Thursday, August 15, 2013

Arnside Knott, UK

Since we get up relatively early, during our Arnside trip we visited the Arnside Knott, the local mountain that provides great views of the river Kent. We drove up to the car park and headed up the trails to the mountain top.

J leads the way!

Mid-level view

The trails were quite steep but J and L were troopers. We didn't have to carry them at all and we only took one break as we ascended to the peak.

Ready for more climbing!

The Knott is not quite a mountain, but is the smallest Marilyn in England at 159.1 meters. A signpost explains: "A Marilyn is a mountain or hill with a height of at least 150 meters (492 ft). The name is a pun on the designation Munro (Marilyn Monroe), used for a Scottish mountain with a height of more than 914.4 m (3,000 feet)."

Marilyn explanation

At the summit we found the "toposcope," a small structure with engraved metal showing the names of the various mountains on the horizon.

Almost to the top!

Checking what's where

The children immediately claimed the toposcope was a bakery and proceeded to make treats for us, including scones and waffles. The small pylon at the back was the oven.

Working the oven

Their hard work distracted them so we parents could enjoy the views from the top.

View from the top with the bed of the Kent below

Farms and such leading to the river

Further past the snack area, I mean, toposcope is a stone fence leading into a wooded grove. The trees were a little spooky but J and L were not afraid. My wife was reminded of this passage from ancient Roman poet Lucan:
 A grove there was, untouched by men's hands from ancient times, whose interlacing boughs enclosed a space of darkness and cold shade, and banished the sunlight far above. No rural Pan dwelt there, no Silvanus, ruler of the woods, no Nymphs; but gods were worshiped there with savage rites, the altars were heaped with hideous offerings, and every tree was sprinkled with human gore. On those boughs--if antiquity, reverential of the gods, deserves any credit--birds feared to perch; in those coverts wild beasts would not lie down; no wind ever bore down upon that wood, nor thunderbolt hurled from black clouds; the trees, even when they spread their leaves to no breeze, rustled of themselves. Water, also, fell there in abundance from dark springs. The images of the gods, grim and rude, were uncouth blocks formed of felled tree-trunks. Their mere antiquity and the ghastly hue of their rotten timber struck terror; men feel less awe of deities worshiped under familiar forms; so much does it increase their sense of fear, not to know the gods whom they dread. [quote taken from page 94 of Lost Gold of the Dark Ages by Caroline Alexander]

Trees with interlacing boughs! Yikes!

Anyway, we saw the other side of the mountain with views of Tower Farm.

View from the other side of the mountain

More marilyns in the distance?

Soon enough we were tired and decided to head back to the car for a snack and further adventures.

Wind-swept tree

Last view of the train viaduct from above

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