Rails and Ales
The Settle to Carlisle train line is a brilliant way to support a linear walk, reduce your carbon foot print and, I am reliably informed, access several of Yorkshire and Cumbria’s Real Ale.
The stretch along the Eden Valley from Armathwaite is just over 10k, route here, with a mixture of woodland and small country lanes. Hardly high fell but with water logged ground and ‘considerable buffeting’ forecast it was an easy way of getting the dog, and myself, out for some exercise.
We caught the train from Appleby in torrential rain and were quite surprised to be greeted at Armathwaite by a bright sky and even brighter signal box.
We left the station and dropped down to the river by way of the sleepy Armathwaite complete with village store and lovely old letter box. The walk begins by way of Coombs wood with a reminder to be happy!
The last of the Nunnery rapids looked fairly ferocious. My kayaking experience has been on the somewhat more forgiving lakes and a little sea kayaking, I did not fancy being tipped out in this swirling cauldron.
These boots lying on a rock were intriguing, quick Internet search established they were carved by Graeme Mitcheson, take look at his website for more information about this petrified pile of clothes.
Once out of Coombs Wood then there is quite a stretch of road walking but very small roads with little traffic and the sunlight across the valley, created great visual displays and brought out the brightest greens.
Reassuringly there was a group of Ash trees looking healthy and untouched by dieback. How long will they stay that way? With cases already reported in Cumbria things are not very hopeful.
The penultimate section of the walk goes through the park land adjacent to Saffield Hall, not too far from the Eden and consequently just a tad squelchy. But this led us to Kirkoswald and the Ale! Those of you who enjoy a ‘good beer’ will enjoy a pint or three in The Fetherston Arms. My preference was for the ‘real cider’ on the left – though lingering a litter longer than sensible did result in a fairly fast yomp to the station at Lazonby.
So, if like me, you do not know much about railway walks there are guided walks organised by The Friends of Dales Rail and more by Friends of the Settle – Carlisle Line. If you don’t want a guided walk there are loads of ideas. Even the train served up the local Wyvern Ale brewed by the Eden brewery at Brougham.
More pictures here, Cicerone do a good book