Threlkeld Common

The boggy wilderness of Threlkeld Common, perhaps more well known because of the ‘Old Coach Road’ which traverses it between Dockray and Wanthwaite, keeping to higher, drier ground.

I haven’t been able to find much about the road’s history but I surmise it was the old route between Penrith and Keswick before the bridge over the Greta gorge was built. This bridge is shown on the 1867 6″ O.S. map1Maps.nls.uk. (2022). View map: Cumberland LXIV (includes: Castlerigg St Johns and Wythburn; Keswick.) – Ordnance Survey Six-inch England and Wales, 1842-1952. [online] Available at: https://maps.nls.uk/view/102340878#zoom=6&lat=9170&lon=13121&layers=BT [Accessed 14 Jun. 2022].

I guess it would have been the route PC James Armstrong would have taken on the 29 September 1847. He had set out on foot from Keswick to Pooley Bridge to execute a warrant of a non-payment of a fine.

On his return, with darkness setting in, he must have became disoriented and somehow managed to climb Clough Head.

Wainwright says Clough Head is ‘a dangerous place’2Wainwright, A. “A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells”. Book One, The Eastern Fells.. Along its north-western face are a series of steep crags, over a mile long culminating in Wanthwaite Crags.

In darkness, PC Armstrong must have found himself at the top of Wanthwaite Crags and tried to descend. He was found at the bottom after falling “more than 300ft, leaving a trail of blood which resulted in his eye being knocked completely out, his right leg and arm being broken, nearly all his ribs fractured and his neck broken”3dot (2016). grough — Detective work uncovers tragic story behind name of Policeman Crag in Lake District. [online] Grough.co.uk. Available at: https://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2016/12/20/detective-work-uncovers-tragic-story-behind-name-of-policeman-crag-in-lake-district# [Accessed 14 Jun. 2022].. He left a widow and three children.

Although not marked on any map, the crag today is known as Policeman Crag.

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