Sunday, 29 September 2013

Walk 140

Creetown to Newton Stewart 8miles

A 7am start today so I could get home via a bus, train, plane and finally car.  The route from Creetown takes you along a disused railway line which is now a cycle route, this route takes you all the way to Newton Stewart and is very elevated so the views over the river Cree are fantastic.  It started to rain just as i arrived in Newton Stewart so I was spared a whole day of wet walking :)

Walk 139

Kirkcubright to Creetown 25.5miles

The day was cold and cloudy as I made my way out of Kirkcubright via the splendid castle they have right next to the river. I made my way along the B727 and at Gull Craig I managed to walk 20 yards along a beach for the first(and as it turns out) and only time this week, which was a bit of a novelty!

Kirkcudbright Castle
So I walked on through Brogue and onto Gatehouse of Fleet, at Gatehouse I picked up the A75 and I thought the roads I'd walked along all week were bad, this was a whole new level. The A75 is the main road for ferry traffic arriving from Stranraer so the lorries came thick and fast. At Laggan there was an escape road for 2 miles that runs parallel with the A75 and is such a relief from the thundering truck coming towards you at 70mph!!! The views from the escape road were spectacular and well worth the effort to walk up and down hills for 2 miles. The final few miles to Creetown were again along the A75 and very forgettable except the Castle at Carsluith which seems so out of place next to a busy road. When I arrived at the BNB for the night I had forgotten that I had booked a room with a four poster bed at no extra cost so that was a nice surprise and a bit of luxury to boot!

Mouth of the river Cree

Walk 138

Dalbeattie to Kirkcubright 18.5miles

I stopped in the Kings Arms in Dalbeattie last night and it was a great nights sleep and such a nice place to stay, the people who run the hotel are realy helpful and friendly. Another day of road walking started along the A711 to Palnackie followed by Dunrennon where there is another fantastic abbey ruin, once again this was to be my lunch stop for today. I followed the A711 for the rest of the day all the way to Kirkcubright. Overall a really nice calm and warm day.


Walk 137

Dumfries to Dalbeattie 24.5miles

New Abbey
I was able to avoid the busy A710 for 2 miles with a lovely walk along the river Nith, but alas that soon runs out and it was more mile after mile of road walking, this eventually led to New Abbey where I stopped for lunch and to take a photo of their fantastic abbey. The A710 continued through Kirkbean, Caulkerbust and Sandyhills. At Sandyhills I decided to walk along a country road that eventually meets up with the B793, this was a much nicer route where I actually got to see some deer in the forest I had to walk through...Bonus!!

Walk 136

Eastriggs to Dumfries 25miles
Dumfries Bridge

The day started with yet another battle into a fierce headwind. All of today's walk was to be along roads and frankly I'm a bit fed up with having to dodge traffic!

Criffel and Cows!
So the first village along the road was Durrock, at least there had been pavement up until this point but that soon ran out and I was once again in the lap of the gods for the next few miles. Eventually just after Annan I took a left turn along a much quieter road that led down to Prowfoot which is at least on the shoreline, and a nice village as well! The wind was still buffeting me which was making the going really slow, and then just when I thought things couldn't get any worse I got caught in a shower the likes of which I haven't seen in a long time!!! The road took me through Stank and onto Shearington where just after is the castle at Caverlock which I could only see from a distance but it looked very impressive. Soon the road turned north towards Dumfries and I got my first good look at the mountain Criffel it certainly looked imposing the closer you get to it and makes for a great photo.. I eventually arrived in Dumfries which is quite a nice town with a fantastic weir where I sat in the evening eating my fish and chips.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Walk 135

Bowness to Eastriggs 25.5miles

Burgh By Sands Knight
The forecast today was for wet and windy weather so the thought of 7hrs walking filled me with dread. I had my breakfast and the rain was falling steadily outside so afterwards I packed slowly and my slackness worked! the rain stopped just as I walked out of the door!!! I dashed down Bowness High St and stopped at the start/finish point of the Hadrians Wall Walk, I thought I had better make the effort as I would be walking a section today all the way to Carlisle. Unfortunately there is no wall left at this end, but there is a nicely marked trail that follows the route of where the wall used to be.

