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The OFC Orrest Head Commemorative Walk

Date & start time: Saturday 5th June 2010, 11 am start at Plumgarth's, Kendal.

Location of Start : Bus stop outside St Mary's Church, Windermere, Cumbria, Uk ( SD 410 989 )

Places visited : Windermere, Orrest Head, Near Orrest, back to St Mary's and the bus.

Walk details : 3.25 mls, 550 ft, 2 hrs 15 mins including a stop on the top.

Highest point : Orrest Head 760 ft - 234 m

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, plus 26 or more members of the OFC

Weather : Sunny and bright if slightly hazy.


 The OFC Orrest Head Centenary Walk

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On the eightieth anniversary of Alfred Wainwright's first visit to the Lakes and to Orrest Head in particular

the Online Fellwalking Club organised a celebratory event which included a walk up this minor but very significant summit.

It was here on Saturday June 7th 1930 that AW first viewed the Lakeland Fells that would change his life forever.

- - - o o o - - -

Members of the Online Fellwalking Club gathering at Plumgarth's Farm Shop and Cafe near Kendal prior to the start of the walk.

People gathered from all over at this easily found location . . .
. . . alongside the main roundabout on Kendal bypass.

Simon and Beth, Neil, John, Richard, Geoff, Neil, Ann and Jo . . . many of the usual people are here already

and there's an air of expectancy about the place as we wait for our transport to arrive.

Peter has organised a goodie bag for everyone.
Mark and Paddy chatting as they wait.

On time, a roar of an old engine is heard and Rosie has arrived . . .

Our transport for today was a 1946 Vintage Leyland Tiger single decker bus

on hire from Cumbria Classic Coaches of Kirby Stephen.

Peter checks the bus tickets for the day.

As organiser of the day out, Peter has the privilege of being the bus conductor too.

Our driver would be Alison from the coach company ( she can be seen below in the red blouse)

Most of our assembled group . . . there were 23 on the bus and 28 in total.

(l to r) Mark, Geoff, Peter, Neil, Jo, Richard, John, Ann, Simon, Beth, Sheena, Alison, Gary, Paddy, Brian, Mick, Mary, Tracy and Barbara.

The dogs . . . Amber, Polly Harry and Bethan, Peter (a human not a dog) and Tim fill the front row.

The ex-Preston Corporation bus has 34 seats, a 7.4 litre diesel engine, 4 speed Crash gearbox and no power steering !

The dash board has a speedo, oil pressure and vacuum gauges, a few switches and that's about it.

All aboard !

The bus had that delightful aroma of nostalgia . . . old varnish and leather . . . just like classic railway trains.

Gary and Sheena settle in at the front, with Tim alongside them ready to enjoy the ride.

Sheena dressed suitably for the warm day.
Myself enjoying the scenery.

Peter hands out the specially produced bus tickets, duly stamped in his ticket machine with today's date.

A Wainwright look alike pipe is being brandished by John as he talks to fellow passengers.

Bethan declined her pipe, found in the goodie bag Peter provided.

Beth collects her ticket for the day.
Simon, her Dad, takes his ticket too.

Our vintage bus takes the old main road through the delightful village of Staverley.

All too soon we reach Windermere and the start of the walk.

Terminus ! is the call as we disembark at St Mary's Church.

The walk up to Orrest Head in one of the best advertised starts of any Lakeland walk.

This was the start point of Alfred Wainwright's first lakeland walk, 80 years ago today.

Following the broad track up through the woods.

It's only a twenty minute walk up to the top on a normal day.


The gate out onto the open top of the fell

holds a memorial stone

to commemorate the gift of Orrest Head

by Mr Arthur Heywood

" to the use of the public for ever "


The final pitched path leads to the summit.
Waiting there for us was fellow club member Dave Brown.

Sheena, Gary and Jo reach the summit on what is a gloriously sunny day.

Most of these are OFC members

but there are a fair number of independent visitors too.

A information map has been installed at the viewpoint for the benefit of visitors to the Lakes.

Looking around, a close up of the distant langdale Pikes at the head of Windermere.

Standing near the slate seat, there's a chance for a summit photo.

Click here or on the photo above for a 360 degree annotated panorama.

- - - o o o - - -


Whilst on the summit Peter made a short speech to outline the significance of the day

and how following his first visit here, Wainwright went on to write his famous illustrated guide books to the fells.

- - - o o o - - -


James (Bell) wanted a full 360 degree photo of the group so we gathered in a circle.

Click here or on the photo to see a full size panorama and James's excellent animated panorama of the group.

James's web site can be found at

[ For those of a nervous disposition, or who are prone to motion-sickness, go easy with the controls ]

Many thanks to James for the opportunity to use his photos here.

This summit will forever symbolise AW's and many other people's first view of the Cumbrian Fells.

- - - o o o - - -

We also observed a period of silence to remember the Whitehaven Shootings earlier this week.

Such an unexpected and tragic event in the lives of the people of West Cumbria.

- - - o o o - - -

Rather than return by the same route we extended the walk by heading down the other side of the summit.

Heading north across the farm fields . . .
. . . and down through bluebell meadows.

Crossing the stile below the summit.

Heading north across the fields with Red Screes, Sallows and Sour Hows in the background.

The warm sunshine has brought out the May blossom on the Blackthorn trees.

The trees are in full bloom but are slightly later than normal due to the cold spring weather.

Nearing the road we cross a small stream . . .

. . . but some decide to sit in it instead.

I hope there's somewhere to clean up before we get back to the bus !

Our route then turns left . . .
. . . and enters the coolness of St Catherine's Wood.

Bluebells are always a great attraction so Mark and Peter walk up to the old fallen tree for a closer look.

Where's Pete gone now ?

Mark takes a break on the log . . . but what's happened to Peter ?

[ Move your cursor over the photo to pick him back up !]

Paddy (Dillon) waits for an altogether more civilized photo.

Out of the woods and we get a view of the lake again.

Our path followed this track down almost to the road.

Mary leads the final woodland walk . . .
. . .and Neil holds my dogs for a quick photo on the footpath.

Back at the start at the Orrest Head sign.

A quick count up and a last photo opportunity before we make our way back to the bus.

An enterprising sign . . .
. . . by the cafe opposite.

- - - o o o - - -

Making our way back on the Leyland Tiger again.

A full bus and a steep hill slow the speed considerably.
The dogs are quieter on the way back after their walk.

The Crook turning on Kendal Bypass and we're almost back.

Plumgarth's again and we're back at the cars.

A classic walk, a classic bus and a classic day out

must finish with a classic cream tea !

Mmmm . . .
. . . What do you think John ?
Mark and Helen Richards
Peter and Paul Burgess, Tracy and Margaret.

Formal afternoon will be a feature of Plumgarth's menu from now on.

Barbara and Brian Burgess, Peter's parents.
Richard, Peter, John and Neil enjoying the cakes.
Jo and James deep in conversation.
Sheena, Simon, Mary and Beth in the window seats.

All that remained was to thank Peter for organising such a great day out.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . an anniversary in mind.

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Previous walk - 21st May 2010 Walla Crag Festival Route

A previous time up here - unfortunately no pictures in my on-line archive.

Next walk - 11th June 2010 Binsey and Birdsong