Day 176 Sellafield, Steam Trains and a Brush with the Law

Monday 28 September 2015

Braystones to Newbiggin

15 miles

Newbiggin Farm campsite

I was up fairly early and packed away a damp tent before setting off along the shingle beach to Seascale. I walked past the ‘street’ of houses built at the back of the beach, actually on the beach. The shingle has tyre tracks along it where all the owners drive to their houses.  

Walking towards Sellafield Nuclear Power Station
 The Cumbria Coastal Way heads off the beach and along a footpath that uses the railway bridge to cross the River Ehan flowing down from Ennerdale Water. Here it all got a bit confusing as yet again the path sea-side of Sellafield Nuclear Power Station seemed to disappear. I found the odd path marker and a couple of stiles but eventually I ended up fighting my way down a steep bank through brambles and ferns that ripped my legs to shreds. I came out at Sellafield train station and then got a telling off from the man in the signal hut. I was trespassing on nuclear power station land. I pointed out there was a way-marked path (sort of) and I hadn’t climbed any fences, only stiles made for walkers. I was still trespassing. He allowed me out of the locked gate and onto the cycle path leading to Seascale.  

Not allowed to stray off the path
 Here I saw a sign informing that the Cumbria Coastal Way was closed until further notice and giving a diversion route. Pity there wasn’t a corresponding sign at the other end as it would have saved my legs from numerous scratches! 

Thanks for putting a sign up after the fact
 At least the cycle path was easy walking. I arrived in Seascale and headed to the first cafe for breakfast and a coffee, and to wash my wounds.  

Looking back at Seascale – the coast path follows the train line
 After a long break I stuck to the minor roads for the next bit to Drigg as I had to go inland a little to cross the River Irt.  

Beautiful views of the Lake District
 The first foot bridge is the Drigg Holme Packhorse Bridge that was built in 1772, although there has been a bridge here since Mediaeval times. 

Drigg Holme Packhorse Bridge
  I walked the farm tracks back to the coast at Saltcoats. Here the foot and cycle path crosses the railway bridge over the River Mite to Ravenglass; the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park.  

This cycle way gets flooded at high high tides

There’s a train coming as I walk over the bridge
 Ravenglass was the last defence point of Hadrian’s Wall and a significant Roman settlement, complete with Bath House. It is also the start of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Narrow Gauge Railway.  

The “River Irt” steam train
 I popped into the station to look at they trains and the next one left in 20 minutes. What a chance for a couple of hours off enjoying the scenery from an open air carriage. It was an opportunity not to miss!  

A lovely route through the Eskdale Valley
 I had a lovely trip up the Eskdale Valley to Dalegarth, a quick stop for an ice cream, and then the trip back down to Ravenglass. Wonderful.  

Passing the “River Mite” steam train
 I left Ravenglass at 3.30 pm and still had a long walk up the Esk estuary, through the Muncaster Estate, until the first bridge over the river.  

Muncaster Castle
 There were options to cross the River Esk at a couple of points but I’d rather walk further than wade through mud.  

Looking back at the coast by the mouth of the Esk
Great views of the mountains at every turn
Once I’d crossed the river via the A595 it was a short walk across marsh land to Newbiggin. The campsite was basic and the facilities were in the farmyard. The farmer and his helper (who looked about 90) were really nice, even though I inconveniently arrived at milking time.  

Walking across yet another tidal marsh
 I was late so the tent went up quickly. I admired the beautiful sunset and headed off a mile up the lane to The Brown Cow pub. 

Nice sunset
  I was the only one in there for most of the evening and the food portions were enormous. Just after 10 pm I set off back for the campsite in the pitch dark. I had travelled about halfway when a car came behind me and I turned into the hedge to avoid the lights. The car stopped. I turned around and there were 2 policemen who wanted to know what I was doing wandering down a country lane at night. They were very friendly as they interrogated me and my answers must have seemed too ridiculous to have been lies. We chatted for a bit and then Mark and Jonathan kindly gave me a lift (in the cab, not in the back) back to the farm.  

Beautiful sky
 It had been a fun day.  


4 thoughts on “Day 176 Sellafield, Steam Trains and a Brush with the Law

  1. Chris Frazer October 7, 2015 / 8:54 am

    The Fat Controller being grumpy at Sellafield, then a ride on Thomas after getting navigationally confused (thanks to poor signing), big eats in the Brown Cow then Mark and Jonathon take you back to your tent in a Police car…….what an adventure Juicy Lucy!!!!


  2. Val K October 7, 2015 / 9:07 am

    Well Luc I hope your battle scars have healed and that your walking ability has not been impaired.
    Lucky old you a ride on a lovely old train AND a lift in a Police Car what more could a girl ask
    for. Val x


  3. jomunday99 October 7, 2015 / 11:04 am

    That sky looks amazing.! I’m conscious that I’m reading this over a week after the event and we’ve had a LOT of rain the last couple of days. Hope you haven’t!!


  4. Zephyrine October 7, 2015 / 11:26 am

    I love this day! Sellafield area is a potential traveller nightmare! I have also had an “encounter” there with the authorities… I loved seeing your tent, now I know you use your walking-poles as tentpoles. – And the kindly concerned Cumbria cops… The landlord of The Brown Cow probably mentioned you to them. – Z


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