The Limestone Fringe
Away from Lakeland’s central, more well known peaks, away from Birketts and Wainwrights lie the softer folds of limestone. The escarpments of Farleton Knot, Arnside Knot and the three Scars, Cunswick, Whitbarrow and Scout are not so challenging as many more documented hills, but are often empty of other walkers and can still provide that ‘on top of the world’ sensation. All are on my ‘favourite walks’ list.
For a quick, steep ascent of Whitbarrow, take the ‘scar’ sides of Witherslack and Cartmel. A good heart work out. Escarpments though, have two sides, and as sharply as the drop over one side, on the other contour lines spread in well spaced folds.
Lyth Valley was left by the glacier which carved a way between Whitbarrow and Brigsteer. The River Gilpin flows down and joins the Kent before it wanders on to Milnthope Sands and here is the start for the slow stroll up to Whitbarrow. Opposite the Lyth Valley Hotel, SD452 896, is a convenient layby with an inviting footpath leading away from the road. The soft, evening sunshine highlighting the long awaited green of a very late spring.
Garlic boarded the footpaths where primroses, cowslips and wild strawberry flowers had pushed through to join the budding ash and larch.
Out of the woodland and through the larch plantation the sharp edge of Scout Scar stretches across the valley to the east.
Gain height and the characteristic limestone breaks through in an ad hoc white sculpture, while Kentmere loiters in the background.
This route circuits the northern end of Whitbarrow and the brilliant evening silhouetted the Langdale range so well I almost expected someone to etch on their names.
The northern edge of our circuit brings in the little community of Crosthwaite, still dominated by the church and highlighting a recent walk from Crook over Lords Lot one blustery day.
We had a bit of a battle with some gorse bushes due to too much talk and insufficient navigation. Of course the best way to end an evening walk has to be food and drink. Try the Hare and Hounds at Levens.