1. Choose a route from Blencarn to Kirkland.
2. Kirkland to Ardale Beck.
With St. Lawrence’s church behind you, turn left over the small bridge, and then left again into the village. Continue on through the village, the church and then Glebe Farm on your left, both on the other side of Kirkland Beck. The road passes through the buildings of Kirkland Hall, all the while alongside the beck. From Kirkland Hall, follow the bridleway, signposted to Garrigill, for 250m. A gate gives access to the fellside, and our walk continues to follow the distinct bridleway which gradually bears round to the left.
After we leave it further up the fellside, this bridleway continues to climb, passing over the shoulder beneath Cross Fell (where it becomes the Pennine Way, eventually reaching Garrigill). The shoulder is the launch pad for hang gliders which, together with gliders from the local club, Edensoaring, are sometimes to be seen floating above the hilltops.
The path meets a fence with a gate into an enclosure on the right, which you pass by, and continues along, gently rising, with the fence to the right. After passing through two gates, each set in a stone wall, the way climbs a little more steeply and away to the north-west (on a clear day stunning views of Blencathra and Skiddaw to the left!). At the top of the incline you are presented with a full view of the Eden Valley, the Scottish hills visible in the far distance. Downhill, on the right hand side of the Ardale Beck, is the Ardale lime kiln. Our path continues round to the right, ascending gently. At the finger post and cairn, turn back sharply to the left down a path in the direction of the kiln. The path descends, and losing all the height gained in the last 20 minutes, winds sharply to left and right before arriving at the sheep pens near Ardale Beck. A tractor track is passed heading left –ignore this, although it ends at the sheep pens. Go through the pens (two gates) to join the Maiden Way at a finger post.
3. Detour To The Kiln
Short Detour(1.2km – ½ hr. return) to the kiln: At the finger post turn right (north) along the Maiden Way, cross the footbridge, and at the gate in the stone wall, where the Maiden Way continues uphill, turn left downhill along a track running parallel to the wall. Apparently the kiln, built in Gothic style, in 1885, was never fired. There is also evidence of a disused tramway behind the kiln.
4. Ardale Beck to “Flosh”
Returning to the finger post, follow the Maiden Way in the other direction (west). The short uphill pull is usually muddy – try the grassy bank on the left. There is a direction marker at the top of the bank. Maiden Way goes South, but we need to head SW (straight on). Continue heading SW for 400m. You will now have climbed a mound, there is a kiln on your left, and a stone wall 200m on your right with a wood beyond. Turn right to the wall, then follow it to the right until you come to a metal gate which you go through.
The direction marker on the gate points you downhill through an area of ancient woodland, where replanting is taking place. You will now come to an unmarked gate leading into a small enclosure. Go through this, and exit by the waymarked gate directly opposite, and continue downhill. The path is indistinct. Follow waymark signs on trees. The concentric rings of an old settlement are still clearly visible. The area of ground immediately before it is distinctly boggy – traverse to the right. Emerging from the woodland, go through the stile in the stone wall ahead, turn left and follow the wall passing to the right of a stone barn. A gate leads into a small enclosure, and directly opposite another gate leads into a field. (These gates are usually open). Go through the gates and at the end of the stone wall on the left, bear left over rising ground to reach a gate and finger post on the other side of the field where the footpath joins the entrance drive of Bank Hall. Turn right down the drive to the road.
On reaching the road, turn left towards Kirkland. If you are choosing the “via Kirkland Beck” route back to Blencarn, you will find the stile on the right just after the cottage called “The Flosh”. For other routes back to Blencarn, continue along this road until you reach the church.