Welcome to Scotland
Hadrians Wall Start/Finish
Most of today's walk was along roads and extremely flat, so I trudged on through the villages of Port Carlisle and Burgh By Sands eventually arriving in Carlisle. At Stainton (Nr Carlisle) there is a new road that takes you across the River Eden, this means that you no longer have to walk all the way into Carlisle and back out again. This road eventually meets up with B road that takes you over the border into Scotland at Gretna Green. I stopped at the petrol station in Gretna for a sandwich and to my surprise everyone sounded like a Geordie! I had expected as soon as I crossed the border to Scotland that I would hear nothing but Scottish accents but no, how wrong could I be? The final hour of the day was a complete nightmare as the rain they promised 6 hours ago finally turned up complete with gale force winds straight in my face, I arrived in Eastriggs as wet as if I had been out in it all day....but at least I hadn't!!

Walk 134

Siloth to Bowness 23miles

Must be Roman!
The wind was howling as I started out today, it was fierce yesterday but today was another level! I walked out of town and my first stop was Skinburness, here the road follows the marshes around the river Waver. I decided early on not to risk taking the scenic route across the marshes, even though it was way marked I was only wearing my walking shoes so I didn't fancy wet feet for most of the day

As I walked along the road around the estuary the small villages came thick and fast Abbeytown, Newton Arlosh, Angerton and Whitrigg to name but a few. At Bowrigg I was finally able to walk along the river for a while but this soon turned inland and I had to eventually walk across a very muddy farmers field to bring me back to the road at Applegarth. The rest of the walk was along roads but I got my first proper view of the Scottish coast and the big mountain that is Criffel, it look very large and looming on the horizon but thankfully I have go around it! Really hard on my feet today, sunny for most of the day but the WIND....don't get me started!

The BNB in Bowness is great and the room I have has the thickest duvet I have ever slept under, it must be 600 Tog!!!!

Walk 133

Parton to Silloth 24.5miles

The day started with a road climb towards Lowca, this was a bit of a novelty as most of the last 200 miles had been on the flat and in fact I think it was Llandudno since I last walked up a hill this steep!

Half a mile after Lowca a sign pointing towards the sea informed me I was walking on the Solway Coast Path, this was news to me because once again this is not marked on the map but I followed the sign anyway, this took me along the coast to Harrington and on towards Workington. Just before Workington there is a path on your left hand side that takes you up a very big hill which looks like it will lead you around the coast but is in fact a dead end!! So I chose to take the path that runs parallel with the railway line, this eventually leads you to a shopping complex, just after this you have to cross the Northside Bridge, this bridge is brand new as the original was washed away in the floods of 2009. Once over the bridge you pick up the No72 cycle route again, this takes you through Flimby and onto Maryport.  I must say Maryport is a seaside town that has made and effort to change with the times and is playing to their strengths, there is a lot of info about their Roman heritage and its just a delight to walk around.

Maryport Fishermen
The last 13 miles all the way to Silloth was along a busy coast road, unfortunatly you cant walk along the sands dunes as there are signs every few hundred yards asking you to keep off the dunes dune to coastal erosion!

I arrived in Silloth in exactly 7 hours and what a lovely place ( except the big ugly factory on the outskirts!) The village green on the front is just fantastic.

Walk 132

Ravenglass to Parton 23miles

St Bees
An early start today so I could catch my train/plane home. The day was bright and clear and as I made my way across the rail/footbridge towards Drigg I decided to try to take a short cut, I'd seen on the map that there maybe a route across a field to a river crossing at Hall Carleton but alas there was no bridge! So I back tracked and made my way around the country roads to cross the river at church style. The road then led me to the beach at Drigg the tide was out and I was looking forward to a nice long beach walk to but sadly this came to an abrupt end at Sellafield, the nuclear power station had decided on an extension so you are not allowed on their part of the beach until the end of 2013! So I trudged inland to Beckermet and then made my way to the beach, but by the time I arrived the tide had come in so I had to walk the next 3.5miles along very up and down country roads all the way to St Bees. The views from this part of today's journey were spectacular and it must be said that had I walked along the beach I would of missed a lot today.
At St Bees you are able to get on the cliff top path that takes you all the way to Whitehaven, this is a fantastic walk with views to die for in all directions, it also takes in the lovely lighthouse at St Bees head.

