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2021 Is Cumbria’s Year Of The Coast. β›΅πŸŸπŸŒž

I have recently found out that 2021 has been named Cumbria’s Year Of The Coast ! Many people flock to the lovely Lake District , yet the  county also has over 100 miles of diverse coastline to explore. Known for its secluded beaches, coastal walks & wildlife and dramatic sunsets, Cumbria’s coastline is very much a hidden gem.

So I thought I would share some of my own moments by the sea as well as note down a few places I would like to visit next time I’m in the area. Happily my August Summer holiday will be split between two seaside settlements this year. We have our usual weekend away with friends booked in Ravenglass plus the four following nights further South of the county in Arnside. Happy days. πŸ™‚

Allonby.  A former fishing village, Allonby was also a popular Victorian sea bathing resort. It retains some interesting old buildings including the handsome Reading Rooms built by Alfred Waterhouse , who went on to design London’s Natural History Museum & Strangeways Prison.  Charles Dickens and fellow writer Wilkie Collins  stayed two nights at The Ship Hotel on their 1857 walking tour of Cumberland, after Collins badly sprained his ankle in the Lakeland fells.   Today the village is popular with painters who love the light and Solway sunsets.  The beach is a mixture of dunes, shingle & sand , perfect for walking the pooch.  A great place to indulge in Fish & Chips is the local chippy ‘The Cod Father’.  Where to stay ~ the former home of artist Percy Kelly is a beautifully renovated holiday cottage. Percy Kelly’s Cottage.

Scenes from Allonby.

Arnside.  The views over Morecambe Bay toward the Lake District are stunning from the charming seaside resort of Arnside. Pretty shops, tea rooms and pubs line the sea front. A Victorian promenade and small pier adorn the village and the beach is sandy but tidal, so visitors must beware of changing tides. Organized Cross Bay walks are a popular hiking route from Arnside to nearby Kent Bank.  Every few weeks a siren sounds in the village, warning of a natural phenomenon  called a tidal bore , a fast  incoming wave that sweeps across the estuary.  Where to Stay ~  enjoy scenic  views over the bay  from  Ye Olde Fighting Cocks  pub with rooms.

Arnside with the viaduct in the distance.
Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk.

Baycliff.  Our first holiday with  Hugo was in a beachside cottage at Baycliff, a small former fishing and farming community that looks over Morecambe Bay.  Baycliff  has a pretty village green and two pubs. A vast beach of shingle and sand offers ample opportunity for walks and bird watching , a two mile stroll east brings ice cream ( or coffee and cake ) rewards if you drop by  Bardsea’s Chill & Grill . Also nearby is Ulverstons Buddhists Temple for World Peace whose gardens, woodland trails, beach, cafe and gift shop are open to everyone. Where to stay ~  practically on the beach if you can at the nautically inspired Driftwood Cottage.

The beach at Baycliff.

St Bees.  Alfred Wainwright recommends that walkers dip their boots in the North Sea at St Bees , the starting point of his Coast To Coast Walking Route. 182 miles later and those aching feet can seek solace in the sea at Robins Hood Bay.  For me a wander along St Bees sandy beach or atop it’s red sandstone cliffs is quite enough.  RSPB St Bees Head is home to colonies of seabirds including  guillemot and razorbill. And the 11th century priory in the village dedicated to St Mary and St Bega features some colourful stained glass windows.   Where to Stay ~ Former Railway waiting room transformed into comfortable self catering accommodation. The Station House.

Sea Pinks and the Start  of the Coast To Coast walk.
St Bega Statue. Image ~ Contours.co.uk

Bowness-on-Solway.  Bowness is a small coastal village which was once the site of a sea facing Roman fort called Maia. Situated on the Western edge of Hadrian’s Wall ( no longer visible), the settlement is the start/finish of another long distance walking route, the Hadrian’s Wall Path. There are a couple of pubs , a cafe and  free range chickens were wandering along the village road when we visited last year. The Scottish coastline is clearly seen over the Solway Firth and nature lovers have The Solway Wetlands Centre and RSPB Campfield Marsh to explore. Where to stay ~  Glamp in luxury in a fully equipped wooden pod at Wallsend Guest House & Glamping.

