Day One: St Bees to Ennerdale

Day One of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast: St Bees to Ennerdale; 22.5 km, weather: overcast at start, then hot and sunny.

An exhilarating stride along sea cliffs leads to a stint of orienteering across farmland, through small towns recovering from industrial collapse and over an outlying minor fell to a secret valley and the gates of Lakeland. Martin Waignwright, “The Coast to Coast Walk”, p. 5

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After a delightful English breakfast, courtesy of our wonderful host Nicola at Fairladies’ Barn B & B, we set off along the coast. The walk today was fairly straight forward. After collecting our customary rocks to carry over England we travelled toward the lighthouse passing a rookery with thousands of coastal birds perched on any foothold on the cliffs that they could find. Both the smell and the noise forewarned us of the rookery.

On arrival at the lighthouse we farewelled the sea and began our journey inland toward our first stop of Ennerdale. Our track notes were courtesy of Martin Wainwright and Alfred Wainwright, no relation to each other!  En route to Ennerdale we passed through a number of small villages, the first being Sandwith and thence Moor Row, a most accommodating township which welcomes passing walkers. Beyond Moor Row we climbed up The Dent (352m), through Cleator Moor on the ascent and Uldale Plantation on the descent. With the grass quite dry and slippery we decided to make good use of the conditions and slid down a good portion of the dent on our backsides. We got up a good head of steam sliding and fortunately did not do any damage to limbs or clothing! At the foot of the Dent we took a left turn through Nannycatch Gate and along Nannycatch Beck. This was a delightfully beautiful stretch of the walk and being blessed by fine weather the picturesque crags and and hills made for a most pleasant walk through to Ennerdale Bridge. Whilst waiting for our host to pick us up we treated ourselves at The Shepherd’s Arms Pub to a pint of the publican’s finest and a packet of crisps-absolute heaven at the end of a day’s hiking. Whilst sitting on a fence outside the pub, enjoying this feast one of the local “dobbins” sauntered up behind me and gave me a friendly nudge in the back, as if to say, “what about my crisps matey”!

Soon after our host, publican John, picked us up and drove us to our night’s lodgings The Parkside Hotel, at Cleator Moor. What appeared to be a rather ramshackle affair, turned out to be quite comfortable and the steaks we scoffed our way through were ideal fare after our journey. After dinner I tried an ale named after Alfred Wainwright. It was a good drop and interspersed with our publican’s tales of living in Sydney, I found myself dropping off to sleep at around 9pm. My spies tell me that I did a good rendition of a small chainsaw. Mmmm…. food for thought!

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1. The entranceway and historic door- St Bees  2. The Interior of StBees Chapel  3. Exterior view of the chapel

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4. Ann selecting her rock to carry over England  5. Noticeboard at the start of the walk.
6. View of St Bees looking back from the trail.

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7- 9. More picture of St Bees and the northern coastline, as we make our way further along the track.

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10 & 11. Looking north, as we head toward the lighthouse. Although a calm day today, one wonders at what it would be like in more adverse conditions. 12. The last picture above shows the rookeries which you smelt well before they came into sight.

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13. The Rookery looking down from the viewpoint on the cliff’s edge.   14. St Bee’s Birds!  15. St Bee’s Lighthouse
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16-18. Our last views of the ocean and coastline for seventeen days!

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19-20. Looking inland with The Dent in the far distance of the first photo.

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21 & 23. Picturesque walking trails abound.  22. Monument to Wainwright and the Coast to Coast walk

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24. Ann in the outskirts of Moor Row with The Dent in the distance. 25. The second picture is from The Dent looking back toward Moor Row and Blackbow Wood. 26. Having reached the top of The Dent we chose to slide down the other side, as shown in the third picture.     

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27-29. From The Dent looking toward Nannycatch Gate and two shots taken in Nannycatch Beck.

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30 & 31.The final stretch toward Ennerdale Bridge and the end of Day One!

 

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