Tuesday 29 September 2015
Newbiggin to Haverigg
Haverigg RFC campsite
Following a mild night my tent was dry in the morning. The sun was trying to come out, the birds were noisy, and the cows had just been milked.
I ate my porridge while admiring the glorious views. There must have been a big high tide in the night as the road was very wet when I set off.
The first 3 miles was all on road past the Eskmeals MOD Range, where the Artillery practise. There were no loud bangs this morning, although the red flag was flying.
Very soon I was out of all civilisation and heading around the headland to where the River Annas meets the sea. As usual the path signs were not always present and the way not always clear. As I clambered down the cliff to the river I could see a shelter built out of rubbish on the stony beach. It looked like it was inhabited, although I didn’t see anyone.
The small grassy plain in between the cliff and the beach, where the River Annas flows, is Hyton Marsh Reserve. It is apparently a haven for Natterjack Toads – all I saw was rubbish, lots of it.
The Cumbria Coastal Way goes along the cliff edge for a bit before dropping down onto the shingle beach.
I then had a 5 mile struggle along the energy-sapping shingle. My walk coincided with high tide and, although there was plenty of space to walk at the base of the cliff, it was a hard slog.
The only settlement I passed all day (not counting random houses) was Silecroft and there was nothing there. I passed by Bootle as it was a bit further inland. William Wordsworth took a house there to enjoy the seaside!
Approaching Haverigg Point, on the corner of Duddon Sands, I was able to walk on sand as the tide was going out. That proved to be an error as the receding tide left small rivers behind and I ended up having to take my boots and socks off to paddle through one to get to Haverigg. This wouldn’t be so bad if there wasn’t thick mud on the banks of these rivers, making it difficult to dry feet and put boots on again.
Haverigg is a very small town with 2 pubs (neither serves food), a fish and chip shop (closed) and a Londis. It has 3 campsites: two are mainly for static caravans and don’t accept tents, the other is the rugby club. So it was dried pasta with soup and biscuits for dinner whilst watching rugby training while the sun set and Black Combe loomed behind the pitches. Brilliant.
The good news was that Tony, who works at HMP Haverigg and lives in a caravan at the rugby club, has access to the club laundry facilities. Bonus.
I went in the rugby club bar for a drink and chatted to Tony, his mate Lee, and the barman. They were a friendly bunch.