RSPB Campfield Marsh.

Grange Over Sands. It was the railway that brought well heeled Victorians to Grange, turning it from a small fishing village to a genteel holiday resort. With its pretty gardens along the promenade and vast views over Morecambe Bay ,the town is a lovely place to visit. Over time the sands have shifted and it is salt marsh meadows that  now seperate Grange over Sands from the sea. There are a good selection of independent shops and businesses in town, a park with an ornamental duck pond and the Save Grange Lido group continues  its campaign for the restoration of the 1930s marshside art deco lido. Where to stay ~ relax in style whilst taking in the views. Bay Villa bed & Breakfast.

Grange Over Sands.
Morecambe Bay potted shrimps.
Grange Lido. Image ~ Air Pixels Media.

Haverigg. Situated at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary, Haveriggs golden sandy beaches have Blue Flag Status. The village has a recently opened Wake Board & Water Park , guaranteed fun for all ages! And RSPB Hodbarrow Lagoon is within walking distance. Look out for the 7 tonne sculpture ‘ Escape To Light’ by Josefina de Vasconcellos , situated by the Haverigg Inshore Rescue Station. Where To Stay ~ Family & dog friendly camping and glamping options at Harbour Lights Campsite .

Haverigg cottages.
Port Haverigg Aqua Park ~ photo from their Facebook page.

Maryport. A seaside resort with a rich maritime history and once the location of a Roman port, Maryport enjoys access to a vast sand & shingle beach and all the amenities of a typical coastal town. The Lake District Coast Aquarium is based here as well as the Senhouse Roman Museum on the promenade. Bob over to the village of Mawbray to stock up on local cheeses from The Cheese Shed. Where To Stay ~ Ann’s Hill Lodge & Cottage in nearby Bridekirk for a romantic getaway.

Senhouse Roman Museum. Photo ~ Senhouse Roman Museum. .
Miles of golden sands , Maryport. Photo ~ A Ball.

Ravenglass. The charming and sleepy estuary village of Ravenglass is the perfect place to chill with an ice cream ( if you can find the almost hidden Ice cream Hut ) on the rocky shore. Ravenglass is the only Cumbrian coastal settlement to be included in the Lake District National Park. Wast water, England’s deepest lake is 20 minutes drive away. Discover more of Lakeland by venturing on the The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway whose steam trains take visitors on a seven mile journey through the spectacular Eskdale countryside. Travellers can hunt for waterfalls, secluded tarns and enjoy a pint at the Woolpack Inn, recently voted Cumbria’s best pub. Where to stay ~ the railway station in Ravenglass has sympathetically restored two Pullman Coaches into quirky self catering accommodation.

Ravenglass Estuary.
All aboard the Ratty Railway.
Seven go to Eskmeals Nature Reserve ( a short drive from Ravenglass). Photo ~ F Middleton.

Silecroft. Silecroft it seems, is all about the beach! When the tide is out a vast expanse of shingle and sand appears, making it popular with horse riders, dog walkers and kite flyers. Both Murthwaite Green trekking centre and Cumbrian Heavy Horses offer beach riding , the formers horses appear galloping along the sands in the opening credits of Country file. The slopes of Black Combe Fell offer a scenic backdrop to Silecrofts seascape and rare Natterjack toads breed in the area. The beach has free parking, toilets and a shoreside cafe and there is a pub and store in the village. Where to stay ~ admire Silecroft Sunsets from a beautiful beach side cabin with hot tub .

Cumbrian Heavy Horses. Photo ~ Cumbrian Heavy Horses.
Wren enjoying the views. Photo ~ B Hudson.

