Earnse Bay

When you think of the Lake District your mind conjours up images of mountains and lakes. Well, much to my surprise, the Lake District has a well kept secret as I have discovered that the beaches are spectacular too….

My tour of Barrow District with work took in several beaches on our patch, all of which were breathtaking with vast swathes of sand, bounded with mountainous views and largely empty. Keen to share this secret with my family, we headed to Earnse Bay on the south western shores of Walney Island this weekend to stretch our legs and blow away the cobwebs.

Earnse Bay with Black Combe in the distance
Miles of sand and millions of pools to play in
Harker Family fun

Apparently Earnse Bay hosts the kite surfing championships on the vast sandy beach. Definitely one to look out for next year as I am sure that would be a spectacle worth seeing.

Who knew Barrow-In-Furness had all this to offer….. shhhhhhh don’t tell everyone!!!!

Wolf cubs adventure

Having had an incredibly positive scouting experience with 1st Clanfield, we were very keen to find an equally active group in Cumbria and we think we have landed on our feet with 2nd Ulverston.

Megan and William were incredibly lucky to be offered places in both cubs and beavers as both groups were technically full, but felt obliged to accommodate existing members that were relocating. Whilst William discovered a number of his new friends from school and football were also in his Beaver Colony, Megan had an opportunity to make a new set of scouting friends. Her fist meeting in the scout hut was learning rope skills as we fount out that there was a camp planned for later in the month. Her second week was mountain biking on Birkrigg Common and then Megan showed great courage by signing up for the camp.

As the date of the camp approached, the Cumbrian weather decided to throw a spanner in the works and the camp was cancelled at the last minute amongst much disappointment. However, all was not lost as the ghyll scrambling trip had already been paid for, there was an opportunity to sign up for a day trip instead. Megan eagerly put her name forward.

In the morning of the trip the cubs were collected from the scout hut and transported to Tilberthwaite Ghyll in the groups minibus. Here they got changed into wetsuits, jackets, buoyancy aids and helmets and were led to the Ghyll by the instructors.

The ‘before’ picture

The next few hours were clearly action packed, wet and wild. Thanks to the photographs from the cub leaders Amanda and Dave, we can all enjoy the experience….

Off they go
So far so good!!
Getting serious now!!
Ready…
Steady…
Go!!!!!

Wow – what a day!!!

Megan showed true courage to not only take on such a challenge but also to do so when she was so new to the group and had no established friendships to rely on for support. Sometimes being thrown into the deep end (quite literally) is the way to go and this will be an experience she will remember forever!!!!

Lighting up the town

The lantern festival is an annual community festival featuring a spectacular lantern procession through the streets of Ulverston. Member of the community create their paper lanterns in the weeks and months leading up to the event, following the organisers theme – this year being ‘fantastical beasts’.

As newcomers to the area and the first time we have been here to experience this spectacle we were keen to see the procession and headed down to Ulverston with Clare and Tony and Grannie Annie and Grandad, who were also up in Cumbria.

Our evening started by the sculpture that marks the start of the Cumbria Way. It represents a compass with a cairn in the centre. The cairn contains rocks that are representative of the geology along the route and the route is shown on the site together with OS map references of key points. It just happened that the fairground was also in this location!!

Ulverston town centre and fairground

Before we had time to be relieved of too much money at the fair the procession was underway….

The procession
Fantastical beasts!

We then made our way to the town centre where all four processions joined together to parade to Ford Park where we were able to get close to some of the impressive lanterns that had been created.

Pegasus
Dragon

After a short wait, we were treated to a spectacular fireworks display in Ford Park, with Sir John Barrow Monument lit up on Hoad Hill towering above us.

ooooooo
aaahhhhhhh

How great to be able to witness first hand the festival we have heard so much about. Who knows – maybe next year we can make our own lanterns and be part of the action!!

The holiday is over!!

I have been visiting the Lakes for many, many years but today the holiday came to an end and I joined the Cumbrian workforce as an Environmental Protection Officer for Barrow District Council. I am based in the town hall – an impressive building with a distinct clock tower that is an easy landmark to spot from the outskirts of town.

