Dent NY 037 130
Flat Fell NY 052 137
It is a long drive to Cleator Moor passing through Broughton-in-Furness home of The Old Bakery Café where I often called with my late climbing friend Tony on the way to Wallowbarrow Crag. The sumptuous cakes and excellent coffee were always a special treat. They had a soft spot for cyclists and there was a poster on the wall of Fausto Coppi who was arguably the greatest cyclist ever, but I reckon few of the non cycling visitors would have heard of him. More recently the business was taken over and refurbished transforming it into a more upmarket venue than its previous unpretentious existence, and with a corresponding increase in prices, but still providing superior sustenance.
As I drove through on this trip I dithered about stopping for morning coffee, but decided to save my visit for the return journey.
Cleator Moor is a drab town originally owing its existence to iron works, but with the decline it became an area of high unemployment. Now that legacy remains, but much of the population is employed by the nearby Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant. However I was able to park a few hundred yards from the main road, and within five minutes walking I was in delightful, archetypal Lake District countryside which just got better as the walk progressed.
Descending from Flat Fell to Nannycatch I saw a sign for the Coast to Coast walk which I did in April 1990 - I had no memory of the location at all. The climb up to Dent from there was exceptionally steep and near the top I met a young lad on a 50cc mock trials bike coming down from the top. He had been made redundant the day before and said he was bored, but due to start a new job next week. I watched him descending perilously without the engine running, just using the brakes.
Dent provided good views of the Isle of Man and across to the Scottish side of the Solway.
Descending with extensive views of Cleator Moor I met an elderly lady ascending. She was local and of farming sctock, but had been a French teacher. We had a long chat with subjects ranging from farming, Shakespeare, French language and hers and my expereinces of walking in France - altogether a more uplifting experience than cliché exchanges about the weather.
By the time I got back to Broughton-in-Furness for my much anticipated visit to the Old Bakery it was 2:45. I parked up and walked round the corner only to find they were closed on Mondays. Ah well, I remained philosophical, and was reminded of one of the all time great films, To Have and Have Not and Eddie, the drunken sailor with his repeated question, "Was you ever bit by a dead bee?"
|From Flat Fell summit|
|At Nannycatch - Coast to Coast walk passing through, Flat Fell in background|
|The out of work youth starting on the very steep descent|
|Dent summit ahead|
|Distant Lake District fells from Dent summit|
|Nannycatch is the location where it says Standing Stones - it is is only so named on the 1:25000 map|