Silloth. With its wide tree lined streets and attractive town green, Silloth-on-Solway is a classic example of a Victorian seaside resort. Victorians would come here to enjoy the mild climate and invigorating sea air, visitors today can enjoy those too as well as a lively year long programme of events held on the green. The town benefits from a sandy stretch of beach with dunes , a terraced promenade and amusent arcades. Other attractions in Silloth include a Vintage Motorcycle Museum and the unique Big Fella Sculpture by artist Ray Lonsdale. Where to stay ~ the Greenview Guest House overlooks the bay and has an in-house bistro.

Silloth Scenes. Photos ~ A Garley.

Walney Island & Piel Island. At eleven miles long and one mile wide Walney Island is the eighth largest island in England. It is seperated from the industrial port town of Barrow in Furness by Jubilee Bridge. The North and Southern tips of the island are nature Reserves, South Walney Reserve is home to Cumbrias only Grey Seal colony. Kite Surfing is a popular passtime at Earnse Bay which has a large shallow sandy beach. Piel Island is a much smaller island with its own castle and pub. An ongoing island tradition dating back to the 18th century proclaims that each pub landlord becomes ‘ King Of Piel Island’. The Ship Inn has recently reopened and a ferry runs from Roa Island during the summer months. Where to stay ~ Wild camping is available on Piel Island. Or cosy up nextdoor to a lighthouse in The Hide on Walney.

Piel Castle from Walney Island. Image ~ South Walney Nature Reserve.
Seal pup on at South Walney. Image ~ Cumbria Wildlife trust.

Whitehaven. Whitehaven is a Georgian port town and has more than 250 listed buildings. It’s early fortune came from sea mining, coal transportation to Ireland and also the trading of rum, spices and slaves from Africa. This colourful and somewhat dubious history is recorded in The Beacon Museum and The Rum Story . There is an attractive harbour and beach in the town, from where it is possible to take a cliff top walk to St Bees. Where to stay ~ Fine dining & boutique rooms Georgian Townhouse Hotel .

Whitehaven harbour. Image ~ Sally’s cottages.

Hopefully my post has given you a taste of what the beautiful Cumbrian Coast has to offer…..

Thank you to my lovely photograph contributers.

Silloth Scenes ~ A Garley, Wren enjoying Silecroft Beach ~ B Hudson, Maryports Golden Sands ~ A Ball, Seven go to Eskmeals Nature Reserve ~ F Middleton, Ravenglass sunset ~ J Blackburn.

Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ April.

Hello there, I am joining in with Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt once again. This month I have had to rummage round in the archives for my pictures. Feeling like a Time Traveller!

Rock. Back when Hugo was a pup we took him on holiday to Baycliff in Cumbria. Our holiday cottage was right on the beach so everyday was spent taking walks along the sands. In his puppy days Hugo didn’t like water very much. Here he is 5 months old and marooned on a rock. Bless him. πŸ˜™

Swirl. I spent a little while looking for swirls and whirls and ended up settleing for this bright display of swirly plates I saw in Essaoirra in Morocco some years ago. Also tagines make purrfect cat beds. Obviously.

Wood. I don’t go to many art exhibitions but a hanging display in the woodland of Grizedale Forest back in 2009 was a really effective gallery, I thought.

Balance. 2009 was also the year we went to the South of France…and found ourselves in Cannes, when its famed film festival was showing. Pictured is a rather dapper mime, balancing two white ( and very real) cats in his arms. Very bizarre.

Letter. In those days Brangelina was still a thing and this banner is a love letter to Brad Pitt and his then wife Angelina Jolie. The crowds were waiting for the star couple to tread the red carpet. Brad’s film ‘Inglorious’ was showing at the festival. We waited too…but alas not long enough! Our friends who we were holidaying with ,had an understandably cranky 18 month old with them. Brangelina were fashionably late of course and babies and international film events don’t really mix. C’est la vie.

