Sunday, 21 November 2010

Whitehaven to Hycemoor (Bootle) - 25 September

I took the 0624 London Midland train from Hampton in Arden, arriving in Birmingham New Street at 0639 where I changed to the 0657 Cross Country Voyager which arrived at Stafford by 0729. A short wait saw me on the 0735 Virgin Pendolino which arrived at Lancaster at 0852. Th slowest part of my journey was the 0902 Northern Trains service from Lancaster which took almost 2 1/2 hours to reach Whitehaven at1127.

There was room on the train to assemble the bike, so I was quickly on my way through this attractive seaport. The town is not big enough to allow any unsightly commercial development and the waterfront area had bebefitted from a recent refurbishment. Almost immediately, I was into a stiff climb to "The Beacon" followed by a ride to St Bees (1215) via Sandwith and Rottington.

St Bees is a quaint town, virtually intouched by development. Following a stop to take a few photos, I cycled along the quiet coast road through Nethertown (1235) and Braystones (1245) with its attractive river views. , turning inland to Beckermet.

From Beckermet, the route follows a disused to meet the sea at Sellafield. I had expected that the Sallafield Complex would dominate the whole area but, apart from the tall chimneys, very little can be seen of the works until the access road is reached. With the seaon the right, a track follows the railway line with Sellafield on the left, over low dunes until Seascale is reached (1330). With a bit of investment in the buildings in the centre, Seascale would be a very attractive and tidy little resort, but it is currently spoiled by one or two eyesores.

Inland again to Drigg (1345) which was celebrating its Harvest Festival by displaying scarecrow figures in a variety of identities - Postman, canoist, maid etc. The display certainly brightened up my journey through the village. Afterwards, Holmrock and Ravenglass (1415) which was approached by a narrow footpath slung over the river below the railway bridge.

Ravenglass is beautifully sited on green banks, on the edge of the Irish Sea with the backdrop of the Lake District mountains - a perfect place for walking, cycling, or just being. I enjoyed my refreshments whilst seated on a conveniently situated bench.

To the south of Ravenglass is a ford over the River Esk, but I decided to cycle round to Newbiggin by the A595 which, for much of its length had a cycle path to segregate the traffic. From there, it was a minor road past Eskmeals Range to Hycemoor Station (1530) and the Lancashire Banking Comany building which was established in 1826.

It seemed strange to put my hand out to stop a train, but that's what you do in these parts and I was soon on my way coutesy of the 1605 Northern Trains service to Barrow in Furness (1653), where I refreshed myself at the local Wetherspoon pub. Then, back to the station to catch the 1803 which took me to Preston for 1930. A longish wait then ensued before the 2213 Virgin service whisked me off to Birmingham New Street. There followed a short wait until the 2213 London Midland train took me back to Hampton in Arden and the parked car.

See the photographs

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