Day 21

Wed 21 Oct:  Barrow to St Bees

Close to throwing in the towel today after hearing the forecast.  Gale force westerly winds, heavy rain. All day.

Thankfully, most of it came through over night. The morning brought with it a mere blustery, showery start. Each of these brief showers seemed a bit grimy and coincided with the elbow brushing, face spraying experience of being overtaken by a fast moving, very heavy goods vehicle. Was I caught up in a race to get out of Barrow in Furness?   I can’t pretend that I’ve formed much of a bond here but at least this busy industrial port still appreciates the need for it’s Lifeboat.  Maybe I’ll give it another go one fine, bright day. Maybe not.

Thirty minutes later, stunning western Lake District scenery. Rainbows, misty mountains. Up a dale, down a dale, in & around West Cumbrian estuaries, over peninsulas. Lovely to look at but hard work on the climbs.

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A shorter, tougher day today. Expected at a not so busy St Bees around 2pm. Ravenous on arrival at the beach cafe, about an hour late. Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity Dick (LOM) and Colin (LPO) here in St Bees. It’s not every day that one is treated to a jumbo Cumberland sausage baguette (late lunch), a spare inner tube and an air bed. The offer of free accommodation so close to the ultimate beach cafe, coinciding with a sudden worsening of the weather sealed the deal. Workington, today’s initial destination, will now be tomorrow’s first call.

Puns apart, I was impressed by the busyness of St Bees. Its railway station, shops, excellent café, great Lifeboat station (click St Bees Lifeboat to see their cool Facebook page and scroll down to 21 October), good beach, lovely people, choice of good pubs … a hive of activity.  Chef’s special at The Manor Inn, catch of the day – red snapper. Nicely cooked with crispy skin. Good beer too. Thwaite’s Wainright on draught. A tribute to the inspiring, late, great Lake District fell walker, author and illustrator Arthur Wainright. Local enough.

I slept well, apart from a curious incident with two dogs, a man and a flash lamp in the night time.  At 3.30 a.m. a powerful beam of light swept across the beach and through the boathouse windows.  Then short, bright flashes. First thought: Police? Wrong. A quick, cautious peep revealed a glimpse of a silhouetted man with two long-legged dogs straining at the leash.  Lamping!  i.e. hunting for rabbits by dazzling the bunnies motionless then releasing the silent hounds.  No chase, no catch witnessed.  So no rabbit on the menu tomorrow.

Day 22