Date - 13th October 2021 Distance - 6.75 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL4 Start point -The Green, Silloth (NY 1098 5396)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



Allen and Southey were huddled over the laptop, as Tetley came into the room.

"What are you looking at pals?", he asked.

"The pictures Dad took on the last walk", replied Southey. "It was so good to yet again find new paths and walk through such lovely countryside."

"They are good and plenty to illustrate our story", went on Allen.

"Great", stated Tetley. "Next Sunday is the start of Dad's holiday at Armathwaite Hall, and hopefully we will be able to get out and walk."

As Southey went to reply, Allen forestalled him, saying, "Tea!", seeing Shaun trotting in with Grizzly and Little Eric in tow.

"I'll get the mugs and plates", volunteered Southey. This done he said to Shaun, "I'll lend a paw filling the mugs."

"Thanks pal. It is Ramblears blend tea of course."

This done Allen took a sip. "Delicious. Do we need to stock up when we are at Armathwaite Hall?"

"No pal there are plenty of tea bags left."

Grizzly announced, "cakes today are chocolate coconut and cherry slice from Little Eric, and from me peach and apricot slice."

Tetley laughed, "healthy eating with the fruit."

"Exactly", replied Little Eric with a chuckle.

We dug in and after a while Shaun spoke for us all, "they are scrumptious. Thank you as always."

Tetley then took the subject back to walking. "Just before you arrived I had mentioned that next week Dad is at Armathwaite Hall, and hopes we may get a walk in this time."

"It was too hot in July", said Little Eric. "I too hope we can walk this time but not on the fells. Let's leave them to next year now."

"Dad had devised a walk from Silloth. How about we suggest that to him", said Grizzly. "Dad said he had never been to the town, but had long wanted to visit."

"Good idea", agreed Allen, looking through a folder. "Here's the map. We start from the town centre, and then walk to Skinburness and on along to Grune Point. It will be nice along the Solway, and if it is clear we will get a view of the hills across in Dumfries and Galloway."

"I am sure Dad will be thinking about planning a walk, so if we go with this suggestion it will be helpful", said Little Eric.

"Right", said Allen as he drained his mug. "I'll go and see." As he walked out of the door he called back, "can I have another mug of tea please."

"Ok pal", said Shaun. Then he commented, "must be his third or fourth mug. So like Dad."

"He is", replied Tetley. "But we love him to bits and don't want him to ever change."

Allen soon returned. "Dad was thinking about doing this walk, so it is on. He had also told me that he wants to try and find the remains of a Roman fortlet along the coast road. Also he is planning to go to the tiny village of Crosscanonby and visit the church. The chancel arch was originally the arch of the gateway to Maryport Roman fort."

"Ooh", said Grizzly, "that would be really interesting to see. Just depends if the church is open though."



The Walk

Wednesday dawned and looking out, Grizzly said, "it looks like it will be a reasonable day. Cloudy but as far as the forecast indicates mostly dry."

We were eager to be off, but were patient while Dad and us had breakfast, then having checked his gear was in the car, he said, "right lads time to go."

"Have a good time", said Fletcher.

"Thanks pal", called back Allen as we headed for the car.

"Which way to we go", asked Little Eric as Dad drove along the exit drive.

Shaun replied. "To Maryport, going right at the traffic light junction, then soon left along the coast road."

"That is roughly on the line of the Roman Road from Maryport Roman fort", said Grizzly. "The fort was built concurrently with Hadrian's Wall and formed part of an extension of that frontier which guarded the Cumbrian coast."

The drive took us through Allonby and on to Silloth. Dad had the route in mind to get to the car park at The Green.

"These wide cobbled streets are a surprise", said Southey. "They give the town a very airy feel and there are some fine buildings and houses."

Grizzly told us, "they are a relic from the Victorian era. Like many coastal towns it developed when the Victorians began to travel for holidays, as a result of the arrival of the railways. Silloth became a fashionable resort for people from Carlisle and other places. There is also a port that has been in operation for over 150 years. The station at Silloth opened in 1856, but was closed in 1964 as part of the Beeching axe of many branch lines and stations."

