295 Abbey Town to Kirkbride

The weather forecast today is dismal. Dark clouds. Showers. Poor visibility. I drive to Abbeytown, sit in my car, watch the raindrops sliding down the windscreen, and wonder if it’s worth setting off at all.

My route today is entirely on the road.  So, no mud and no barbed wire fences to worry about. Only a spot of rain. I decide to get out and get on with it.


I don’t carry my camera with me (it would only stay buried in my rucksack anyway) but use my iPhone instead. The resulting photos are dull, grainy, and lifeless… but they seem to capture the mood of the day.

This is flat, marshy, countryside. The first high point I come to is the bridge over the River Waver, called New Bridge (wonder what happened to the old one?). It’s an opportunity to take a photo of the river as it meanders towards the estuary.



The next bridge I come to is called Grange Bridge, and is less obviously a bridge. In fact, it just looks like a bend in the road. At this point, I’m going to leave the B road for a while, and follow a tiny lane that runs closer to the shore.


Lying on the roadside, right at the beginning of the lane, is a mini fly tip site. A couple of dumped computer monitors. Or, maybe, they’re old television sets. Shame.


A jogger swings by. The first person (other than car drivers) I’ve seen so far.


Not many people about, but plenty of sheep. They give me quizzical looks, as if surprised to see anybody mad enough to be out walking on a day like this.


My little lane slopes downhill, and then curves around the edge of the marsh. There looks to be a footpath stretching out through the marsh, dead ahead. But on closer inspections it’s just a strip of no-man’s-land running between two fences. 07-view-across-marshes-ruth-walking-in-cumbria

I enjoy this section of the walk. The rain eases off. I manage to catch a photo of Scotland  across the marsh, with the hills looking blue under a heavy mass of cloud.


Ahead is the hamlet of Salt Coates. Farm buildings and a few houses…


… and a large pond. On a sunny day, this would all look most attractive.


I pass a farmyard and see my old foes are safely locked away. Actually, they look so mournful, I feel very sorry for them. Despite the gloom and the drizzle, I’d rather be outside than stuck in an old barn.


There is a move towards keeping cows confined to barns all year round. It’s common practice in America but I think it’s a truly horrible idea. Battery cattle. Seems even crueller than battery hens.

[I’ve often said nasty things about cows on this blog, but that’s only because I’m nervous around them. They are interesting, inquisitive, social creatures, and the thought of keeping them imprisoned all the time is an abominable idea.]

I walk along a tree-lined lane and rejoin the main B road. Can’t believe my starting point, Abbeytown, is only 3 miles away! I must truly be the slowest walker in the world.


Now I’m entering Newton Arlosh. This is one of those long, thin villages, with modern housing developments spreading outwards from an old core. It’s neat and well kept.


I come to the old church – an unusual shape, with a disproportionately large tower, and no steeple. Interesting. It looks more like a castle than a church.


Here I have to make a decision.

There is no bus route between Newton Arlosh and Abbeytown, and so no way of getting back to my car, except on foot. I could turn round here and retrace my steps, but this is something I hate doing.

The alternative is to carry on until I reach Kirkbride. From Kirkbride there’s an infrequent bus service to Carlisle, and from Carlisle I can catch another bus back to Abbeytown. The whole journey will take 90 minutes, and is precarious, because I MUST catch the 14:06 bus from Kirkbride, or end up stranded.

I check my watch. It’s only 11:30 am. I’m sure I can make it. Onwards.

Luckily the pub is closed… or I might have been tempted to stop for an early lunch.


This section of the walk is pretty tedious. Apart from dodging the occasional car, the only exciting thing I come across is an odd hut standing by the side of the road. What is it? No idea. A portable toilet? A toll booth? An alternative Tardis for an alternative Time Lord?


I must have speeded up, because I reach Angerton, on the edge of Kirkbride, surprisingly quickly. And realise, to my horror, I will have to wait over an hour for the bus to arrive. It’s too cold and windy to hang about…


… so I decide to walk onwards for a while. The road takes me over another bridge. There’s a small car park next to it, where a Sainsbury’s delivery van is having a brief rest.


