‘Descending the frightful mountains, we began to find the flat country show itself; we soon saw that the north and north east part of the county was pleasant, rich, fruitful, and compared to the other part, populous. The river eden, the last river of England… rises in this part out of the side of a monstrous high mountain called Mowill Hill or Wldbore Fell, which you please, runs through the middle of this vale, which is, as above, a very agreeable and pleasant country or perhaps seems to be the more, by the horror of the eastern and southern part’
The route crosses the River Eden near the confluence with the Lyvennet . At the river crossing is the trackbed of the railway line that linked Penrith with Barnard Castle and Darlington: ‘the Eden Valley railway’.
A very detailed description of the remnants of the railway at Temple Sowerby and the history of the line, which includes pictures of rail tickets (Sowerby to Penrith Third Class Fare 8d), a timetable for 1950 and a link to pictures of the profoundly dramatic Belah viaduct (the greatest architectural loss resulting from closure) at http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/t/temple_sowerby/index.shtml
As is common with a large number of rail closures, many carelessly attribute them to ‘Beeching’ – but all the closed railway lines encountered on this walk were in terminal decline or fully closed before the Doctor produced his report.
Then on to Temple Sowerby: ‘It loves to be called the Queen of Westmorland villages. Certaily it is a very old queen, for it was the home of Stone Age men long before the Romans came this way.’
‘An especially handsome open-plan settlement, with a maypole, though its spacious greens are turning into car parks. Mercifully the A66 was diverted on to a by-pass in 2007’ (Pevsner: Cumbria)
The Roman road that passed here was from Cataractonium (Catterick), much of which is used by the A66. The road followed along the Lune valley became largely indistinct after Tebay. The two join at Brocavvm (Brougham, near Penrith). The ‘’temple’ element of the name refers to The Knights of the Temple (Jerusalem) and Sowerby to the poor quality of the surrounding land (quite literally ‘sour’).
After Sowerby the route passes through Culgaith – unmentioned by Arthur Mee. The railway line, ‘The Settle and Carlisle’ here has survived…. in fact in its recent history it became a cause celebre due to its proposed closure. The route between Settle and Kirby Stephen, known as the ‘Long Drag’ due to its inclines is very scenic. Following the reprieve and general strengthening the line has become used by a large number heavy freight trains as well as passenger services.
The walk finishes the day at Langwathby (the settlement at the long ford)
‘Here is a bridge to lean on for a view of the River Eden, grown broad at this bend’. (Mee)
Pevsner particularly highlights the Midland Railway constructed station ‘resplendent in blood-and-custard livery’ – even having a line drawing in the text (page 490 “Cumbria: Matthew Hyde and Nikolaus Pevsner: Yale, New Haven & London 2010. All Cumbria ‘Pevsner’ quotes are from this volume)
Morland dep: 09.00
Ftpths 600233, lanes 610241, ftpth 613253, Skygarth bridge, ftpth 609270, Temple Sowerby (7 kms), ftpths 610278, lanes 605290, Culgaith (11 kms), lanes 614300, 610309, 590332 to
Langwathby (18 kms)