Brrrrrr. Today has been chilly but with the insulation afforded by many layers of clothing and JF driving we three set off for a walk in Kentmere just a few miles north of the village of Staveley.
We all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw that the roads had been gritted as there were pockets of solid ice towards some of the verges. Parking near St Cuthbert’s Parish Church we donned our walking boots and set off up the road towards Hartrigg the highest farm in the valley. Now not being one who would want to spend Christmas – nor anytime really – in plaster we erred on the side of caution and made our way back to the church when snow started to fall, worryingly dusting and partially hiding the icy stretches on the path.
We arrived back at St Cuthbert’s in time to help carry pine branches into the little church for its seasonal window decorations. The smell of fresh pine was evocative of winter and a roaring fire. I was also wowed by the kneelers. Not hidden away below the pews as usual but proudly displayed. How fab!
This was only one half of them, sadly my photography skills let the other half down. Sorreeee.
The church apparently dates in part from 1691 but the amazing yew in the circular walled burial ground is thought to be around 1000 years old and suggests that this was a much earlier place of worship.
I had to give this yew a gentle touch of homage. Weird tree-hugger that I am. Looking from the other side of this magnificent ancient tree the view towards the distant hills is snowily seasonal.
Within St Cuthbert’s is also a plaque to the memory of Bernard Gilpin ‘the Apostle of the North’ who was born in 1517 at nearby Kentmere Hall. Gilpin was a famous preacher in the time of Henry VIII and a leading churchman in the troubled times of Mary Tudor. He gained his rather magnificent ‘title’ for his preaching in the wild lands of the north. Let me reassure you we are no longer that wild … we have Michelin starred restaurants and everything, honest. Gilpin died when he was run over by and ox and cart in Durham market-place on 4 March 1583. Perhaps that was a tad wild.
What a treat St Cuthbert’s was. A little welcoming sanctuary especially on a very cold day.
Kentmere looks like a fabulous walk so can’t wait to come back in warmer (i.e. no ice) weather.
In the meantime I am happily sitting de-frosting with a pot of tea and comforting assortment of biscuits. Life is good.
Until next we meet,