In the morning shadow of Farelton Fell is the old Westmorland village of Holme. Come in to the village from the northern end, not far from Tythebarn House B&B, and the first of our resident swans is there to greet you.
Meeting those not ‘set in stone’ is close by, a few yards before the sign, on the same side of the road. Step over the stile and you are in Swan territory on our beautiful stretch of the Lancaster Canal. Without boats it’s a wonderland of wildlife, just waiting to be explored by surprised visitors, thinking they are too close to the M6 junction 36 for such a discovery.
Mrs Swan won’t bother you so long as you stick to the towpath and keep an eye on her state of feather- ruffle and direction of swim. It’s now the end of April and she is busy, busy, busy stacking up twigs anticipating things to come. Yes, it’s nesting time and ‘Mr Swan’ is taking his evening swim!
Meanwhile his ‘Mrs’ is dedicated to the task of preparing the nursery. Pause for a moment – it’s a slide show…….
What did I say about feather-ruffle? She’s off over the water, either after him , ” what does he think he’s doing not helping out with all this twig tugging?” Or after me – time to move on.
Continue along the well-kept grassy tow path, under bridge 149, turning right up the steps and on to the road, then left towards the village centre.
There you will find our local hostelry The Smithy Inn for a pint, the Spar for a Mars Bar and the Post Office for that old fashioned thing, a postcard!
Opposite is Holme War Memorial, marked on Nick Burton’s route as the ‘half-way’ staging post on Wainwright’s Way, a long-distance walk through Alfred Wainwright‘s life from Blackburn to Haystacks. For those intrepid walkers en route Tythebarn House B&B is a welcoming overnight stopping post.
Once refreshed turn back the way you came, go left opposite the church taking North Road back to your starting point. Our road is well named as A. W. noted in his book Westmorland Heritage
“Holme, once a wayside village on the old north road…..”
Yes it heads north towards those magnificent fells of the Lake District. There’s Farleton Knott on your left too, our distinguishing landmark for motorway travellers. Don’t be too distracted by the lure of distant views, look out for our hanging sign at Tythebarn House .
Call in on the way past and I’ll pop the kettle on. Our front is round the back, it all makes sense once you spot our resident swan.
There could be cake on offer too and maybe an extra treat of home grown raspberries from our allotment .
Come back again before too long and enjoy the yellow irises. Maybe Mr and Mrs Swan will be showing off their new family.
For more walks in the area visit my friend Alvina over at Reasons to go North .
More Tales from the Canal Bank : May
Images by Vic and Diana Brown