A walk up Muncaster Fell
This was to be a relatively relaxing day's walk, based on a a walk in "Walks from Ratty" by Alfred Wainwright. Ratty is the nickname for the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. We started the day by parking in the car park at Muncaster Castle, (which is itself a nice day out). From the car park we walked along Fell Lane, past Muncaster Tarn, and onto Muncaster Fell. The path marked on the map passes 40 metres below the summit, but we felt it was compulsory to visit it! This detour involved walking through bracken, and past a rotting sheep. From the summit, there was a good view all round – up Eskdale, out to sea, and over Sellafield (which also makes for an interesting day out).
From the summit we returned to the path, which is well defined, along to Ross's Camp. This is actually a stone table, which was apparently set up by the Victorians. The date on it would certainly bear this out!
We continued along the (boggy and peaty) path to Rabbit How. the plan at this point had been to walk down to Muncaster Head, and along the path below Muncaster Fell, but this seemed a little boring, and we had plenty of time, so we carried on to Eskdale green station. We looked at the timetable for the train, and saw that we had just missed one, and there was a fair wait until the next one. For some reason we decided to walk along the road to Irton Road station, but this did mean we got to go past a Post Office which handily sold ice creams! We ate our lunch and decided what to do while we waited for the train. Having read about Dalegarth Force in several books, we decided we'd have enough time for a visit, so we took the train to Dalegarth Station. The path though the woods is unmissable, but it is narrow and slippy in places.
On the way back to the station, I thought it would be better to go back a different way, over the stepping stones marked on the map. When we arrived at them however, the water was about 6 inches over the top of them, so we had to double back, and follow our original route to the station. This gave us enough time for a drink and a snack, before the last train of the day departed to take us to Muncaster Mill. On this particular journey, we were in an open carriage at the front of the train, which meant that we got some sun, but we also got some wind and soot!
From Muncaster Mill the path rose and passed over the end of Muncaster Fell, leading us back to the car.