"Thank you pal", said Tetley. "We have not started the walk, yet you have added interest to our day."

By now Dad was pulling into the car park. Looking about, Shaun said, "it's free."

"That's nice, after the £8 I had to pay to park in Keswick yesterday when Rex, Starbuck and I went to the theatre", said Dad.

Dad was soon ready so we settled in the rucksack.

"We go down onto the concrete promenade and walk north", advised Shaun.

"Right lad, but first I am going to just take a shot of The Green looking towards the church."

Then as instructed by Shaun we strode out along the promenade.

Suddenly Little Eric called out, "just look at that superb sculpture. The plaque on the seat reads 'Look at that View'.

"It's terrific", agreed Tetley.

Later Grizzly did his research and told us, "a Silloth gentleman, Mr Peter Richardson, approached Ray Lonsdale a few years ago, after seeing some of his distinctive and thought provoking work, as he wanted to leave a lasting piece of art for his home town. Its intention is to make the people of Silloth smile and to brighten their day. The sculpture entitled “Big Fella” is of a man and his dog taking in the beautiful sea views at the end of the day and shielding his eyes from the sun. The Solway Coast is well known for its beauty and Silloth is noted for its glorious sea views and sunsets which have been be recorded for posterity by JMW Turner, the famous landscape artist."

Unfortunately the views across to the Solway, to Criffel and the other hills in Dumfries and Galloway were sadly not very clear today.

Dad strode on, then looking up from the map, Allen said, "that is Cote Lighthouse ahead. If we leave the promenade and walk along the grass so we can get a good view and picture."

"I have some notes about this", said Grizzly. Then after a bit of rummaging, "Ah, here they are. The East Cote lighthouse was established in 1841, as a navigational aid for shipping proceeding to and from the quays at Annan and Port Carlisle, and it initially shone a red light out over the Solway. For many years it was manned by Silloth man, Edward Dalglish, and later it was maintained by the Silloth Port Authority. Although sited at a fixed position for most of its life, in the 1850s it was reportedly placed on a short trackway so that it could be moved to shine a light down the latest navigable channel, whilst in transit with the Silloth Pierhead lighthouse. The shape of the wooden structure has changed little over the years, receiving a major overhaul in 1997."

As the picture shows, there are a number of seats, Little Eric saying, "we can get our picture for the story sitting on one,"

"Good idea", agreed Southey.

Then, we rejoined the stepped promenade below the sea wall protecting the houses.

Tetley commented, "the wall is a wave deflection wall, similar to that along the promenade at home in Morecambe, protecting properties from flooding."

Shortly seeing this signpost...

...Shaun said, "that's our route, on the other side of the wall."

Along a short grassy stretch, this waymarked junction was reached. "Keep ahead on the narrow path", called out Southey.

In minutes we came to East and West Bank Cottages at Skinburness, joining a narrow road.

The road passed behind some houses and then went left to follow the lane, and where this turned sharp right, Shaun said, "keep ahead along the waymarked path."

After a while this disappeared due to coastal erosion, and we then just wandered on along the shingle beach towards Grune Point.

"This makes a change", said Tetley. "The last time we walked along a beach was on the walk from Ulverston to Bardsea in December last year."

Shaun was looking closely at the map. "we are no longer on the planned footpath. We needed to keep above the beach and somehow missed it due to the area of erosion. It will will mean we will likely walk back long this and so not do all the walk planned."

"Never mind", said Allen. "Whatever we end up doing will be fine. Just so good to be out and enjoy a new area."

Looking ahead, Little Eric pointed, "what are those tall masts, we can see against a very lowering sky."

