Dipping our toes into Cumbria

We ventured beyond Lancashire County this week and got a taste of Cumbria, just to the north of us.  A bus to Morcambe, a train to Lancaster, and another train to Silverdale, and we were set! Cumbria is known for its rugged coasts and beautiful scenery; the little bit we saw did not dissapoint.

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We quickly found the first sign for the public footpath and headed towards the village of Silverdale.  I still find the whole concept of the public footpath very bizarre.  There is no way, in Canada or the US, people would be permitted to wander around through private property.  In the UK, it is entirely a different matter.  Public rights of way are provided for by the laws of England, Wales, and Scotland.  On this day, alone, we followed signs guiding us through a golf course, through a field of cattle, and right past someone’s house on their private driveway (that felt particularly wrong to me).

Imagine tramping across a golf course in your hiking boots! We actually saw golfers on the course and wondered how often they aim for the ramblers.

Imagine tramping across a golf course in your hiking boots! We actually saw golfers on the course and wondered how often they aim for the ramblers.

There are many times I look around and think of someone in particular.  I want to share the things I see with others, so I snap pictures.  I dash these pictures off via facebook or in an email or text.  Most often, I think of my mom.  We share a love of stone walls and buildings, plants and trees, and especially mosses, lichens, and fungi.  I stop to take pictures of the tiniest details.  Meanwhile, thankfully, Karen is watching for signs and landmarks and getting us to our destination.  Left to my own devices, I’d still be wandering around, days later, looking at some flowering shrub I’d never seen before.

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Mom, I couldn’t walk past this amazing tree and all the life forms it is supporting without taking a picture.

In addition to protecting wildlife and habitat, preserving the nation’s heritage, promoting locally and sustainably produced food, The National Trust is also preserving 775 miles (1247 km) of coastline and keeping it accessible to the public.

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In the words of my friend, Cath, “The best walks are off the tarmac.”  So true, Cath.  So very true.

We sloshed through this mucky field…20160106_103558

crossed this very questionable (and ridiculously narrow) bridge…

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and eventually found the section of the Cumbria Coastal Way we were looking for.

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It’s a little embarrassing how fascinated I am by cows.  I consider myself a prairie girl now, but I grew up in northern Canada where there were no cows (Uranium City, Sakatchewn, to be exact, almost 50 km from the Northwest Territories).  I still remember a childhood trip to the farm of a great aunt and uncle after which I filled 3 or 4 pages of my photo album with pictures of cows (and none of my great aunt and uncle!).  At first, I am usually a bit afraid to get near them; then, I realize there’s no other way around.  Eventually, I just can’t get close enough!

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These cows (should I be saying cattle?  I never know) really caught my eye with their distinctive white stripes.  Not only that, but check out how hairy they are!  They looked so soft and fluffy, I almost wanted to pet them (not unlike the time the polar bear stuck its head in the window of our tundra buggy on a trip to Churchill, Manitoba, but that’s another story).  It turns out they are Belted Galloways, also known as Belties and, not surprisingly, oreo cookie cows.

 

 

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Breath taking just doesn’t quite sum up the views along this walk.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to stop and stare.  Words and pictures can’t come close to doing justice to the experience.  I describe this feeling as heart-swelling.  So often, when I am hiking, I experience a physical reaction to the beauty around me.

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Of course, there are also the physical sensations in reaction to scrambling over slippery rocks, climbing up muddy paths, and ‘pushing bush’ along the way.  All part of the fun!

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The walk from Silverdale to Arnside is apparently only about 3 miles.  It took us about 2 1/2 hours (stopping to take pictures, look out over the water, and commune with the Belties must have really slowed us down). We walked along the promenade of Arnside and stopped for a hearty lunch.  After that, it was time to sit on the pier and take in the stunning views of the estuary of the River Kent.  Here the train crosses the river along the viaduct.

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As I watched the play of light and shadow on the water as the clouds floated by, my mind was drawn to my many artist friends who would be able to work magic with paints, pencil, ink, fabric, and thread.  I had to settle for taking it all in and hoping that a few pictures might bring me back to this beautiful spot in the future.

