It’s just a short walk today. My husband drops me off at the station in Kirkby-in-Furness. We’re meeting for lunch in Broughton, and then heading home to Lincolnshire.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem possible to walk along the river bank from Kirkby, and so I march up the road, heading northwards. It’s a glorious Sunday morning. I meet cyclists and joggers, and very little traffic.
After 1/2 mile of road walking, I take a footpath off to the left. Unfortunately, it leads straight towards a herd of cattle. Some with young calves.
I make a long circuit around the edge of the field to avoid the cows, and finally reach the way out of the field – via an extremely ugly bridge!
Over the bridge and then I must do a short hop across the railway line. If I look to the north, I can see a farm called Angerton Hall. That’s where I’m heading.
If I look to the south, I’m looking down the river back towards Sand Side Marsh and the Duddon Estuary. Today, with the tide low, the river is sluggish and the water doesn’t seem as terrifying as it did yesterday.
But a sign warns me not to be complacent. DANGEROUS FOR SWIMMING. BEWARE INCOMING TIDES. QUICKSANDS AND DEEP GULLIES.
I set off across the marsh, before I realise I’ve gone wrong and have to double-back. The proper footpath is rather hard to make out, but then I spot a stile hiding behind a hedge.
The path takes me off the marsh and through a field. It’s mainly sheep on this farm, but I meet a couple of cows. One of them is guarding the exit gate. Typical!
I get around the beast without injury. In fact, it seems quite friendly. Then I’m out through the farmyard, and back over the railway tracks. (It’s going to be a day of playing tag with the railway line!)
Walking down the road, I spot bales of hay wrapped in plastic sheaths. Not unusual. But some of the bales are wrapped in baby-pink plastic, which I’ve never seen before. The colour takes a bit of getting used to. Pretty, I think.
The rest of my morning will be spent road-walking, all the way to Broughton in Furness, although most of the route will be along country lanes.
In fact, it turns into a beautiful walk, with tremendous views and a wonderful sky.
This is the sort of day – and the type of scenery – which makes for joyful walking. I may be nowhere near the coast (something that I usually find irritating) but I don’t care. I could walk for ever… and never get tired. Or so it seems!
This road only serves a handful of buildings and farms. The one I’m approaching now is Waitham Hill, where I meet an elderly farmer on an equally elderly tractor, and we exchange some cheery words.
On the other side of Waitham Hill is Waitham Common. The sunlight glows on the fields, and, in the distance, on the hills of the Lake District. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than here, on this day, walking in this beautiful place.
Beyond Waitham Common my road crosses Angerton Moss. Seeing the name ‘Moss’ on my map made me anticipate more marsh, but it turns out to be a small wood. I wasn’t expecting so many trees. Lovely.
A car (the first one I’ve met since turning off the road at Kirkby in Furness) overtakes me. Then there’s another railway crossing…
… and I’m back on the edge of the marsh. The other side of the estuary seems very close, but I still have some way to go before I can cross over.
The road curves around the shore towards a small hamlet, Skellow Crag End. The little row of houses look really idyllic, but I wonder if they’re easily flooded. The land is very flat.
Then it’s back across the railway line and I’m on the busy A595. Well, ‘busy’ is a relative term, but there is certainly a fair amount of traffic.
At this point I have a choice. I could head inland along a track that climbs up and follows a high ridge. Or I could take the more direct route to Broughton in Furness and walk along the main road.
There’s a pavement beside the road, although I don’t know how long it will continue for, but I decide to take my chances with the road. I walk through the village of Foxfield, and past its little railway station.
At Foxfield, the railway line swings around to the west and crosses the Duddon Channel by a viaduct. Unfortunately, this route is not available for pedestrians, who need to go further up the estuary – another 2-3 miles – to cross over with the main road at Duddon Bridge.
Onwards. The pavement doesn’t stop when I reach the end of Foxfield, as I feared, but continues on. I pass a field of sheep marked with bright red paint. Luckily, they don’t realise how ridiculous they look!
I also pass a rather ugly shed-like building, which appears to house the Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team. Wonder why they need such a big building?
A mile further along, and my luck – and the pavement – run out. It’s obviously time to turn off the main road and head into Broughton in Furness. I don’t mind, because I’m meeting my husband here for lunch, in a pub called The Black Cock.
I pass a residential house which looks like it once was a railway station, and beside it is a sunken lane, almost invisible. Did the line come up here too? Anyway, it makes a nice change to leave tarmac behind and walk along a soft track.
I reach Broughton and find the pub very quickly. But, hang on, this isn’t the Black Cock. It’s the Old King’s Head. Hmm. I can’t get a phone signal to phone my husband. So I check my map. It shows another pub at the other end of the village. Unfortunately, this involves climbing up a very steep hill!
When I get to the top, I discover this pub is shut, although whether temporarily or permanently I don’t know. And it’s not called the Black Cock either. The High Cross Inn. Perplexed, I sit on a bench and have a drink and a snack. I can’t believe such a small village would have two pubs, let alone three. Maybe I’ve got the wrong name?
Anyway, I’ve nearly reached the top of the estuary, and there’s a great view up here. In fact, this is where I’ll begin walking again when I return to Cumbria. The road even has a pavement. Good.
A young couple arrive with an enormous dog. Do I know when the pub will open? No. Do I know of another dog-friendly pub in the area? Sorry. No.
I decide to walk down into the village again. An open pub is better than a closed pub, even if it is the wrong one. But when I get to the bottom of the hill, I spot another pub further along the road. The Black Cock. At last. Time for lunch.
Walked today = 5 miles
Total distance so far around coast= 2,887 miles