On our return route we met a local gentleman and he told us that the masts were for long wave communication. Later Grizzly did his research and told us, "It is Anthorn Radio Station. This is a naval and government radio transmitting station that has three transmitters: one VLF; one LF, and an eLORAN transmitter. The VLF transmitter forms most of the site with a central mast at 748ft with wires radiating out to the 12 surrounding masts. This is used primarily for transmitting orders to submarines. The site was originally a World War 2 military airfield operated by the Fleet Air Arm as HMS Nuthatch."

We walked on but then checking the GPS, Shaun said, "we have gone beyond the end of the footpaths, so we have to head more to the right."

This soon brought us to a t-junction, where Shaun said, "go right on that good path, which I am pretty sure is this dotted path on the map. Then we need to go further left to pick up the proper footpath, which should actually have been our planned outward path, as I said before."

At a gap Dad did this and there was the footpath, two ladies walking along it in the opposite direction. .The good grassy path led to a gate, where we met the local gentleman who was out with his dog, and had his company for most of the return route.

The path soon took us back to the shore. The gentleman explained, "the sea has eroded the land so the path now detours a bit left."

"This is where we missed it", said Dad.

Just here stands this very isolated house.

Coming to the houses at Skinburness again, we followed the narrow road round the back. The gentleman told us, "the buildings on the seaward side are now flats. The building dates back about 500 years, and was in times past used by smugglers."

Dad then asked the gentleman about cafes in Silloth. We all laughed quietly, Allen saying, "no surprise there."

He told Dad, "there is Mrs Wilsons just along from The Green, and then the Fairydust Emporium just a little further on Eden Street."

"Thanks, I will be going to one or the other."

Onwards we followed the path we had walked earlier to arrive where the gentleman went left to his house.

"Nice to have met you", said Dad. "And thank you for the local information."

"Nice to have had someone to chat to, thank you", he replied.

Looking across the Solway, Southey said, "it is pouring with rain over towards Criffel. We have been fortunate that the rain has stayed in Scotland.

Dad said, "to make a variation, we'll walk along the road by the houses."

As we did, suddenly Tetley, called out, "look at those animal statues in that garden. Must be worth a picture."

"Lovely", said Allen.

Then we rejoined the grass to walk on to the start, Dad deviating at the end so we could include a shot of one of the wide cobbled streets.

Grizzly said, "do you mind walking on to get a picture of the church?"

"No lad."

Grizzly again did his research and later told us, "Christ church was built in the late nineteenth century, and consecrated in 1870. It is Victorian Gothic in style although built in stone and brick, and possesses an apsidal east end. Externally the church is faced with granite which originally came as shipping ballast. Located in the centre of the town, its spire is a significant landmark across the Solway Plain. The spire hold 8 bells which are currently unringable. Internally the church is of brickwork in red and yellow tones." (we acknowledge visit Cumbria as he source of the image below)

Recrossing the road, Allen said, "look there is an aeroplane sculpture. We must find out about it. I can see and information board."

Being our researcher, Grizzly obliged reading it out. "It is a replica of a Lockheed Hudson Bomber. It was constructed by apprentices from Gen2 at Lillyhall, Workington and gifted to the town of Silloth, to commemorate the 100th birthday of the Royal Air Force on 1st April 2018.
The Lockheed Hudson was an American-built light bomber and coastal command reconnaissance aircraft built initially for the Royal Airforce shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War and primarily operated by the RAF thereafter.
- Top speed: 404km/h (250 mph)
- Wingspan: 20m (65ft)
- Length: 14m (46ft)
- First Flight: December 10, 1938
- Engine Type: Radial Engine
- Manufacturer - Lockheed Corporation

Silloth Airfield was opened in June 1939, just before the start of WW2, and closed on 31st December 1960. It was originally designed to be used by RAF Maintenance Command, 22MU, but was handed over to Coastal Command during November 1939. No1 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit (OTU) was responsible for training pilots and crews from the UK and Allied Countries.

Hudson Bay - There were 64 Lockheed Hudson's lost by No1 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit during their time at Silloth. Of these, 17 can be said to have gone into the Solway, whereas at least 24 were on take-off and landing. The fact that a number crashed into the Solway resulting in a number of fatalities gave rise to Moricambe bay being nicknamed 'Hudson Bay'. The war graves in the cemetery and the name 'Hudson Bay' remain to remind us of the young men that so many families lost."

