Book Review by Steve Matthews of Bookends.
“Get Lost!” they say, and then they provide grid references and maps and sat nav. information and directions to the nearest pub.
Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park have been wandering around Cumbria again finding the odd, the mysterious, the weird and the quirky. And they do want you to get lost. They don’t want you joining the hordes that go up Skiddaw or risk their necks climbing Scafell Pike. They want you to find some of the short, gentle, non-taxing walks in the county, walks where you can have a gentle stroll for an hour or two, notice the wild life and appreciate the quiet beauty of the world around you and, of course, enjoy that rewarding pint in a comforting hostelry.
On our behalf, they’ve resolutely ventured forth to explore the “lonnings, trods, drovers roads, corpse roads, waths, rakes, meanderings, and packhorse routes” where you can walk at a “slow slare pace”.
If you go to NY455 533 you’ll find Nanny Knockabouts Lonning. It’s just a leafy track where the school kids used to play in Cumwhinton. At SD515 920 is T’Crack, a steep, stepped, narrow alley between high stone walls in Kendal.
But there’s lots to choose from. There’s Fat Man’s Agony, Slack Randy, Bloody Bones Lane, Craggy Butts, Parson’s Passage, Squeezed Gut Lonning, Ticklebelly Alley, Walk-Her-Home Lane, Dick Trod Lane, Lanty Slee Path, Bloody Bones Lane and many more. Just choose the one that fits, the one you fancy and start walking.
You’ll find Wine Lonning in Kirkbride. It runs down from the church to the Solway, and years back it was said to be a smuggler’s route. Tatie-Pot Lonning is in Burgh By Sands and Johnnie Bulldog Lonning is in Carlisle. Its a delightfully shady lonning running down to the Eden and it’s right next to Tesco and the M6. And it’s named after the bulldog that was owned by Johnnie MacElroy who lived there and walked his dog long before Tesco or the M6 were ever thought of.
Gypsy Lonning at Great Orton is sign-posted, and though it’s reputed to be haunted by a six-foot cloaked figure, it is actually more peaceful Johnnie Bulldog Lonning.
If you fancy a leisurely walk with a literary flavour – there are lots in the Lakes, of course – you might try Longsleddale. It’s there where Postman Pat delivered his letters all along the valley of Greendale having collected them from Mrs Croggins’ Post Office, which closed in 2003. Right at the end of the valley, at Sadgill, is the little humpback bridge which Postman Pat used to drive over in the TV series.
Alan and Lesley offer an amusing tour of Lakeland. If you follow their suggestions you’ll get to know a lot of the out of the way places, all of them far quieter than the famous spots and many just as beautiful. But behind the good-humour and the entertaining presentation, Alan and Lesley have done a lot of thorough research into the folk-lore of the county and this attractive little book is a treasure-trove of Cumbriana.