Utilities Car Park at Slipper Lowe, Roddlesworth Woods. Crossing the road, we took the path through fields signed "Lions Den" to the well trodden path leading steeply upwards between Darwen Moor and Turton Moor. The views from the top towards Winter Hill and the Lancashire coast to the west, and to the Pennine moors in the east, were spectacular.

Descending towards Cadshaw, we crossed over a stile on the right of the path, over a new stretch of fencing on to open moorland. Our route followed a faint path alongside the fence and through a number of ruined farmsteads, before we caught fleeting glimpses of Entwistle Reservoir through the wooded valley below.

We continued around Turton Moor, passing close to Charters Moss Plantion, before rejoining the Witton Weavers Way, and a good track, near to Pasture House Farm. The track led us back above Belmont Reservoir and back to our starting point.

Almost all of the walk crosses Access Land and consequently the dog was on the lead throughout. He wasn't bothered though, and was suitably tired by the end. The walk took us about an hour and a half, and involved several stiles over which I had to lift the dog. Not the greatest dog walk in the world but enjoyable for Dogs Dad none the less.

Click here for a rather featureless Google map. You will need an OS map, and a compass if you're undertaking this in bad weather.

Doggy rating 5/10

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A short walk from Devil's Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale

Devil's bridge, at Kirkby Lonsdale, is a mecca for bikers but also provided a nice spot (on a quiet day) for the dog to have a good run around on the stony "beach" beside the river Lune followed by a riverside walk through the Mill Brow Nature Reserve. Visit on a bank holiday Monday at your peril!

Our short walk began by the bridge, where we spend a good half an hour on the stony beach by the river whilst the dog chased various sticks and destroyed (through constant pawing) the carrier bag that housed the many doggy treats we'd bought at the Animal Emporium in the town. The river was shallow and fast running where we camped out, but there were some deep pools which were being enjoyed by other four legged friends.

We followed the obvious footpath beside the river, which led us past football pitches below the town and the Mill Race behind the church.

Short but nice! Click here for Google map

Lunch was had at the Highwayman Inn at Burrow. The food was good and the dog was welcome on the Garden Terrace. Probably not a good place to visit after your walk if it's muddy or wet!

Doggy rating 7/10

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A weekend in Grasmere

"Random Barking" is the term we use to describe the dog's unpredictable periods of barking for no apparent reason, probably because he's heard a car door shut half a mile away and thinks a doggy treat is about to arrive at the front door. "Random Barking" has occurred quite a lot recently, often late in the evening or early morning, when Dogs Mum and Dad are attempting to sleep.

It was then with some trepidation that we set off to stay at the Red Lion Hotel in Grasmere last weekend, on our first visit to a dog friendly hotel. Before arrival we had a trip to the Western Lakes, taking in the little Railway at Eskdale and a short walk and a run around the woods at the nearby Stanley Ghyll. We reached Grasmere late in the afternoon and after checking in the dog had a good sniff round his new surroundings, clearly finding some good smells to keep him entertained for a while.

We ate in the Lamb Inn, which is adjacent to the hotel. The dog was made very welcome and offered a few treats and water, and Dog's mum and dad enjoyed a few drinks in the bar.

Night time soon came and the dog didn't disappoint. After about 10 minutes, and a brief spell of Random Barking as residents drifted back to their rooms, the dog was firmly stationed on his lead next to the bed, under orders to be quiet! Happily, he stayed that way and soon adjusted to his new surroundings, giving a peaceful remainder of our stay.

Our second evening was spent al-fresco in the Ash Cottage Hotel, which was virtually deserted following the afternoon's thunderstorms.

There were several options for short walks around Grasmere, which is lovely at dog waking up time around 6.30am. We took in a short early morning walk up the road towards Easedale Tarn and round the woods at the back of Butharlyp How, footpaths alongside the river and a lovely path alongside Grasmere itself, which was fenced from adjacent fields so fine for off-lead walking.

We also visited Grizedale Forest, which was great dog walking territory. A few words of advice though, watch for mountain bikers and watch out for humans flying through the air (they certainly gave the dog a fright) as they traverse the high ropes and decent from aerial runways which form the "Go Ape" attraction at Grizedale.

Fortunately the weather was great so hoteling with the dog was fine, but it could have been difficult had we returned wet and bedraggled. The Red Lion itself was comfortable but expensive for our needs, which didn't really include the leisure facilities on offer. We'll no doubt return to stay in Grasmere but a simple cottage would probably be a better option for us.

Click here for the Red Lion website

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Haslingden Grane and Calf Hey Reservoir

We were up early this morning, missing the rain that now seems to have set in, for a three to four mile trip round Haslingden Grane.

We intended to park at the United Utilities visitor centre car park at Clough Head but since the car park was still gated and locked (note it closes at 4.00pm) we had to make do with a layby a short way up the road.

Wandering back to the car park wasn't particular pleasant owing to the vast amounts of discarded rubbish lining the A6177 Grane Road, but it was soon over with and we joined our intended footpath, leading just to the left of the visitor centre. The route was well signed "Rossendale Way" and lead us through moorland, alongside some small coppices, and back down to the road. Sheep were everywhere, and the dog was less than impressed with being kept on the lead.

Crossing the road and joining another signed track just to the left, we passed through fields of cattle which, fortunately, were not in the slightest bit interested in the dog. Here, the walk became more interesting, passing through the many ruined buildings which line the valley, reminders of the Grane's past existence, which included illegal Whiskey Distilling, before the valley was flooded to provide water for the growing industrial towns.

The dog too enjoyed the second half of the walk, with no sheep or cattle in sight, he was able to run through the woodland off lead, seemingly sniffing every blade of grass along the way.

The final part of the walk led us round Calf Hey Reservoir, still following the Rossendale Way signs, before heading down and over the dam and back up the signed footpath to our starting point.

It took us about an hour and a quarter to complete the walk but we didn't stop for long along the way. The dog had to be on the lead for much of the route, as we passed fields of sheep and cattle, and crossed Access Land. The off lead spots more than made up for it though, and it's certainly a spot we'll return to.

Click here for google map

Doggy rating 6/10