The town hall – home of Barrow District Council

Access to the building is gained via large formidable doors that remain bolted when the office is closed. Once through the doors I was greeted by the head of Service, the team leader and a room full of friendly environmental health colleagues. By the end of day 1 I was up and running and had a week of inductions, training, policies and procedures, and site visits lined up. I had however failed to realise the public entrance was bolted prior to the staff exit on the opposite side of the building to our office so had to rely on instinct to find my way to another exit point at the end of the day. Thankfully I passed that initiation test!!

The main entrance.

Any apprehension about the urban nature of the borough were dispelled as I was shown the rural area and lovely bathing beaches. I was pleasantly surprised that there were such beautiful beaches with perfect body boarding waves in the district that have the added bonus of mountain views. The beach at Walney is so vast it hosts an annual kite surfing championship.

Earnse Bay, Walney with Black Combe in the distance

I couldn’t have wished for a better start to my Cumbrian career. I work with a very friendly and welcoming group of people, in a wonderful historic building located in the city centre and surrounded by beautiful beaches, countryside and amazing views. Whilst I have yet to be exposed to my full case load, I am confident the job will give me the exposure to the raw face of environmental health that I crave, with an opportunity to develop new skills along the way.

Wallowbarrow Gorge

After a fun afternoon at Lowick show on Saturday, where we checked out the exhibits tent and are now enthusiastic to enter several categories next year (I am confident my cookies and tray bakes will go down as well in Lowick as they did in Winchester and Lays photographic skills are bound to impress (again)), we met up with the Leck’s on Sunday morning for a walk to Wallowbarrow Gorge located in the Duddon Valley.

With local knowledge from Tony we parked opposite the Holy Trinity Church at Seathwaite to begin our exploration of Wallowbarrow Gorge.

Setting off together.
Crossing the river Duddon on the ‘Memorial Bridge’
The alternative crossing via stepping stones
Walking through Beech trees below Fickle Crag
Entering Grassguards Native Woodland

Lay informs me that the Forestry Commission has decided to restore the entire Hardknott Plantation in the upper reaches of the valley, into native habitats of oak and birch woodland, bogs and open ground. Some areas are regenerating naturally with holly, willow, birch and rowan, while other areas remain as crag and bog; all of which support rare mammals such as dormice and red squirrels, and birds that include great spotted woodpeckers, jays, bullfinches, redstarts and pied flycatchers. The whole project is expected to take 60 to 70 years to complete – just in time for Megan and Williams families to enjoy!!

We detoured off the path to make our way to the top of Wallowbarrow Crag with fine views of Harter Fell on one side and the back of Coniston Fells on the other. A perfect place for a spot of lunch.

Megan trying to join Molly on a large boulder
Kings and Queens of the castle (or can I spot a dirty rascal or two)
Me and my dawg!!!
Resting at the edge of the crag.

After lunch, we continued our circular route along forest paths until we rejoined the route at Memorial bridge.

William in a rare moment of contemplation
Wallowbarrow Gorge – tick!

This walk had something for everyone – rivers and waterfalls, views and vistas, scrambling and rambling and good company. We will definitely keep this one in mind to share with any visitors.

Once back in Lowick we parted company to get some chores done before re-convening at Langholme Mill for Lamb Tagine. A scrummy way to end to another fine weekend in the Lakes.

Our very own secret garden

I keep thinking we are living our very own fairytale at the moment – our ‘happily ever after’ is happening right before our eyes. When you have your very own secret garden to explore you can understand why we have to keep pinching ourselves that this is indeed our real life.

Langholme Mill is magical in many ways – the house itself has secret passageways, nooks and crannies in every room, but the garden is in a world of its own. If you venture through the gates you are in for a treat…..

Century box at the end of the garden
One of the many bridges over the beck.
Paths wind round and round, up and down
A magical pool – a great place for reflection
Water flowing under the bridges is mesmerising

There is so much more to this garden than these pictures capture – there are lots of fairies and magical creatures to spot. Perhaps we should keep it secret for you to explore when you visit!!!