A bit of research would have indicated that the way up to this odd little tower was not the one we chose. The structure goes by the grandiose name of Stainton Tower although locally it’s know as the pepperpot. There is another ruined ‘monument’ on the same ridge and there seems to be very little information to explain these two buildings. The view north looks out over the Esk estuary and across to Muncaster Castle. Some suggestions are that these are follies, presumably to enhance the view from the castle and to go alongside the other structures built there. Another explanation is of a lookout over the Esk and it is a great vantage point although possibly not the most suitable for such a purpose.
The tower is best approached from Dyke Farm but we attempted it from the northern end of the same ridge, a somewhat awkward approach. The path climbed up through oak woodland before opening out onto the craggy ridge above. A buzzard circled on our level for a while and a great tit chimed its monotonous call from the woodland. Lichens coated the old trees and clung onto the windswept rocks. Here Cladonias and the wonderfully named Lasallia pustulata vied for space with an array of crustose species. Lasallia pustulata is one of a few lichens known by the English name of rock tripe and is supposedly edible but is probably best reserved for desperate times.
One lone Herdwick sheep seemed to be grazing the hillside. The view up the Esk valley was up to snow-covered hills although the snow level was surprisingly high given recent weather.