Beyond the bridge is Whitrigg. It’s basically just a crossroads and a collection of houses. I debate continuing further, but I’m getting worried about missing the one-and-only and must-catch bus.


So I head back through Angerton and into Kirkbride. This is another of those long villages, spread out along the road, and I’m not sure where the bus stop is… but then I spot the pub. They’ll know.


The pub has just opened and I can smell smoke. When I go inside, I discover a roaring log fire, and the landlady tells me the bus stops right outside. (No signs. I guess you’re just supposed to KNOW it’s a bus stop!?)

Anyway, I have time to eat lunch, enjoy a pint of cider, and warm up in front of the fire, before making the very long bus journey back to Abbeytown.

[I think the cider addled my brain. I nearly missed my connecting bus because I got off at the wrong stop in Carlisle – only making the connecting bus with 2 minutes to spare – and then I bought a ticket all the way to Silloth by mistake, because I forgot I needed to get off in Abbeytown to pick up my car.]

Later, when I check my Garmin, I realise today is the day I broke the 3,000 mile barrier! Yay!

Miles walked today = a pathetic 7.5 miles, that seemed much longer.
Total distance around coast = 3,003 miles


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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47 Responses to 295 Abbey Town to Kirkbride

  1. paul sennett says:

    3000 miles.. you have done wonderfully well.
    At a 2 feet stride, I make it 7.8 million steps… and probably more with hills… amazing
    I would add your blog has saved us a fortune in Ordnance Survey maps

    • Thanks Paul. I wonder how far you’ve got now? Still working your way up the Lincolnshire coast?

      • paul sennett says:

        we have done Spurn Head to East Looe down the East and South coasts of England with no gaps.. we have done Severn Bridge to St ives.. and Falmouth to Dodman
        Weirdest places so far.. Canvey Island/ Jaywick /
        Positive surprise.. south coast of Isle of Wight, Isle of Sheppey and dinosaur bones next to the explosive shipwreck / clovelly to porlock weir
        hardest walk Bude to Hartland Quay/.
        I have our mileage at 1835 miles

  2. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, how bizarre, When passed i passed the parking spot just after crossing the River Wampool at Whitrigg, a Sainsbury’s home delivery was also parked up.

  3. Anabel Marsh says:

    Congratulations! 3000 miles!

    • Thank you Anabel. People have been asking how far I’ve walked for months, and I’ve been saying ‘nearly 3,000 miles’ for months in response. Now I can say, ‘OVER 3,000 miles!’

  4. keithcase says:


    Well done, 3000 miles is a big achievement and Kirkbridge even sounds Scottish,


  5. gillianrance says:

    Congratulations on 3,000 miles! Hope the scenery improves with the next section.

  6. jcombe says:

    I’m often surprised at how quickly I make progress on road sections. I guess it’s because the terrain is easy (no mud, no stiles), they are usually fairly flat and I hate road walking so I usually want to get somewhere else as quickly as possible. Mind you I can see from your photos at least one of the roads has grass down the middle so I guess there is not much traffic.

    Fly tipping seems to be a growing problem. There isn’t an easy answer, but making it increasingly difficult to take things to “recycling centres” can’t be helping.

    • You’re right, Jon. Road walking is tedious, but it does make me speed up.
      Just today, I heard two old guys discussing fly tipping. ‘It’s since they shut the tip on Saturday,’ one said. And it was on our local news today too, as a growing problem. It costs a lot of money to clear up, and so you’d think that money would be better spent keeping the recycling centres open for longer hours.

  7. Mike Norman says:

    3000 miles – congratulations! Road slogs are never much fun but given the conditions maybe being on tarmac was actually better than wading through mud and marsh (and had it been the day before maybe that puddle under the old railway bridge might have been a bit more that a foot deep). Spring is here (meteorologically speaking) so it’s only going to get better – look on the bright side!

