St. Bees to Whitehaven via the cliff-top path

Name of walk St. Bees to Whitehaven via the cliff-top path
Date of walk 2014-04-25
Distance walked (miles) 7
Duration of walk 4 hours 15 minutes
Weather Overcast
Peaks on walk None
Walked with Brendan
Parking Train to St Bees

I had been too busy over Easter with decorating and gardening to do any training walks for the 40 mile Keswick to Barrow Walk being held in two weeks time. Then on Wednesday I pulled a muscle in my back, but was still determined to do a walk of some kind on Friday. So I chose this walk as it is very gentle and not remotely strenuous, but better than doing no walk at all! We took the train to St. Bees and would return on the train from Whitehaven. It is a short walk along the cliff top of just over 7 miles, but with plenty to see. Brendan took charge of the rucksack. The weather was overcast but was due to improve a bit towards lunch time, but there would be rain later in the day. At least there was no wind.

1

We walked the short distance to St. Bees Priory which dates from the 12th century and originally founded for a Benedictine order. It contains an excellent history exhibition and contains many 'treasures'.

2

Looking down the nave towards the Iron Screen.

3

We stopped for a coffee in the beach cafe before heading for the start of Wainwright's Coast to Coast route which we will follow until the turn-off for Sandwith, where we will continue along the coastal path.

4

The sign that marks the start and the route of the Coast to Coast walk.

5

Looking back to the cafe.

6

A close up of our first destination of Fleswick Bay and the lighthouse. Since the storms part of the route has been moved inland by about 20ft and the old route has been fenced off.

7

Lambs!

8

Looking down on Fleswick Bay. I was last here in gale force winds and the bay was full of sea foam and inaccessible.

9

We head down to the sea.

10

An impressive cliff face.

11

The beach is eroded sandstone.

12

13

Lots of cave-like nooks and crannies.

14

We head back up.

15

There are a few fenced-off bird watching areas to visit en route where you can safely watch the birds on the cliff edges.

16

Guillemots.

17

Another view point.

18

Hundreds of Guillemots!

19

Must be Manchester City fans, or maybe they turn away because they don't like heights. Or is it that they turn their black backs outwards to increase heat absorbtion?

20

The coastal path was awash with pink and white campions, yellow gorse and bluebells.

21

Every so often there would be swathes of Bluebells.

22

Heading towards the lighthouse.

24

Looking over the cliff edge.

25

St. Bees Lighthouse. The current tower was built in 1822.

26

The cliff edge building that contains the Fog Horn.

27

More Bluebells

28

First view of Whitehaven harbour.

29

Here the path is very close to the cliff edge.

30

31

It makes a pleasant change to walk without a rucksack. The weather had brightened up too, and it was becoming quite warm.

32

More gorse and Bluebells.

33

34

View back towards the lighthouse.

35

We would soon take the path that leads down around the far right cliff.

36

This dingy was in a garden at the signpost for the route to Sandwith.

37

More lambs!

38

Walking below the cliff edge through Blackthorn blossom.

39

We follow the footpath towards Whitehaven, passing the Haig Colliery, now a mining museum.

40

Just down below the coastal footpath is Saltom Pit Head, the first undersea coal mine in the world. Built in 1729 and worked until 1848. It was 146m deep and went out 2km under the sea, this is worth a small detour to see.

41

On the final section to Whitehaven. The King Pit.This shaft was once the deepest in the world.

42

Looking to the outer harbour and the Candlestick (an old chimney connected to the Wellington Pit). The last time I walked here the waves were so high they were breaching the harbour wall.

43

The inner harbour and marina.

44

Memorial to the Wellington Pit disaster.

45

Map of our route from St. Bees to Whitehaven.

46

John Paul Jones led a naval raid upon Whitehaven in 1778 during the American War of Independence; it was the last invasion of England! Mildred Gale, grandmother of George Washington is also buried here in the grounds of St. Nicholas` church.

47

Whitehaven Marina.

48

We went in The Beacon's cafe for a drink and an ice cream. Then headed for the station to catch our 16.22 train back to Barrow, unfortunately today we had no time to do any shopping or visit Michael Moon’s Antiquarian Bookshop.

The walk took us 4 hours and 15 minutes. Over an hour longer than the last time I did it, but this was deliberate as I did not want to aggravate my back muscles too much. It began to rain as we came out of The Beacon, so we had timed the walk about right.

The same walk from February 2011 in a gale, but with some blue skies is http://josweeney.net/the-cliff-path-from-st-bees-to-whitehaven/

Jo.

 

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