Wednesday 16 April 2014

#CountryKids A hike from Elterwater to Cathedral Quarry

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
Life Unexpected

The good thing about having family up to visit is that you get to go and repeat some of your favourite walks! Today it was a glorious sunny one in Cumbria very different from the last time we went to Elterwater so perfect for a 3 generation plus dog walk. We were up and out fairly early in order to get a space in the National Trust car park at Elterwater. The walk (estimated 3 hour 50 minutes) starts from here with a very well looked after path:

Elterwater walk

We hadn't got very far along this section when the three children decided that throwing gravel into the river was a great way to start a walk:

River Brathay at Elterwater

A bit further on my daughter went looking for cray fish over the side of a stone bridge:

looking for crayfish

There were plenty of things to distract grown ups as well such as evidence of historical coppicing:

A coppiced tree

There were plenty of signs of spring beauties to come with bluebells already starting to flower amongst the wild garlic: 

Bluebells starting to flower

At the minute the local school is having an art trail around the area and we spotted several pieces of children's art work on gateposts and bridges. If we had known in advance we could have got a leaflet:

Langdale Art Trail

Whilst the children had stone skimming competitions on the lake I took some time to capture this beautiful location:

At the foot of the lake we had to cross over a bridge to get to the other side of the River Brathay just above Skelwith Force:

Bridge above Skelwith Force

After a short walk through the woods we had to cross some farmland with plenty of sheep and lambs about. Once back in the woods we came across these magical if slightly daunting steps down the hill:

woodland steps

Once safely down these my son raced ahead along the woodland trail:

path through the woods

We then came to Colwith Force:

Colwith Falls

Close to here was one of the many money trees that seem quite common in Cumbria:

money tree

It was then a steep climb up out of the woods to get back to open ground again:

Lakes farm house

It turned out that the farmhouse was now hosting a Tea Garden:

So we headed into the garden to have a refreshing cuppa whilst the children tried out the swing:

garden swing

There was also a Loo with a view outdoor privy that did indeed offer a partial view of the fells! It was a popular little spot and there was plenty of seating available around the garden:

Seating at High Park Tea Gardens

We had to drag ourselves away and head back out up the valley in search of Cathedral Quarry a former slate quarry. It was an adventure to get there involving a scramble up here:

hunting for Cathedral Quarry

When you find the quarry (after passing the take care signs) it doesn't look all that impressive as you approach:

Entrance to Cathedral Quarry

You have to walk in through a low tunnel which has water dripping from the roof:

Tunnel into Cathedral Quarry

Once through this slightly creepy tunnel its a bit of a wow moment:

Inside Cathedral Quarry

Its an incredible man made structure created by the quarrying of slate. If we had taken helmets and torches we could have explored some more of the tunnels! Back into daylight we had a our picnic before heading into Little Langdale valley and crossing over the Slater's Bridge:

crossing Slaters Bridge, Little Langdale

Slaters Bridge, Little Langdale

The children happily spent over half an hour playing around here. Of course some of this was mischief such as finding a muddy hole to stand in:

Standing in a muddy hole

But it mostly revolved around the river and things like finding the best way to the little island below the bridge:

Using stepping stones to an island

My daughter quiet sensibly took off her boots and socks and made most of being able to dabble her toes in the rather chilly beck:

ready for paddling

Almost inevitably 1 out 3 children slipped and got their footwear soaked and maybe predictably my daughter some how ended up soaked to her waist:

soaking wet

Having dried off children as best we could (and made note to carry spare socks!) we headed onward towards The Three Shires pub to warm up and get a restorative drink. On the way we saw this plethora of signs showing just how many places you can get to from there - as long as you choose the right transport:

Signposts in Little Langdale

Our last leg took us back up and over into the main Langdale valley via another footpath:

footpath sign to Elterwater

Its quite a rocky lane down from here which in winter is usually a mini river. It's also officially part of the challenging cycle route. None of us really fancied cycling down here:

Track down to Elterwater

After 6 hours we finally completed our 6.5 mile walk! All a wee bit shattered and in my case mildly sunburnt... A great adventure for all of us.

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