With London in Tier 4, Cumbria heading for Tier 3, and the Christmas "free for all" period cancelled, we've found ourselves a little stranded in Cumbria. We'd always planned to go back within the five days of leeway, so when they were axed we figured we'd ride out the increased freedom of Tier 2 until the next announcement. Well, we're still waiting on anything official, but it certainly seems like we might be here for a while, and soon to be restricted once again.
Keeping that in mind, we decided to (safely) make the most of our current freedoms and head into an actual population centre – albeit whilst staying far away from any other humans (and masked whilst in the town as well). At any rate, it was nice to see Brampton again, even if it is all locked up and empty at the moment, and nicer still to be able to explore a part I'm not sure I've ever actually been to before. I've always known about the old medieval motte that looms over the northern end of the town, with forested slopes and a monument to one of the local Howard family at the top, but I'm uncertain if I've ever climbed it before.
Well, now I can conclusively say I have. It's a well-kept area with some nice views over the town, out to the Lakes, and particularly towards Scotland. It also reveals just how much development has been going on around Brampton. The estates on the northern side are about three times larger than I'd ever realised! Despite that sprawl, from the top you can link onto a ridge walk, following along an old hedgerow, now grown into a tree avenue that links to a nearby woodland. It was certainly the busiest walk we've done since arriving in Cumbria, but plenty open enough to keep safely distanced.
As we came to the edge of the managed woodland, we turned downhill and looped back along the lower fence, crunching over the beech nut carpet and marvelling at various bracket fungi along the way. You do have to retread some of the ridgeline to get back to the town (local farmers have gone to extreme lengths to prevent the obvious cross-field shortcuts 😁), but we managed to mix it up a little and came in along one of the side roads instead of back over the motte itself. Despite a slight spit on the very top, the weather miraculously held as well (and we even had a great spot of a young buzzard just off the path in one of the tree tops!), though having set out late the sun was clearly setting as we began the drive home.