Hubby had an appointment in Kendal and so me and The Dog decided to join him for a change of scenery and the chance of a different walk.
We headed out in glorious sunshine, albeit still very cold. Spring has sort of stalled here in the UK, the leaves starting to come out, but thought better of it. We had a run of mornings recently, waking up to hard frosts, the ground glistening white and the nearby hills covered with snow.
Hubby found his destination in Kendal and parked up. We were in suburbia in the north of the town and a quick glance at the OS map on the phone, showed no immediate greenery. The Dog ain’t one for pounding the streets. On further investigation, I realised that Kendal Castle was in walking distance and with a hour to kill, we set off.
We walked down a busy A road, heading to the town centre, a mixture of shop fronts and housing. We passed a little row of cottages, all their windows covered by curtains and blinds to stop people having a nose before turning down a peaceful side road. We followed the map, the small cottages turning into slightly bigger residences and as we approached the Castle, elegant Victorian villas with little front gardens.
We found the entrance to the grounds of the Castle and squeezed through the kissing gate. The path went straight up a hill. After a brief read of the information board, we set off up the path as joggers ran down the hill and then promptly turned around and jogged back up. I admire people who have the get up and go to run and jog, wishing I had the determination, but the memories of PE at school, staggering around the track vowing never to run (unless for necessity like after a bus) have stayed and a brisk walk suits me fine. So I let the joggers pant up the hill, while The Dog and I took in the scenery.
We were steadily rising above the town of Kendal, the houses, roads and industry surrounding the vast eminence we were climbing. It was a huge parkland with clumps of trees and the odd bench to rest on. I kept stopping to admire the expanding views. Finally, the Castle appeared at the top – a complete ruin with only a couple of corners left. I visit Kendal probably two or three times a year, usually on a shopping trip and had never visited the castle. There were several information boards and seats cut out of stone in front of it, people sat on benches admiring the views over into the Lakeland hills while others stood and took photos. It was rather splendid.
We decided to investigate further, crossing the empty moat of the Castle and into the middle. To our right, was the remains of a tower with a stairway, so we sauntered over. The stairway was constructed of metal with the actual steps with a grate like surface. The Dog followed me, though not impressed. She wasn’t entirely comfortable, going up very gingerly with her back legs looking like she’d had weed herself. The grating must of been horrible for her paws and she could see through the stairs. She wasn’t too happy with me with my brief and cursory look once we had reached the top – it was a cylindrical construction with a window overlooking Kendal town centre and that was that. So we turned around and went back down the steps. Halfway down I waited for The Dog, who was even more unhappy, carefully steeping down each step. I thought I might have to carry her down, but she saw the end was in sight and with a wag of her tail, she skipped down to the grass and bounced away in relief.
We walked around the perimeter, inside the castle and read the information boards. There were two cellars that we checked out, spooking a couple of birds who in turn spooked us. There were another set of steps that were a proper set of stairs, albeit metal. The Dog, just recovering from the last steps, decided to stay put at the bottom to watch me waddle up to take photos and have a look around. Reunited at the bottom, we headed off back into parkland and found a high spot to have a good look at the town surrounding the hill. You could see why it was built up here, you could see the marauding mobs heading your way at all angles – it had a 360 degree vista. The Dog and I just stopped and stared – the sun was shining in a practically cloudless sky, admiring at the Lakeland fells in the not too far distance, looking inviting. Nestling in the valley, the town of Kendal – I was looking out for familiar landmarks, working out where the town centre was, the roads and other features. Kendal looked a lot smaller from up here – almost snug and cosy. We found a gravel path and walked along the edge of the moat until the path plunged down into a thin slice of woodland towards a residential side road. We continued onto the grass as the hill gradually fell away towards a cemetery at the bottom. Checking both watch and map, we decided to retrace our steps back to hubby. We head back to the Castle and down the wide grassy track, towards the kissing gate. The sun was strong and warm, but there was a chill in the air – a winter coat and scarf was still required, though there were braver souls in lesser clothing.
We reached the kissing gate, I put The Dog back on the lead and wander down the sunny side of the streets, admiring the houses. This time, I start to notice that quite a few properties have flood gates on their doorways and even on their windows! The River Kent flows through the centre of town and isn’t very far from these houses – it was startling to think it would rise above their downstairs windowsills. We re-join the busy A road and waddle back to the car.