  8. Jacquie says:

    Cider is indeed dangeous stuff but a great bit of seredipity finding an open pub with a log fire and food right by the bus stop. Congratulations on reaching 3000 miles.

    • The pub was a miracle! The best part of the day. Food wasn’t too great, but the fire was wonderful and cider is always good. There was only one couple and a lone drinker there, apart from me, so I don’t know how these places keep going.

  9. Eunice says:

    Well done on reaching 3,000 miles 🙂 The little hut at the side of the road looks odd, I think I would have looked inside it just out of curiosity 🙂

  10. JohnBoy says:

    Congratulations Ruth, that’s a monumental distance to have covered so far. Is it becoming a logistical puzzle the further north you get, trying to work out how to make each stage work via public transport?

    • Yes, transport is a growing problem. Cumbria has been OK because the railway track follows the coast all the way up to Maryport. After that it veers inland to Carlisle, so I’ve been forced to rely on buses. They might run more frequently in the summer, but during the winter they’re a nightmare. Dread to think what I’m going to do in Scotland. My hubby is retiring in September. I have plans for him… 😀

      • Chris Elliott says:

        That sounds like excellent timing. You shouldn’t need hubbie until well past Glasgow. Dumfries and Galloway do an excellent consolidated bus timetable which you can pick up at the outlet centre tourist information office in Gretna, which is the first place you will arrive at in Scotland. It’s by a big roundabout just south of Gretna where you turn left for Annan. Unfortunately Ayrshire does no consolidated timetable but the tourist office in Ayr will be able to supply you with all the timetables you need. The buses are pretty good until you get to Argyll and Bute. Then some of them only run during school term time. Hence the need for hubbie! Hope this helps. Chris

  11. Fantastic – 3k miles – Look out Scotland! I see you will hit a section of the Hadrian’s Wall Path shortly (I have only done Wallsend to Heddon) and Carlisle, one of the few cities I have not yet visited in Britain.

    re my Lincs shenanigans – Mablethorpe to Skegness (skegness wonderfully quiet out of season) great – sandy beaches and sea wall…easy and lovely…

    Skegness to Gibraltar Point – wonderful cafe and views over the wash at Wlidlife Trust Visitor centre, then massive detour inland to Wainfleet due to sluice at Gibraltar Point being closed off for works (Bad memories of Brean Down sluice came back to haunt me!) – they also seem a bit obsessed with ‘private track’ notices in Lincs – I had no choice but to trespass slightly (causing no damage or harm to anyone or anything)!

    Best wishes from Gemma,
    just back from Devon – Lincs again in a couple of weeks…that’s my scattergun(brain!) approach…

    • Hi Gemma, glad you’re making progress. I guess with your scattergun approach you can choose to follow the weather. I’ve wasted a couple of weeks waiting for the weather in Cumbria to clear!

  12. Di iles says:

    Congratulations Ruth, that must feel so good to know you’ve walked 3k miles, what an achievement!!! Fantastic!!!

  13. babsandnancy says:

    Another significant milestone. Congratulations and I look forward to hearing about Scotland.

  14. Denise Lindley says:


    I love to read your blogs, I an thinking of retiring later in the year and just want to go walking like you. Just a little observation though, maybe a pint of cider at lunchtime is not a good idea, maybe a smaller one? Take care. Denise

    • Hello Denise, and I must encourage you to go walking. YES! just do it. (My book might be helpful if you haven’t done much long-distance walking before). And you’re right about the cider… must stick to halves in future!

  15. rlbwilson says:

    How wonderful to be able to see Scotland and know you’ll soon be there! The church could have been fortified originally because of Border raids. Lots of pele towers and fortified houses thereabouts.

  16. mrszee333 says:

    Perhaps the little Tardis shelter is for children who have to catch a school bus? Salt Coates: I love the place names along your journey.

  17. I like reading about your walks Ruth, and the images make your journeys come to life.
    Clearly not much life around those parts, although I imagine the air was good and unpolluted? That is one of the reasons I love walking, although unfortunately I’ve not done very much for a long time. Something I want to rectify next month.
    Congratulations on clocking up 3k miles. Wonderful achievement.

