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Last modified: March 02, 2004

Penrith - Kendal - Shap - Appleby

Penrith is the Northern Gateway to the English Lake District  and the Nations largest National Park,  of which the first notions were nurtured by William Wordsworth in 1810. Famous for his poems plus a travel guide he wrote the area in which he lived.

It was over a 150 years before a National Park was established long after his words had attracted artist's such as Turner, Constable and Gainsborough who put the beauty of this perspective on canvas followed by the sketches of Alfred Wainwright who the entire North Country area.

We leave Penrith located on the M6 Motorway via Eamont Bridge where we can visit Brougham Castle at the south of Penrith at  was built by the Roman General Agricola in the 1st Century AD and another was built in the 12th Century which was derelict when the Countess of Pembroke a Lady Anne Clifford of Appleby a Royalist restored and fortified it during the Civil War in the 17th Century.

Quiet rural accommodation is available at Newby End Farm in Newby, just off the M6 Motorway south of Penrith, where B&B, Self Catering and small Touring Camp Site can be found. An ideal location to explore the Pennines, Eden Valley or the North Eastern Lakes.

A further short run south into the Eden Valley is the Mayburgh Earthworks where King Authurís Round Table is open to view, a prehistoric mound some 15 feet (5m) high covers an area of more than an acre. At this juncture we road to Appleby and take a quieter router through Cliburn and Bolton.

Appleby is a stop on the 19th Century (Carlisle to Settle) Railroad, still in operation by modern commuter trains and occasionally restored Steam Locomotives, being popular with steam rail enthusiasts. The scenic route to Carlisle is renowned for its views especially across the Ribblehead Viaduct which has also to be viewed from below to comprehend the Victorian Engineering.

Appleby has an Annual Horse Fair which has been in existence since 1685 is held in early June, originally a festival of nomad traveling people there is now a strong mix of local horse traders involved in the celebrations and country activities.

The castle at the head of the village was fortified during the Civil War as a Royalist refuge by Lady Anne Clifford who when besieged in 1648 resisted the Roundheads till they ran out of food. Jack Robinson a Secretary to the Treasury lived in the White House on the main Street, he was  impatient and refused to tolerated delays, hence the saying 'Before you can say Jack Robinson'

We leave Appleby turning south to Orton rising onto Orton Scar with panoramic views of Beacon Hill and Shap Fell and the Pennies and Cross Fell to the East. Orton is a quiet hill farming village, an excellant location for Hill Walkers who traverse Orton scar onto Beacon Hill where locals maintained a fire beacon to warn the surrounding country side of Scottish Raiders.

Driving on back towards Kendal we pass through Tebay on the M6 Motorway, accommodation is nearby towards Kirby Stephen at the Kings Head Hotel in Ravenstonedale. A quiet rural place bordering on the Yorkshire Dales and often referred to as the Forgotten Cumbria.

Our journey is continues taking the minor road from Tebay, crossing the M6 Motorway via Grayrigg to Kendal,  the Southern Gateway to the English Lake District  National Park. Kendal is just off the M6 Motorway on the A6 Highway its predecessor, Kendal is built with Grey Stone rather than the Green Slate found elsewhere in the Lake District.

There was a prehistoric Fort  on Castle Howe and the Roman's built a camp by the river Kent south of the present town, the later Norman Castle which is now in ruins was the birthplace of Henry VIII's sixth wife Catherine Parr.

The A6 route north rises to 1,397 feet onto Shap Fell with many car parks with viewing point along the way then drops into the village of Shap a one street hill farming town which is often cut off and the road closed in the winter. There was an Abbey here in the 12th Century, which is now in ruins with only the tower still standing.

Continuing north towards Penrith the Northern Gateway to the English Lake District  National Park we pass the Lowther Wildlife Park, a Wooded Parkland Sanctuary centered around the old Castle. This is an interesting place for a family day out with Penrith also on the M6 Motorway which has wound it's way from the south on Britain and and continues to Glasgow in Scotland.

 

Photos and Maps are to follow

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