St Bees Lighthouse
Whitehaven Marina
St Bees is also the start/finish point of the coast to coast walk which eventually ends up on the east coast at Robin Hoods Bay. I arrived in Whitehaven and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was with its lovely marina and some very upmarket restaurants! The last few miles to Parton takes you along the seafront via the very nice No72 cycle route, I arrived at the station in Parton 45mins early which gave me time to reflect whilst eating my pasty what a really nice and varied days walk today was.

Walk 131

Millom to Ravenglass 22miles

Hod Barrow Lighthouse
Today was a much better day with sunshine and showers in the forecast. I left the BNB with a spring in my step and made my way around the bay to Haverigg via a great lighthouse at Hod Barrow. At Haverigg I managed to hop onto the beach and this took me all the way to Stilecroft, I thought long and hard at Stilecroft on whether I should carry on along the beach as the tide was coming in fast but I risked it and made it to Gutenby where I was able to climb up the cliff to meet the path at the top.

Cold Fell
A lot of the cliff top paths have way markers but they are not marked on the map so this must be quite a new route. Eventually the cliff path runs out and this took me along a quiet road for a few miles, taking me through Bootle and this in turn led down to the coast road. This road takes you past a MOD rifle range and onto a road that is impassible at high tide, now I had seen a few road signs warning me of this fact but I chose to ignore them thinking that the road may have a splashing of water on it but how wrong was I? The road was 2 feet underwater!!! so what I did next is classified and has no place on this blog other to say that judging by the fact the fences on both side of the river were squashed down I'm not the only person to take this course of action!!!!

Once on the other side of the river I walked downstream for 1/2mile and then the route took me inland through Muncaster Park via Romannn bath ruin, this lead onto Ravenglass which is a really nice village and the highlight was a great pub on the railway platform that does fantastic food.

Romann Bath Ruins

Walk 130

Ulverston to Askam 14miles

It rained a lot, there were roads, it was foggy and I couldn't see much, a pretty depressing day. I skirted around Barrow in Furness and the finish couldn't come quick enough.

Walk 129

Lancaster to Cairnforth 18miles
Heysham NPS

It's a few weeks since I had abandon my last walking holiday so I was hopeful that the weather would be a little better by now, but I was wrong!

As I stepped from the train in Lancaster the rain was pouring down, I tried to follow the map and failed so I did the sensible thing and looked for the river I had to cross, eventually I found the river and made my way upstream. The map showed a bridge almost in the town centre but what it didn't show was there is also a pedestrian bridge that runs next to the railway line so that was a added bonus to a soggy start. Once across the river I headed upstream and this took me through Salt Ayre which has a large gym and recreational area this all looked very new, and so was the path along the river as it wasn't marked on my map. Just after Salt Ayre I picked up the road that took me into Middleton and onto Heysham. Heysham is a lovely village but unfortunate it lies in the shadow of a nuclear power station, its such a shame and a real blot on the landscape . After Heysham the rain stopped and I picked up a promenade walk which took me all the way to Morecambe, this route takes in Sandylands which is a sad run down seaside resort desperate for investment, such a shame as the view across the bay is fantastic. I stopped in Morecambe for a sandwich and to have my photo taken with the statue of Eric Morecambe who is still a hero of mine.
Once the promenade runs out you have to head across marsh land, I had to play hopscotch with many a pot hole, its quite fun and a pleasant change from walking along roads. The tide was a long way out when I walked this section so I wouldn't know how to proceed if it was high tide, the route takes you through Hest Bank and Bolton le Sands and finally onto Cairnforth.