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Dipping our toes into Cumbria

  1. Loving the blog! Especially that water/ viaduct photo! It’s almost making me homesick….definitely making me look forward to our time in UK this year!

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  2. To heck with the white of the snow outside, I am totally green with envy. Last night after curling, Rick Gamble asked me why I would leave such a beautiful country. He and Carla have been watching old British shows such as Heartbeat. If there is one thing that I truly miss it’s the ability to walk in the countryside and never have to share the path with a car. The British right of way was established centuries ago but needs walkers to maintain that right of way. But the ability to get away and see such lush scenery is denied us. I loved the Lake District and have been there several times in my earlier life. As school army cadets we used to go on arduous training. This was always in the spring and we would camp in the valleys. Next day we would walk over the mountain to a pub for lunch ( we were barely of age 18). Then walk over another mountain and set camp for the night. Down to the pub for a night cap. With my parents, we camped near Lake Coniston and from there we toured and hiked the surrounding mountains. We dragged along the kayak I made at school and my brother and I paddled Coniston waters. That vacation was not for sun worshippers and the farmer had to tow our car out of the field. My cousin Anita Lobban (check FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/anita.lobban) Lives in Sale, Cheshire and is a member of the SW Manchester Nordic Walking (https://www.facebook.com/swmanchesternordicwalking/?fref=nf). If you are inclined, I’m sure she would be welcoming. But, she’s a busy person having retired from the Middle East back to England. Your report and photos evoke such memories and I appreciate them immensely. Enjoy, be safe and stay dry, David

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  3. While the landscapes are gorgeous and the footpaths are phenomenal, you won’t catch me camping, David! I hesitate to contact any walking groups, as we just aren’t up for the distances these groups usually do! 10 or 12 miles through the country. I’m just not tough enough. I will check out the facebook page, though. Thanks.

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  4. This is a very good blog, would like to know more. I guess you are not from UK originally. Some great photos too. Keep up the good work!
    Georgie

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  5. Wow! You sure look to be enjoying your ‘travels’……. Dipping into blogs at random – as per today’s assignment – brings me here. Super. Hope to be keeping in touch…Recognised some of these places…… 😉 Be ‘seeing’ you. 🙂

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  6. Your photos are wonderful. What a lovely place to be able to amble through. I agree with your assessment – breathtaking.

    (visiting from Blogging 101)

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  7. Georgie, I am from Canada and have now been in the UK for just over 2 months. Everything is new (or old, as it were) and different to me. Such a great experience!

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  8. Hello Leah
    For day 9 assignment we have to write about a blog which has inspired us. I’m choosing your blog, as you seem like a bit of a wanderer, like myself, who likes adventure and exploring new places. So if I know how to, I will put a link to your blog on mine, then hopefully others will be inspired to go on adventures! Are you house sitting st the moment? When we’ve had enough or are too old for our boat, I think we would do house sitting abroad. Enjoy the rest of your time in the UK, we are currently in Hampshire, near the south coast.
    Georgie

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  9. G, I haven’t even read today’s assignment, but I am honoured that you selected my blog as one that is inspirational.

    We are house sitting. It is such an amazing opportunity. I can not say enough good things about it! Now, I had better get to the assignment. Thank you!

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  10. Hi Leah
    I’m enjoying your blob immensely. It brings back many fond memories of the year I lived in Derbyshire. Great Britain is a spectacularly beautiful country and I hope to one day return.
    Your photos and notes are wonderful. Keep them coming!
    Leslie Johnson. (Quilting friend)

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  11. I just love your walking adventures! It makes our trip to the UK one day that much more anticipated by the increased walking opportunities not usually found in the US and Canada! Beautiful pictures, and as an animal science major, I love the fuzzy oreo cows too 🙂 🙂

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  12. Thanks, Francesca. This really is a walker’s paradise. Even though there are still places we can’t get to (or don’t have the necessary hip waders) due to the recent flooding, there are still far more places to explore than we will have time for.

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