I guessed this was going to be a good one and it didn't disappoint - a walk of contrasts with nonstop interest.
The train conductor obligingly advised me that it was cheaper to buy a return to and from Kirkby-in-Furness, my walk's finishing station, rather than buying singles from Arnside to Roose, and Kirkby to Arnside. At just over £8 with my Railcard I reckon that was a bargain.
I had to retrace my steps for thirty minutes to get back on the CCP. The sun had just arrived and there was golden light over Barrow harbour from my high point.
Back at sea level, abandoned industrial wasteland with pylons, cheap red brickwork daubed with graffiti, and the bleak scatter of urban rail-side rubbish provided interest, especially in the morning glow. I don't mind a bit of that sort of thing, particularly when I know it is only going to be a small part of the day's itinerary.
Barrow must have been a fine town with its wide, straight streets and an abundance of elaborate Victorian and Edwardian architecture, but it has been trashed with the insertion of the worst kind of cheap and utilitarian modern mediocrity.
A long walk out of Barrow on the A 590 north was perhaps the low point. After that the rest of the route was nearly all on beaches with firm going and vast expanses of sand, distant sea, and huge blue skies - all shear pleasure. Halfway on this traverse of the eastern shore of the Duddon estuary I could see Lowsy Point marked on the map indicating a group of buildings in the middle of nowhere - intriguing? One of the delights of walking is to come across points of interest unexpectedly without having been told about them beforehand so that they become your discoveries, and so it was with Lowsy Point.
An unmade track led to this outpost: a sort of shanty town of wooden huts, some homebuilt, and nearly all ramshackle with old cars, Calor gas bottles, mini windmills, derelict boats and general seediness. But, having said that, there was something attractive and mysterious about this community of weekend retreats, and I wondered if there was a common factor of eccentricity amongst the owners.
At Askam in Furness I found benches outside the unoccupied lifeboat station and settled down for munchies and coffee. Preparing to leave I found that a buckle on my rucksack had found its way through a slat in the bench. How stupid - I must have spent ten minutes extracting it making my lunch stop longer than planned with unfortunate consequences later.
As I approached the station at Kirkby-in-Furness the 14:59 train was pulling out. Without exaggeration I was only five minutes walk from the platform - that damned rucksack buckle.
I had anyway assumed that I would never be in time for that train, but it was peeving to have missed it by such a small margin. The next train was at 17:36.
I finished off the last of my coffee sat in the open-air shelter getting colder and colder and then, having stiffened up and approaching the point of hypothermia tottered off to the pub which by then had opened. I had a walk up and down the village, now in the dark, worrying about getting home - the 17:36 stopped at Kirkby "by request only" and I realised that if it didn't stop I could be stranded. I felt like a madman stood on the platform waving at the oncoming train. but all was well. A brilliant day except for the last two and half hours.
My camera became inadvertently switched to something called: "Creative Control, Impressive Art"
|Morning sun over Barrow harbour|
|Follow the pylons, ice puddles and urban sprawl approaching Barrow|
|Barrow town hall clock reflects the low morning sun|
|One of the many worthy buildings in Barrow - the old fire station - 1911|
|This overgrown circular, spiralling inwards wall I found alongside the A 590. The wall continues as a descending spiral inside the outer circle, but is difficult to see because of the vegetation - anybody any ideas?|
|Shoreline walking and distant Black Coombe|
|WW2 machine gun post. It has tumbled from above and now standing on its side - The Leaning Tower of Furness?|
|It says "Dateline" on the side - a forlorn hope now|
|Back across to Barrow (well endowed with pylons) from Lowsy Point|
|More of Lowsy Point shanty town|
|Askam in Furness across the Duddon estuary|
Click to enlarge.
|The blue route is from the station back to my last finishing point on the CCP|