|Click to enlarge - start and finish in blue - Cumbria Coastal Way pink|
Following occasional praise here for increased accuracy of weather forecasts, I feel I have now been let down. Last Saturday's walk on the CCW was forecast as "cloudy". In reality I had a non-stop five hour march in drizzle, fizzle, penetrating rain and limited visibility .
Today "early fog clearing to a sunny day" was forecast. I caught the earlier 7:52am train.
Arriving at Cark station at 8:05am, it had only just become light and fog was all present reducing visibility to a couple of hundred yards, but full of optimism for the promised clearance I pressed on, hands freezing so gloves donned. I walk with two poles with wrist loops. If I want to look at the iPhone map/GPS or otherwise faff I can let the poles dangle and trail behind as I continue to walk. The gloves also have wrist loops - in order to scroll on the iPhone map I need a bare finger, so gloves have to be removed (another faff) often involving pole and glove loops becoming intertwined, so putting on the gloves is a last resort.
Occasionally around eleven the sun made a feeble attempt to break through, but only succeeded in brightening the shroud of fog for a few minutes, otherwise the fog persisted for the rest of the walk, so disappointingly views were out for the whole day; even though I could tell I was walking through attractive countryside I was frustrated, and above all bored, and the aim became to get it finished as soon as possible.
One highlight was going to be Bigland Tarn, a delightful, almost secret gem I have visited before, but this time to be seen from a different angle, but even though I was within thirty yards of the water's edge I couldn't even see the water - just look at the forlorn photo below!
I never stopped for all fourteen miles. At one point I took a wrong turn on a lane for about fifty yards, discovered the error and walked back another hundred yards up the correct route checking with the GPS in my hand before discovering that one of the poles was no longer dangle-trailing behind. I had to go back and up the wrong path before finding it, a victim of the awkward messing with gloves, poles, wrist loops and objects held in the hand.
Shortly after that I arrived at Greenodd on the main A590. The previously ubiquitous CCW sign posts were no longer occurring and the guide just said vaguely "walk down the A590... " That is a very very busy dual carriageway, and I had to walk three kilomtres down the verge, tripping over Lucozade bottles, Macdonald's cartons, discarded pregnancy testing kit wrapping, chunks of plastic moulding fallen off badly maintained vehicles, lengths of double glazing framing and 15mm white plastic piping fallen from cowboy contractors trucks, no doubt on the way to fly-tip the rest.
On the way to Canal Foot the path descended to the edge of the Leven estuary and was barred by a huge sheet of polished, green slime covered limestone. There was no way I was going to walk across, it was more slippery than sheet ice. I toiled back climbing steeply up a wooded banking into fields and then became disorientated spending quarter of an hour finding a way through cow trodden mud to circumvent and get back on track.
I arrived at Ulverston station with 40 minutes to spare before the 15:41 train. As I approached the subway to cross to "southbound" a jobsworth in railway uniform demanded quite rudely, "ticket!"
I said I intended to buy my ticket on the train. "This is a pay before boarding station, you have to get a ticket." My immediate thought was that late on a Saturday afternoon the ticket office would be closed. I had to press this guy to tell me there was a ticket office open, and then he seemed irritated when I asked him where it was and could only elicit vague directions from him.
Arriving at the little window the office behind was unoccupied and I had to wait several minutes for someone to appear.
With time in hand I had just poured coffee from my previously unopened flask when the tannoy announced that the next train on "southbound" was the 15:15 going to Arnside - I had about two minutes to negotiate the sub-way, so collecting flask, stopper and lid, rucksack and walking polesl I managed to stumble-stagger across and board.
The train was an ancient diesel making ear splitting noise on setting off with portents of imminent disaster. At Arnside I was thankful that a local, familiar with this archaic rolling stock, knew how to get us out. You had to wait for a light, high up on the carriage wall, almost out of sight to function, then you could lower the window, and open the door using the huge brass exterior handle. As I stepped down Hillary from my reading group was boarding, "it's like gong back to the fifties" she said.
I have to say that was not a good day.
|Morning fog and cold out of Cark|
|A blogger's gift.|
A scout's woggle on top of a stone gatepost - he or she was obviously not prepared.
|A brief moment of illumination - a bit of typical Lake District stonework with the old wooden door, at least that was something I could see - click to enlarge|
|I converted the previous photo to black and white - there's not much difference!|
|Bigland Tarn - my anticipated highlight, are you having a laugh?|
Although that is the water's edge that is not water but fog
|Leven Bridge near Haverthwaite|
|Footbridge across the Leven to arrive at Greenodd and the A590|