A Walk From Shap. 🐑🐮🥾

Bank Holiday Weekend ( also platyjubes of course! ) , we escaped the celebrations for a while, choosing a less obvious Lakeland area for a countryside walk.

Shap is a long grey stoned settlement in the North Eden District. It has a couple of pubs, a shop, cafe, chippy and an open air swimming pool, the highest heated outdoor pool in England. The steady A6 is the main road that meanders through the village, it used to be the principal thoroughfare for the Lake District & Scotland.

Not far away is the busy M6 , but to the West of Shap it is picturesque and remote. I had downloaded this Walk from the Eden’s River Trust. Part of the route is on the Coast To Coast footpath , though we didn’t see one other human being out walking. It was so peaceful.

The hike starts at the Northern end of the village, following a country lane signposted Bampton and Haweswater. We then turned right through gates into a field with a footpath sign saying Rosgill. Lots of ewes with lambs in the fields.
A large boulder in a farmer’s field called The Thunder Stone. ⚡
Cow Parsley aka Queen Anne’s Lace adorning a quiet country lane.
An old disused Lime-Kiln.
There were a few bleached white sheep skeleton remains here. Look at this Skull which I placed on a rock.
Hugo had whizzed off with a bone. We decided to ignore him and he dropped it after a bit of crunching.
Cooling off time.
The weather was warm, the sky blue. A cooling breeze did make it perfect conditions for walking though.
View of Lakeland mountains in the distance. Here is a field where lots of gap walling needs to be done.
This walk does have alot ( alot ! ) of stone Stiles like this one.
A waymarker featuring a Golden Eagle, there used to be a couple nearby in Riggindale. Maybe oneday they will venture South from Scotland again. 🙏

We headed through fields towards the small village of Rosgill.
And down to the River Lowther where we sat by the water for a while.
We veered off a tarmac track to follow the Coast to Coast Footpath through a field.
Bonnie bovines or Cow culprits??

Things then got a bit scary , a family of cattle that we hadn’t noticed at first started to take a bit too much interest in us as we tried to cross the field. They had a Bull with them and youngsters, but it was the cows themselves that started kicking up a fuss , fairly galloping towards us. We managed to scare them away , though not before Wil got knocked off his feet and Hugo got butted. I’m not sure how but we legged it into a solitary farmhouse garden with the cattle at our heels. Definitely a hair raising encounter, we were a bit shuck up!

To make matters worse we would have to sneek past the herd again to continue with our walk. We waited until they had calmed down and ambled away, an unconcerned resident of the farmhouse didn’t seem to care that we had hotfooted into their garden or that the cows had chased us there…

We breathed a sigh of relief once we had crossed this packhorse bridge.
Looking back to Fairy Crag, the cows are just behind it.
The remains of some farm buildings.
Following the Coast to Coast to Shap Abbey. The Coast to Coast Footpath was devised by Alfred Wainwright.
A very late blossoming Blackthorn tree.
These lambs look like just the one , with two heads.
Approaching Shap Abbey.

The Preminstratensian Order of Monks from France settled in Shap in the 13th Century and built beautiful Shap Abbey from local stone. The monks became known as The White Cannons because they wore robes made from undyed sheep fleeces.

Here was a lovely place to stop for a while by the river Lowther again. I must admit we had lost our thirst for continuing the planned route , which would take us through the hamlet of Keld and on past another large standing stone called The Goggleby Stone. Instead we made our way back to Shap through a couple of cow free fields and along a country lane.

Shap Abbey.
River Lowther.
A bit of a tight squeeze.
Dry stone walls on the way back to Shap.
Time for a brew in Shap.

We ended up having a delicious cheese scone and a cup of coffee each at the Abbey Kitchens cafe in Shap, the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by. I’m so glad Wil and Hugo were non the worse for our ordeal. We will definitely be keeping our distance from any cows in the future. Although apparently there are some handsome looking Highland Cattle in Swindale………..

28 thoughts on “A Walk From Shap. 🐑🐮🥾”

  1. Cows can be dangerous when they have calves, especially if there is a dog about, as you well know. You were lucky to avoid serious trouble. Shame it spoilt a lovely walk for you.