    • I only took up walking seriously 7 years ago, Maria. Enjoy it tremendously. Try to do 3-5 miles a day when not on my coastal trek. Great for health and mental well being. (Also helps with the writing, as I’m always thinking up new plots and characters while out walking!)

  18. jcombe says:

    Have this walk planned for the weekend. Was hoping you might have found a footpath to break up all that road walking. (I can’t see one on the map, but you never know). Alas, it seems not!

    • I wonder what route they’ll choose for the England Coast Path in this area? Sadly, I bet they’ll just send it along the roads 😖

      • jcombe says:

        Yes I wonder about the England coast path too. I suspect it will stick to the roads unfortunately, but it would be nice if they could at least build a pavement beside the road.

        I had a bit of an adventure just getting to the start of this walk. I took the bus from Carlisle to Kirkbride. The driver initially quoted me a price of £28(!) when I asked for a “Day Explorer” ticket (should be £11) before realising he had selected the option for a weekly ticket of some sort by mistake. The driver had another driver with him to the edge of Carlisle but then got off and left our driver to it (I think he was new). That was a mistake as he then took a wrong turning at Bowness-on-Solway where all but 2 passengers got off (leaving me and another). I think he was a bit upset and worried because he had not been told that one bus a day (this one) went via Cardurnock instead and he had not been told of this route variation and had turned left rather than straight on. The other passenger realised his error and was going to Anthorn. The road was too narrow to turn a bus and he didn’t want to try reversing around the tight corner with all the parked cars. So she suggested he miss out the part of the route to Cardurnick because “no one on the bus wants to go there and no one ever gets on there” which he did, but then had to turn around in Anthorn to get back to Kirkbride. I left him to it after that, I hope he is not still driving around the back roads of Cumbria somewhere!

        Last time I wish I’d known the bus stopped outside that pub. I walked quite a bit further on to the school before I found a proper bus stop!

        I was at least plesently surprised that there was not much traffic on that B-road so I could make quick progress. Though I could not escape cows either. On the minor road via Salt Coats I heard a noise and turned round to find an entire herd of cows taking up all the road (and grass verge) coming up behind me! Thankfully they were slower than me and turned into the farm yard.

        • Ah. The bus… yes, quite an experience. On a later walk, I caught the bus from Glasson to Kirkbride, a distance of about 3 miles. Cost £5 or so, which I thought was a lot of money, and then was amazed to discover the route went via Bowness, before turning south towards Kirkbride. At the bridge at Whitrigg, I was expecting it to turn left to Kirkbride, but no, it trundled on to Anthorn and then Cardurnick, before making a three-point turn and returning back to the Whitrigg bridge. By this time, I was expecting to spend the rest of my life on the bus, trapped in some weird, surreal dream where I always nearly getting to my destination, but never quite making it.
          With your bus, I wonder if there was some poor sod waiting at Cardurbick, waiting and waiting… 😄

  19. Marie Keates says:

    Well done on your 3000 miles! Maybe cider isn’t such a good idea on a walk though. It must have been strong stuff!

  20. Karen White says:

    How excited you must have felt breaking the 3000 mile barrier! A remarkable achievement.

  21. 5000milewalk says:

    A bit of a dull route this one, isn’t it. I just did it on Sunday. I managed to liven it up though by turning left at Salt Coates just past the pond, up a track, over a gate, through a field, over a barbed wire fence, and then down a zig-zag farm track. It wasn’t deliberate, it wasn’t allowed, and it wasn’t fun! Jon above was wondering if there was an alternative footpath to the road…. there isn’t! 😊

    • Ha ha, well, why make a walk easy when you can make it difficult?! David Cotton was one of the first people to walk the coast and, I think, the first to document it online. I seem to remember he talked about “linking walks”, i.e. walks that you don’t do for enjoyment, but simply to get from one part of the route to the next. This was definitely a linking walk.

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