Sunday, 16 August 2009

Whitehaven to Gretna - 28/29 July 2009 - 77 Miles

Carlisle to Gretna - 12 Miles
I took the early train from Birmingham to Carlisle. The journey was disrupted because someone had stolen signal cabling from the side of the track overnight. In the event, I was only 15 minutes late into Carlisle. There was some rain as the train passed by the Lake District, but it remained fine, but fairly cloudy for almost the rest of the day. The temperature was not too hot - ideal for cycling.

Leaving Carlisle at 1015, I cycled 12 miles to Gretna via Rockcliffe, which is a small village with an attractive church. Leaving Rockcliffe there is a nice view of Castletown House. Apart from this, the road is fairly featureless with an approach to Gretna along a new road which runs parallel to the recently extended M6. Gretna, where I arrived at 1145, turned out to be something of a disappointment, although in fairness, I didn't visit the main tourist attractions.

I then travelled by bus to Whitehaven via Carlisle. My folding bike fitted in really well.

Whitehaven to Maryport - 15 Miles
Whitehaven is a bustling town with an attractive port, largely given over to pleasure craft. Leaving at 1500, I cycled via Lowca, an former coal mining town and through Workington where I arrived at 1615. I saw little of this town as the route passes through miles of parkland until the River Derwent is crossed over an old railway bridge.

The route onwards followed the line of the main road until a cycle track dipped into
breezy and wet Maryport at 1700. I stayed the night at the Waverley Hotel which had the advantage of being cheap, but had seen better days.

Maryport to Carlisle - 50 Miles
I made a start at 0700 the following day and rode along the sea front through Allonby (0800) (Famous for ice cream), and Silloth (photo) (0900)which has a busy port. The route then took me through Abbeytown (0930) (little of the Abbey left, but the stones much in evidence in local houses), Newton Arlosh (1000), Anthorn (1100), Cardurnock (1130) to Bowness on Solway (1200). From here the route follows the lone of Hadrian's Wall with views of Scotland across the Solway Firth. All that remains of Hadrian's Wall is an earth bank which runs all the way to Carlisle.

At 1300. I stopped at the pub (next to the statue of Edward I) in Burgh by Sands where I had a superb filled potato. The onwards via a very muddy cycle track by the River Eden and back into Carlisle (1500). I had time to look around Carlisle and found it to be a very interesting city. Great effort had been made to preserve as much as possible of the old parts of the city (including an impressive cathedral).

Then back to Carlisle Station and another delayed and diverted journey home.

Photographs of the trip

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