An Out of Forest Experience 22nd January 2023

Led by Pat.

After a very wet and muddy recce hopes were high that following a week of severe frosts firming up the ground, today's walk would be easier, albeit the thaw had set in the previous day.

10 hopefuls gathered at Cliburn Moss car park on this calm dry January morning. A short climb took us up to Whinfell forest where we were soon sliding and crunching our way around the perimeter of Centre Parcs.
The bright lights beckoned as we passed the main entrance but the group weren't tempted and continued along the path with the reward of spotting a lone deer on the skyline.
Soon out of the wood we encountered what could have been a very muddy stretch but thanks to the frost this was very navigable today. The prospect of coffee at Cliburn kept everyone moving and we soon reached the village. Our forward route should have been over field but due to a new housing development this isn't possible so we stayed on the road to reach our coffe stop at the church.

After admiring a colourful display of aconites coffee was taken in or around the church. A further road section followed where a lone white Egret was spotted and more fields and stiles brought us to Morland.
On route, thanks to Paul we stopped to check out Powdonnet Well with a modern standing stone alongside. He was able to give us a brief history of this local monument. Shortly afterwards we passed Morland Church which has the only Anglo Saxon tower in Cumbria and it being a Sunday was holding a service.

Moving along it was back to muddy fields and slippery miles to reach Great Strickland and a chance to check out our final church of the day. And yes you've guessed it this was our lunch stop.
From here it was a short hop over fields and through a much depleted Melkinthorpe wood to reach the cars, the final section being along the disused Clifton junction to Kirkby Stephen railway line.

14 low level miles on a calm dry day. Let's hope that has set the standard for our future 2023 walks.