We were silent for a little while thinking about this, before Tetley said, "thank you Grizzly."

We had to cross The Green to the car, and Southey said, "there is a garden over there. Let's have a look."

A sign told us it is the Rose Garden that was first planted on 2nd June 1953 to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. And, that it was renovated in 2012.

At the car Tetley said, "refreshment time."

"Ooh yes", said Allen. "Definitely time to have our picnic sitting in the car. I'm hungry."

"I have no doubt about that", laughed Little Eric.

Dad said, "I'm going to a cafe, but not knowing how far, I'm going to move the car nearer by parking on the road. There is lots of space and it is free."

He walked off to look in Mrs Wilsons but there were no free tables, so instead he went to the Fairydust Emporium, that we recalled Auntie Deborah had been too in the past. There was one free table. Dad commenting to the waitress, "it's larger than it looks. Like a Tardis!" The cafe is full of character with so many items based on fairies. There are bells on the table to attract the waitress and a sign saying, 'every time you ring the bell a fairy gets its wings'.

A cream tea was the order of the day. A huge scone with butter jam and Cornish clotted cream. This was quite delicious and filling. Tea to drink in a large pot, but as only one tea bag it was weak, so not to Dad's liking.

After he told us, "there was a family at an adjacent table having the full afternoon tea. It was huge, so much so that they took most home in boxes. To be honest I think even I might have struggled."

"It must have been big then", laughed Shaun.

Now it was more history as we headed back, first trying to find any remains of Roman fortlet 21. However there were roadworks here, and Dad thought it was beyond them. When we got back Shaun checked saying, "Actually Dad it was before."

"Oh dear lads, I'm sorry."

"Never mind", said Tetley, "it will give you an excuse to go back to Silloth and find it then."

Where the roadworks were was at the turning to Crosscanonby and the side road was completely dug up.

"Oh heck", said Grizzly. "I was looking forward to seeing the little church."

Shaun said, "we can still get to the village it we return to the main road, and go left to the village of Crosby and turn off left."

We got there and were able to see the church but sadly not able to go inside as it was locked.

Grizzly told us, "this is St John the Evangelist's Church. It stands on one of the earliest Christian sites in Cumbria. The present church was built in 1130 and the south aisle was added in the 13th century.  Further alterations were made in the 14th century, and a restoration was carried out in 1880 by C J Ferguson. It is constructed in red sandstone blocks and has a green slate roof with coped gables and cross finials, the west gable having an open bellcote. There is evidence that the sandstone blocks originated from a former Roman building.  The plan of the church consists of a three-bay nave with a south aisle, a south porch and a north vestry, and a single-bay chancel set at a lower level, with a south chapel that is continuous with the aisle. It is built in Norman style; the Norman features include the doorway, one of the windows in the south wall, and one of windows in the north wall of the chancel. The chancel arch while installed in Norman times was originally Roman and brought in its entirety from the Roman army camp at Maryport. It was probably one of the most important entrances to the fort. The church designated as a Grade I listed building."

"Thank you pal", said Allen. "It is such a shame we cannot go inside and see the chancel arch."

"I know", he replied, "I am disappointed."

Searching the Internet, we did find this picture from the Great English Churches website. Grizzly said, "the niches in the arch are original and would have held statues to the current Emperor and the Commandant's favoured god or goddess. The painting over the arch is of the Last Supper, probably by Matthias Read."

Returning to the car we passed through the lych-gate once more.

Then Little Eric called out, "there's the wall post box. A picture please Dad to round off the story."

So now it was back to the hotel to tell our pals about the adventure.

"Thank you Dad for a super day", said Allen.

"You are welcome, even if we did not do all the planned route. But that did not spoil the day."

Shaun said, "if we were to repeat it would be easier to do it in reverse as this will ensure we are on the correct paths."


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