Friday, 1 June 2012

Green Road to Askam in Furness - 26 May 2012 - 13 miles

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I was hoping that this would be the last trip to this area as I had planned to cover the the remaining distance of 18 miles in Cumbria that I had not previously walked or biked.  In the event, I failed due to the heat, stomach  aches and losing time threading my way along Duddon Sands.  Having said that, I intend to be back, probably during the Autumn or Winter to polish off the remaining 5 miles and possibly take in some other attraction.

The journey by train to Cumbria was exactly the same as the trip last month except that I left the train at Green Road station and started to walk at 1035.  Before setting out, I made the decision to walk through as many villages as possible, rather than keep strictly to the Cumbria Coast Path which can be a little tedious at time and, in any case is incomplete in places.
The Green
Immediately, I was rewarded for my choice by some lovely countryside in the foothills of the Lake District and two attractive villages in the first two miles.  The Green boasted a stream that meandered through the village and no fewer than two pack horse bridges.  Further on at the romantically named village of Lady Hall (1115 - 1.8 miles), there were some traditional stone built houses, although a number of them had been rendered and painted white - It looks pretty, but doesn't seem right against the looming mountains.  Walking on, I joined the A595 for a short distance to Duddon Bridge (1145 - 3.4 miles).  The traffic here was light and was negotiated without any drama.  The traffic lights at Duddon Bridge held up the traffic to allow me to take pictures of the superb views up and downstream.
From Duddon Bridge
My route now took me away from the main road and along an Idyllic stretch by the River Duddon, a short distance along a footpath by the A595 and into Broughton in Furness (1215 - 4.4 miles).  This was the most attractive village I passed through on the day.  It had a thriving centre with busy local shops, a well turned out pub and an impressively massive stone built church.  At one time a railway ran from Foxfield through Broughton to Coniston, but was closed in 1962.
Broughton in Furness
Passing the old railway station buildings, I made my way along the track bed and the footpath alongside the A595 to Foxfield (1250 - 6 miles).  Although clearly marked on my map, Foxfield consists only of a pub and magnificent white painted wooden signal box.  The Furness Railway has not been modified in the least which is very evident from the semaphore signalling to the manned level crossing - I suppose the lack of technical progress in this area does present greater employment options for the local people!
Foxfield Station
The remainder of my walk was along the Cumbria Coastal Way, passing over the level crossing below Foxfield and following initially the minor road, then a cross country footpath into Kirkby in Furness (1355 - 9 miles).  This was the least interesting parts of the walk across fairly featureless countryside with only a couple of tumble down stone farmhouses to break the monotony.  Kirkby itself is a straggling hotch potch of buildings despite being set in lovely rolling countryside and I was glad to cross the railway at the station bridge and begin walking along Duddon Sands.
Kirkby in Furness
The way here is ill defined and you have to find your own way between the railway and the tidal margins of Duddon Sands.  After some practice, I found the best route to take where possible is to follow the high mark of the sands where it merges into pasture land. The sand is fairly firm and quite easy to walk along and the walker is rewarded with some nice views over the estuary towards Millom and behind towards the heights of the Lake District.
Duddon Sands near Askam in Furness Towards Millom
Having lost my way across the golf course, I reached Askam in Furness (1515 - 13 miles) and had a little time to explore this rather dilapidated town. I was, however, impressed by the cast iron fountain which had been erected to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and had recently acquired a fresh coat of paint for the forthcoming celebrations.  Soon, the bus arrived and I was the only passenger the whole route into Barrow.  I had refreshments at the customary Wetherspoons before boarding the train home via Preston and Birmingham.
Drinking fountain at Askam

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Next trips - Subject to possible revision

Saturday 30 June - Southwold to Aldeburgh

28, 29, 30 July - Welcombe (Devon) to Tintagel (Cornwall)

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