My own choice. To show we were really there, early morning at the 62nd Festival De Cannes.

See what the other scavenger hunters have found over on kates blog.

January Jottings.

I thought I would start a series of Β round up posts of bits and pieces that I have enjoyed and discovered each month. Hopefully I will stick to it! Β  I’m a bit rubbish at keeping up with things. But I will give it a go. πŸ™‚Β So without further ado, here is what I have enjoyed about January.

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Books ~ Keeping up fine with my personal challenge of reading one book a month.Doesn’t sound a lot as I used to read tons. Then I lost my reading Mojo! Shhhh don’t say anything but I think I’ve got it back.:). Picked up The Miniaturist one winters afternoon and couldn’t put it down. Swiftly followed by The Curvy Girls Club and now ( rather behind the times) whizzing through Gone Girl. So busted my target already. πŸ™‚

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Films ~ If you like rom coms, 50’s fashion and France , then you may also like Populaire , a french film that combines all the above in a tale of a clumsy secretary, a speed typing competition and a dishy Professor Higgins type. Saw Cathy’s recommendation on her lovely blog and rented the dvd straight away.Loved it! Also enjoyed the rather silly but fun chick flick ‘The Other Women’ , starring Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann. And another flirty film set in France Chocolat which was on freeview recently. Mouth watering chocolate and a youthful Johnny Depp. Whats not to love! πŸ˜‰

Travel ~ This month I was lucky enough to spend a week in a cottage on the coast. Being able to walk on the beach every day ( even in January! ) was a dream come true. It has made us want to get away to the seaside again and we are now thinking of booking somewhere in Whitby, near the end of the year. πŸ™‚ I’m also planning a few days away in London in May. Can’t wait!

A beach in Winter. Baycliff near Ulverston.
A beach in Winter. Baycliff near Ulverston.

App ~ Being January, I thought I had better try and make a bit of an effort to lose some weight! My fab work colleague Hermione told me all about My Fitness Pal which is a free calorie counting app you can put on your mobile. If you like making lists like me, its a great and easy way of tracking your calories and fat intake. My new pal first helped me work out how many calories I should be eating each day. Then I logged down what I ate for each meal from the gigantic food database. You can also add food to the database, though I think it has just about every edible item going on it. And it takes into account any exercise you do too. Oh and it memorises the foods you log, so you don’t have to search for them again. Soo is it working? Well, Yes! I’ve lost 4 pound…..and not for once, through paying for a weight watchers meeting!

Nature ~ Saw my first wild snowdrops of the year in the grounds of ‘Conishead Priory’ and spied oystercatchers, curlews, redshank and shelducks whilst holidaying in Baycliff.

Oystercatchers.
Oystercatchers.

What have you enjoyed about January?

Driftwood Cottage ~ Baycliff.

It was over a year ago when we booked a little holiday cottage on the Cumbria coast. Driftwood Cottage near Bardsea was booked up twelve months in advance ( its that popular) so patience had to be practised.At last January 2015 arrived. Yay! It was very much worth the wait. We chose Driftwood because it is right on the beach, has a toasty wood burner, five minutes walk to the pub, its dog friendly ( welcoming 3 well behaved hounds) and its done out in a fresh nautical style. The views over Morecambe bay are spectacular from the large picture windows in the lounge area.  Pink sunrises and windy walks on the beach are mandatory. πŸ™‚

The cottage looks out over the bay.
The cottage looks out over the bay.

Inside the cottage is so cozy. We made the most of having a wood burner and there was even a telescope to admire the scenery and the wildlife. We really liked the coffee table in the lounge which was made from an industrial cable drum.

The lounge area.
The lounge area.

Sea Views.
Sea Views.

Little Hugo is already missing the wood burner.
Little Hugo is already missing the wood burner.

A cute desk in one of the bedrooms.
A cute desk in one of the bedrooms.

