Fifteen brave souls arrived at the Blue Gate crossroads above Caldbeck for Cumbria LDWA group’s first walk of 2014; which represented a great start to the year!  The gathering included 11 group members; new member, Angela and three guests, Gill, Ann and Jane.  Clare was leading in Louise’s stead due to a knee injury.  Although slightly overcast, there were still fine views of the Caldbeck fells (High Pike and Carrock Fell) and the Solway Plain.  


Initially, a short stretch of rough and boggy ground led us to Faulds Brow, one of the few Wainwright Outliers in the Northern Lakeland area.  The route turned south, via the hamlet of Whelpo to reach the Cumbria Way beneath High Pike.  At Nether Row, we parted company with the Cumbria Way to follow a lane and field paths down to Hesket Newmarket, a village with well renowned pub and microbrewery.  It being too early in the day for the imbibing of fine ales, we had coffee on the green.  One of the features of this walk was the abundance of mud and the section from Hesket Newmarket down to the River Caldew footbridge was no exception.  Once over the Caldew, the route picked up the Cumbria Way again and continued to Sebergham Bridge to re-cross the Caldew.  A short (very muddy) section led up to the church of Sebergham, St Mary, where lunch was enjoyed in the churchyard.  The church consists of chancel, nave and tower (added in 1825) and one bell.  Restoration work has been undertaken on the church over the centuries but the exact date of its construction is not known.  As we left the church, the sun appeared, as forecast, making for pleasant walking.


Continuing on the Cumbria Way, the route passed over beautiful Bell Bridge and alongside the Caldew, which was lively after the heavy rainfall of the previous week.  At Bog Bridge(which has been recently replaced following flood damage) our route left the Cumbria Way for the final time and headed up to Welton village on a permissive path and lane, passing the church of St James, Welton, built in 1873 as a chapel of ease for Sebergham St Mary.  The route left Welton by means of another permissive path.  A pleasant woodland section and farmland led to the edge of Chalkplains Wood.  Rather than taking the difficult and undefined route through the wood, an extremely muddy lane (the last one of many) led to the main road above Goose Green.  A lengthy section of road walking (with a ‘sting in the tail’ uphill section) led us back to the start at Blue Gate cross roads.