    1. We hope to return and do the bit past the Gobbleby Stone and into Keld then to the abbey. Maybe on a cold dry frosty winter’s day, when the cows are snug indoors.

  2. I haven’t been to Shap, but I always find it a very satisfying name to say somehow! I think cows must be getting more aggressive – we’ve had a couple of scares and I don’t remember such things happening in the past. Though highland cattle are more docile.

    1. It has made me much more wary. Only today Hugo and I did a detour to avoid some cows that are usually fine, because I have lost my cow confidence. However I do love Highland Cows and English Longhorns. They do seem to be placid.

  3. I am sorry to hear that you had a scary encounter with cows. I think they are at their most unpredictable at this time of year, I remember talking to a farmer about it, the grass is at its most nutrient at this time of year and it makes them a bit loopy. I avoid cow fields in May and June now.

    I can guess whose garden you were sheltering in, I am local to Rosgill I don’t suppose they will have minded. I love the Abbey Kitchen it is a good place for a cuppa and a treat.

    I am guessing that you were walking on Friday or Saturday as those were the best days over the weekend. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed walking around my village 😉

    1. Thanks S M. X
      We will definitely be back to complete the walk at some point. It’s a beautiful area. Heard a cuckoo, saw a buzzard. Gorgeous. X

    1. Nice. 🙂
      My Mum and brother live in a village called Askham and we usually drive through Shap to visit. The Abbey is such a serene place and yes it does make a lovely stop for a break.

  4. My Mum had a theory about curious cows. She advocated deep noisy breathing as if you were a cow. Have to say the couple of times I employed it, it worked . The other counter intuitive thing is to let the dog off the lead, they will run to the side of the field and go very low down, again that works. Best of all keep clear of calves and bulls. They shouldn’t be in fields with public rights of ways. I bet that scone was good. Otherwise a lovely walk. That skull was amazing.

    1. I will have to try the deep noisy breathing, pretend to be a cow, lol. As for Hugo I think if we had let him off the lead I reckon he would have just stopped there and got trampled. He did sort of try and play dead and we had to drag him away. It did amaze me that the cattle were all there in the same field as the coast to coast path, however I suppose they have to go somewhere. I reckon there should have been a warning sign though.It was good to find the sheep skull earlier. We left it for others to see. The scone was very welcome when we got back to Shap. Thanks for your comments Cathy. Xx

  5. What a beautiful walk with stunning photos. Pity about the cow mishap, but glad you are all OK. Wish we had more walks here like that, but I’m lucky to have experienced some wonderful short walks while we’ve been on holiday in UK. Not much walking here due to the absolutely horrendous weather we’ve had for the last 2 weeks with another yet to come. Maybe the rest of winter will be a bit milder. Thanks for sharing, take care & hugs.

  6. What a splendid walk despite the cows scare… I guess they perceive us as potentially dangerous intruders. I didn’t know about Shap Abbey, how interesting!

  7. We’ve walked in that area and had cows being a little to bolshy for comfort – fortunately not at hair raising as your field crossing – I am very wary these days, having had cows and calves (and a rather disinterested but HUGE bull) herding us out of their fields a little to enthusiastically! We’ve taken to carrying pop up umbrellas so that we can ‘suddenly be BIG’ if they decide to investigate!

  8. Flippin heck, those cows were a bit frisky! Got to pinch this one as a good friend’s older sister lives in Shap. Such a beautiful place…if you steer clear of the ‘wild’ life!

  9. Cows certainly appear to have become more “frisky” these days – probably especially so in your case as you had Hugo with you. I never used to worry about them but are much more nervous about them these days. I prefer sheep – although Texels that are becoming more popular seem more aggresive!

    1. Do they! I like texels. I like cows generally too. I think growing up on a farm and actively just hanging out with cows as a kid has made me a bit blasé about them, when I should have been more wary. I am really loathe to walk through a field with them in now, and I used to not mind at all. I haven’t had any sheep problems..yet….

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