A dire forecast, containing that pleasant partnership of gale force winds and rain, did not deter the twelve hardy members who arrived at Roehead above Pooley Bridge, all kitted out and prepared to face the elements.  A short, sharp ascent took us from our parked cars onto the flanks of Heughscar Hill. The rain was persistent at this point and the going soggy underfoot.  Field paths beyond Winder Hall Farm led to the B5320, which we crossed and then continued past the ancient St Michael’s church at Barton, with its impressive vicarage and glebe farm.  A date stone from 1702 can be seen on the farm buildings.  Further field paths led down alongside the River Eamont, which we followed into Pooley Bridge.  A convenient bus shelter there provided an ideal coffee stop opportunity and brief respite from the rain. 


Having refuelled, we ventured out to resume our route, which crossed the Eamont and headed north on the opposite side of the river towards Dalemain, a former manor house with impressive Georgian façade.  A public right of way runs behind the house and continues up the lane connecting Dalemain with the small village of Dacre.  Our route skirted the village, passing Dacre Castle, a fortified tower house, before turning north east over a blustery Loudon Hill.  By this point, the rain had eased and given way to gusty winds, which at times made forward movement challenging!  The next objective was Stainton village, where an appealing tree house on the edge of the village was discounted as a potential lunch site, due to space being somewhat limited!  We pressed on, following a lane, which crossed the A592 and led back down to the River Eamont, where some woods offered a lunchtime shelter. 


After lunch, a fine footbridge enabled us to cross the Eamont and follow its south bank towards Yanwath.  Our elevated position afforded good views of Yanwath Hall, another fortified dwelling constructed during the years of Border warfare.  Our route continued east, passing beneath the West Coast Mainline and M6 motorway, following the river to Eamont Bridge.   A brief photo opportunity presented itself at the site of King Arthur’s Round Table before we headed south along Earl Henry’s Drive into the Lowther Holiday Park.   Beyond the park, the route took us through woodland high above the River Lowther and through the bare trees, we were able to view the ruined Lowther Castle.  Soon we arrived in the estate village of Askham and prepared for the final push over Askham Fell and Heughscar Hill.  As predicted, once beyond the confines of Askham, the wind was howling and the rain made an unwelcome reappearance.  Skirting Heughscar Hill, we reached the track, which would return us to the cars at Roehead.  The lights of Pooley Bridge twinkled in the valley below us.