Kendal – 27th February 2022

Strenuous Leader : Paul                                                    Distance : 11.00 miles

Helsington Barrows walk – This walk allows views of some of the most famous Lake District and surrounding area and a taste of Spring and Summer aspirations. On a good day, not guaranteed in February, you can view the Lakeland Fells, the Langdale Pikes, the Kent estuary and Morecambe Bay, but sadly not Eric’s statue.  We will follow the river Kendal south to the Roman fort and the edge of Kendal where we go east through Scroggs Wood, and south-east to the village of Brigsteer. Here we will head up and along the ridge of Helsington Barrows and Scout Scar past Hodgson’s Leap to descend through Kunswick Scar and east back into Kendal via Kendal Fell.

Leisurely Leader : Malcolm                                   Distance : Just over 7.00 miles

We will leave the leisure centre car park and head up towards Castle Green and then on to Singleton Park via soggy fields, one with cows, and stiles as we head towards Hay Fell.  We will drop down and cross the busy A658 and head towards Laverock and a trail following the course of the River Mint back to Kendal where we dry off and gather our thoughts over a pint or a cuppa.  There is an overall climb of 290 meters.

Easy Leader :  Pam                                         Distance : 5.00 miles

We will make our way from the Leisure Centre along the river as far as Hawes Bridge cross the river and return via fields and bridle paths to the Leisure Centre and the coach to change footwear. We then head into Kendal for a drink of some description. 

NOTES ON THE AREA

Kendal, an affluent town, is the largest in the defunct county of Westmorland, and was formerly an important woollen textile centre, an industry that was founded by John Kemp, a Flemish weaver, in 1331. The town is always bustling, and it remains an important Cumbrian settlement. It is largely built from grey limestone, the local rock.  These days it makes its money from tourism and can be regarded as the gateway to the Lake District. It is also the home of Kendal Mint Cake, the minty sweet confectionery which has been taken on many expeditions because of its high glucose content. Kendal is also involved in the manufacture of pipe tobacco and snuff. The town is full of character with lots of interesting buildings, especially Georgian, with many yards and narrow alleyways which reflect the pattern of development that had evolved by the 18th century. The main artery is Highgate – part of a devilish one-way system – with the wynds and the courtyards linking Highgate with the River Kent.

Kendal, where six bridges cross the river, has been a place of strategic importance since the Romans built a fort, of which little is now visible, to the south of the town. The fort was called Alauna, and seems to have been occupied from AD80 to the 4th century, and would have been built to command the roads to Lancaster, Ambleside, Low Borrow Bridge in the Lune valley, and Brougham.

Kendal Castle, a roughly circular earthwork surrounded by a ditch, stands on a hill just outside the town, and probably dates from the 12th century. Additional features date from the 13th and 14th centuries, when it was the home of the Barons of Kendal and their centre of administration and defence. By the late 16th century, the castle was in an advanced state of decay, and has remained so ever since. However, most of the castle wall survives along with one of its towers. The manor hall was by far the most important building in the castle, and parts of this also remain. Because several footpaths run through the grounds, the castle is open at all times.

The church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity is Cumbria’s largest parish church, and dates from the 13th century, though now it is essentially a Victorian creation, having been significantly altered during restorations that took place between 1850 and 1852. It was built on the site of an earlier church, and has five aisles, two each side of the nave and chancel, and a fine western tower with a peel of 10 bells.

Author Alfred Wainwright was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, but lived in Kendal for fifty years until his death in 1991. He eventually became the town’s borough treasurer, and is renowned for the many books he composed in his unique style about the Lakeland which he loved, as well as other parts of Britain, especially Scotland and Wales. Wainwright had an office in Kendal Town Hall from 1947 to 1967.

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