Everyday we walked on the beach with Hugo. Happily we were blessed with pretty good weather for January and some days the sky was reflected in the sand. πŸ™‚

Reflections.
Reflections.

Hugo enjoying the beach.
Hugo enjoying the beach.

We often had the beach to ourselves. We did meet a few friendly dogs like Daisy the collie here. :)
We often had the beach to ourselves. We did meet a few friendly dogs like Daisy the collie here. πŸ™‚

The bay was always busy with wading birds and we even saw a couple of shelducks. If anyone knows what the birds below are, please let me know.

Some kind of Snipe or curlew maybe.
Some kind of Snipe or curlew maybe.

Shelduck.
Shelduck.

An old jetty.
An old jetty.

Not sure what this bird is.  There were lots of them.
Not sure what this bird is. There were lots of them.

The beach held other surprises too……

Willow deer statue.
Willow deer statue.

Thoughtful etchings.
Thoughtful etchings.

Quirky Beach House.
Quirky Beach House.

And Quirky Art.
And Quirky Art.

The cottage is only five minutes walk from the village of Baycliff which has two pubs, a farm shop and a childrens play area. We actually only went to one of the pubs, ‘The Farmers Arms’ which is dog friendly ( the owners made a real fuss of Hugo), has a small selection of real ales and serves delicious food. Its best to book if you want to eat there though. Weekends and Wednesdays( Fish and Chips Night) especially.

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Fish and Chips at the Farmers.

I will post about a couple of places we visited whilst staying at the cottage soon. Being out of season though, a lot of the attractions below are not yet open. But you may find them useful in later months. We were also a little limited by Hugos car sickness. Not much fun traveling with a puking puppy! So we tended to stay quite local. Not that we minded, as Driftwood Cottage and the surrounding area are quite beautiful.Wouldn’t you agree? X

Wish you were here...
Wish you were here…

Family days Out.

Muncaster Castle.
Wild Life Oasis Park.
The Lakes Aquarium at Lakeside, Windermere.
Tree Top Trek.
Wray Castle.
Old Hall Farm at Bouth.

Lake Windermere from Ambleside.
Lake Windermere from Ambleside.

Take the dogs too.

Conistone Priory and grounds.
Lakeland Motor Museum.
John Barrow Monument on Hoad Hill.
Ulverston’s Laurel and Hardy Museum.
Lake Windermere Cruises.
La’al Ratty Steam Railway.

January Photo an Hour.

The lovely Louisa from Duck in a DressΒ  has taken over the mantle from Janey of organizing Photo An Hour every month. For January she chose last Saturday. We happen to be on holiday at the moment in a cottage on the Cumbrian coast. Wils brother and his wife came over for the night.So my pics include some sea, booze and food. πŸ™‚

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9am. A lovely lie in ( hurrah!) and a spot of breakfast telly.

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10am. Hugo is still small enough to be picked up for a cuddle. πŸ™‚

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11am. Out and about on the beach in the front of the cottage.

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Noon. Cheesy lunch!

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1pm. Headed out to Ulverston ( the nearest town) and we are about to climb up to the John Barrow Monument on Hoad Hill. This pic was taken at about half past really. It didn’t take an hour to get to the top!

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2pm. View from the top of Hoad Hill, looking out toward Morecambe Bay.

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3pm. Rainbow in Ulverston. :))

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4pm. Sheltering from the rain in a pub in Ulverston.

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5pm. Back to the cottage and Wil lit the fire. Its toasty!

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6pm.Β  Watching ‘Pointless Celeberities’ before we go out for tea.

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7pm. Enjoying a cider….and another toasty fire in the Farmers Arms at Baycliff, the tiny village we are stopping in.

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8pm. Tea in the pub. An amazingly tasty burger.

And thats it for my photos.But when I get home I’m sure I will post a few blogs about my stay here. Its such a lovely place and we adore the cottage. πŸ™‚