The Journey approaches Carlisle

Our route towards Carlisle over the past few days, has been in two halves.
The first half was the ascent and descent over Shap. We mostly followed the Miller’s Way, which was named after John Carr who traversed this route to Carlisle before starting his factory manufacturing Carr’s Water biscuits. The majority of the Way is

The Shap crossing
The Shap crossing
well marked, stony and wide and very reminiscent of the West Highland Way. The path is never very far away from the A6 and towards Shap the railway line surprisingly makes an appearance. The hills are majestic though seemed, to us, a little bleak as the skies were overcast. On the way down we followed the River Lowther. As wet approached Penrith we entered the grand Lowther estate founded by Sir Hugh de Louther in 1283.
Lowther castle
Lowther castle
This contains a fairytale castle, its own estate church and family Mausoleum and acres of parkland. The castle and estate is now open to the public and very nice it is too. The most famous Earl of Lowther was another Hugh (1857-1944) who was known as the ‘yellow earl’. Yellow was the colour of the Lowther flag and all his carriages and cars were yellow. He was the first president of the AA giving them the distinctive yellow colour.
The second half of our journey took in the Eden valley. As we were blessed with sunshine, the contrast with the bleakness of the Shap hills was immediate. Part of our path was by the side of the river
Lacy's caves
Lacy’s caves
and we passed Lacy’s caves. These are artificial caves 6-chambered inter-linked, excavated by Lt Col Samuel Lacy in the eighteenth century. One idea (given to us by a fellow sight-seer) was that he paid someone to dress up as a cave man to startle his guests. Another idea was as an entertainment venue. A third was as a wine store. Whatever their original use they are certainly well worth a visit. Further along, the route passes through bluebell woods and for us, was boggy.
Last Sunday we were very well received by the congregation of the Border Kirk (in Carlisle, even though we had not yet walked to
Border Kirk
Border Kirk
Carlisle) They were having one of their thrice yearly Communion services for Easter, and we felt very privileged to share in the worship with them. Their minister David Pitkeathley, was most welcoming, Janice looked after us very well and the congregation very generous in their support of the project. We came away feeling uplifted and ready for the last week of walking.
As always many people have encouraged us on our way, stopping and talking with us and giving us donations. So Hi to Peter the probation officer who helped us out with a lift from Shap; Peter we met on Kendal station; Paul and Sheena met in Lowther caravan site; Darren, Adam and Ian who gave us a rousing cheer near Maybergh Henge; Jan in Penrith near the bus station; Sarah from Ravenbridge met at Langwathby bridge; Paul the postie also met at Langwathby; Jim and Peter (St Helen’s Ramblers) and Mandy, Clare and Rosie, Lucy and Peter all met at Lacy’s caves; Anne and Jane in Kirkoswald village shop; Frances walking her dog in Coombs Woods; Gary and Christine (with the bike) all met on the Settle to Carlisle train; Terence, who rescued us when the train had failed; Pat and Jean the walkers met near Wethereal. Thank you to each and every one of you, for giving us encouragement and interest.
Nancy
This week’s statistics
Amount raised so far Online £883 Offline £ 2928.05 Total £3811.05 (we have had more promised but cannot count it yet!)
Miles walked this week 60 total so far 608
Kissing gates 18
This week’s Scrabble Scores Nancy 3 John 1

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