We’re back, we’re fit, healthy, happy and proud of ourselves. My daughter (14) and I hiked across our entire (little but beautifully formed) country on seven of the nicest days this whole summer – 84 miles; and, since we got back last night it hasn’t stopped raining. I’m blessed I tell you. This post covers the last 24 miles to and from Carlisle. My daughter’s friend joined us for this leg and the first leg, the middle leg we were on our own.
These last miles were flat and easy. The walk into Carlisle was pretty enough and followed the River Eden more-or-less but I felt it lacked “wow” moments.
In Carlisle, the Trail skirted past the splendid castle and through a nice play-park – which we visited later with the boys. After Carlisle we walked along the Solway Firth (estuary) – this part was unexpectedly beautiful.
The tide goes out for miles. The villages along this northern coast of Cumbria were beautiful too – lots of lovely red brick houses and fabulous sandstone churches. The beautiful cast-iron signs were truly wonderful – you very rarely see these any more as they have all been replaced by ugly modern ones – well done Cumbria. I have been to most counties and coasts in the whole of Britain but have not visited this particular patch before – so that was exciting for me. I just love visiting new places.
We stayed the night in a bunkhouse at Hillside Farm which we loved – it slept 12 but we were the only guests that night. We cooked ourselves a chicken curry (fresh chicken, peppers and onions but sauce in a pouch) on the camping stove provided and had a slice each of my home made Bakewell Cake with a layer of fresh raspberries (from my garden). I treated myself to a mini bottle of white wine.
I could not get over the view – stunning. We will definitely go there again. The sun was shining in the morning (again) and we had breakfast in the yard.
The kids loved the bunkhouse especially the little nook they found to sleep in and the games (provided). In the village of Drumburgh there was a great “service stop” for walkers – a pretty little brick building with a nice loo and a little room with seats and nice snacks and drinks to buy. We bought pure fruit Ice lollies, left the money in the “honesty box,” and hiked off contentedly to complete the last few miles.
It was hot when we reached the end of the Trail – Bowness-on-Solway – at three in the afternoon. We took photos and stamped the last stamp on our passports. I forgot to have a chunk of my celebratory chocolate!
The boys picked us up on schedule (they had been to the Solway Aviation Museum on the first day and Carlisle Castle/Swimming the second). We raced to the coastal town of Silloth to buy fish and chips. Silloth was pretty – it’s main street was cobbled and looked a bit like an old American Street to me – like Main Street USA in Disneyland – not what you would expect on the west coast of Cumbria – maybe it was the sunshine! It made me want to explore that coast a bit more – to visit the other pretty towns (Whitehaven, St. Bees, Maryport).
The fish and chips were great (to our relief as you always take a risk). We had to hurry back home though as the kids wanted to be back at 7 to see the new Dr. Who revealed. I’m already dreaming of next year’s walking adventure and have purchased a few maps – maybe a few days in the October holiday if the weather’s kind. Meanwhile, on September 8th I’m cycling 47 miles from Glasgow to Edinburgh in the Pedal-for-Scotland.