Hills of the North, Rejoice

Mark these rounded slopes
With their surface fragrance of thyme and, beneath,
A secret system of caves and conduits; hear the springs
That spurt out everywhere with a chuckle,
Each filling a private pool for its fish and carving
Its own little ravine whose cliffs entertain
The butterfly and the lizard; examine this region
Of short distances and definite places:

In Praise of Limestone – W. H. Auden

An impertinent circle of limestone encircles the ancient hills of Cumbria – Before the coming of the 6-laned behemoth, to travel northwards to the Lakes, you had to cross the carboniferous limestone pavement, passing through iconic Lancashire towns and villages on the way, at a pace that encouraged observation of the changes in dwellings and landscapes as the great world opened up around you.


Outcrops of limestone pavements leap out, scarring the surrounding landscape, as here at Scout Scar, west of Kendal, and looking across Milnthorpe Sands towards Arnside Knott. In keeping with the time of remembrance the landscape here put me in mind of the pock-marked landscape of the trenches on the Western Front, though the scarring here is caused more by erosion from acidic rain than by manufactured artillery.


This gives you some idea of the sheer drop at one edge of the scar. Across the meandering valley can be seen further outbursts at Arnside Knott and Whitbarrow. 

Arnside and Silverdale has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; it is an area of mixed woodland, limestone grassland, and wetland marshes, with a handful of deer parks thrown in. Above the village of Arnside stands the Knott. a rounded limestone hill, rising to 522ft. Much of the land is owned by the National Trust and it is peppered with an endless variation of walks across, over, around and about.





Arnside Knott



Arnside Promenade

Arnside is famous for its tidal bore, the viaduct, the promenade, the Knott, the best fish and chips in the county and the best sunsets in the world.



This feat of Victorian engineering is the Arnside viaduct that spans the River Kent. It has 50 supports and was opened in 1857 as part of the Ulverston and Lancaster Railway. The viaduct is 522 yards long.

The sands and tides at Arnside are treacherous. The tide when it comes in, comes in fast and travels up river in ever-changing swirling channels.







3 thoughts on “Hills of the North, Rejoice

  1. Wonderful photographs, Roy. (And Hills of the North one of my very favourite hymns, as an aside.) at last I’ve got this ruddy blog registration to work, so can post comments and like you. ☺️ Want Heidi part deluxe, btw.


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