Another walk with The Mockerkin Mob, friends and neighbours
who live in or around Loweswater.
Today the suggestion was to travel to the northern extreme
of the county, in fact the northern extreme of England for a
walk through history.
We're promised battles, bird life and Roman remains on this
very different Cumbrian walk.
Burgh by Sands (which I pronounce
Famous for Romans, Edwardians and
so much more.
We meet up in the car park by the local Burgh playing fields
. . . start time 10am.
A slightly cool breeze encourages people to wear jackets
at the start the walk.
Peter, who led the walk, informed us that the village had
been continuously occupied since Roman times, or perhaps even
Consequently there's a whole range of housing styles to be
found within the village.
Here was a modern home resulting from prosperous times.
We pass a modern estate too, housing demand
no doubt being led by the close proximity of Carlisle.
Prosperity in older times was indicated by brick
housing rather than stone.
Bricks were easier to build with but were more
expensive as they needed to be "imported" to the area.
None are made locally.
The older housing would have been wattle and
daub construction with thatched roofs made from 'rushes' off
the Solway Marshes.
This beautifully maintained cottage exhibits
both these features.
just up the road is also being re-thatched . . .
. . . in fact only one
side of the roof has been completed so far.
The thatcher, though not currently slaving away in the sunshine,
has left all his equipment out ready to continue his craft.
We leave the village behind and climb the hill, passing the
trig point on the way !
In actual fact the hill was barely fifty feet and the trig
point hidden behind the hedge so couldn't be seen.
Still it makes a good heading for a photograph !
Steeply down the almost level slope on the other side of
Ahead of us is the Solway Estuary where the southern arm,
The River Eden, flows out to the sea.
In the distance beyond are the low hills of Dumfries in Scotland.
The chairs and the sign may have seen better days but still
manage to achieve their original purpose.
The information board highlighted the Monument that could
be seen down on the edge of the Solway.
When we left the farmland and reached the gate to the Solway
what struck me about the view was the big open skies of the
is a memorial to King
who died here on the marsh . . .
. . . whilst undertaking
another attempt to subdue Robert the Bruce of Scotland.
He died in 1307 but subsequent generations
have rebuilt the monument . . .
. . . the present structure, built
by Lord Lonsdale dates to 1876.
Sadly for Edward's
fighting reputation he didn't die courageously in battle,
but finally succumbed to dysentery whilst gathering troops to
Why here ? . . . this area had space
to gather an army and to cross the solway at low tide.
During the First World War in the 20th century,
this area was important for munitions production and testing.
This building was thought to be an observation
post to protect those supervising the munitions tests, hence
the solid nature of the building.
Peter had mentioned that during his preparatory walk two weeks
earlier he had seen numerous seashore birds from here
and that we should therefore have a good view
of numerous species down here on the marsh today.
As it was, our only noteable view was of this
lovely Egret, who stayed a short while before flying off.
On looking at the photos back home I also noticed
a large number of other birds in the distance, that were not
as obvious to the naked eye on the day.
More birds on the marsh as we look over the
Solway to Burn's Table away in the distance.
The flat top hill is famous for Roman remains,
especially their armaments. It was thought to be the site
of an important Roman battle with the Celts.
Big skies again as we approach the River Eden,
downstream from Carlisle.
The northern arm of the Solway is the River
Esk which flows out through Gretna Green and that claims the
Scottish Border today.
We reach the Old Sandsfield Farm down on river.
The farm was an old Inn which served the travellers
that wished to cross the river on the old Stone Wath, a causeway
now lost in time.
It was also the inspiration for a novel by Walter
Scott called "The
Bride of Lammermoor" where the building was named the
Lady Lowther Inn.
A short walk along the river bank and then the
track heads inland.
We passed a large modern dairy farm of Holmesmill.
Alongside the extensive farm buildings were
beautiful flowering cherry trees.
However Peter directed us back to the river
. . .
- - - o o o - - -
Our route returned to the green salt marsh grass
and would follow the River Eden upstream
in a broad meander towards Carlisle.
I imagine that the public footpath here
would be more difficult to use on a high spring tide
- - - o o o - - -
A salt marsh bridge looks substantial, but those
concrete bases and timbers have seen better days.
Across the way we viewed the impressive Demesne
Farm and seen here, the grand Castletown House.
Wildlife interest rose as we sighted a raft
of swans out on the river.
In contrast to the fields on this shore, the
opposite back had outcrops of colourful red sandstone.
This would give rise to the name of the local
village . . . Rockcliffe.
Sea defence walls protect the houses from the
high tides in the river.
On this side the course of the path was often
disrupted by the river having washed away the grassy shoreline.
More wildlife in the shape of two-and-a-half
Numbers were swollen on the sand bar that has
formed in the river.
The majority of the birds here were gulls.
Many of them were lesser black backed gulls,
which occasionally took flight as we walked the river bank.
Also there, though they were difficult to photograph,
were sand martins.
They were the smaller birds to the left of the
picture, but as they never settled so catching a close up was
Finally the erosion got the better of the path
and we took to the road as we approached Beaumont Village.
Beaumont was established as a Roman Fort because
of the high ground from which it commanded an extensive view.
The Mound first held a roman fort, then as time
went on it became the site of a Motte and Bailey Castle.
As the era of the Church took over from the
era of Castles, the motte or mound became the site of a fine
A lovely entrance with
unusual leaded-light windows.
Inside the natural timbers of the
roof stood out as different from normal.
- - - o o o - - -
Beaumont would be an excellent place to sit and enjoy
our lunch today.
Some chose the grass, others the bench under the tree
where there was more shade.
The village information board included two photos of
the old pub
which used to grace the village green.
I looked around and complimented it
with a third photo of the same scene.
- - - o o o - - -
The first swallows of Spring.
As we sat and enjoyed our lunch we were entertained
by several swallows, one of which posed on the wire long enough
for a photo.
Homeward bound now on the track from
Beaumont to Burgh.
As the lane gave way to farm fields
we found an unusual notice.
The footpath follows the route of the Roman
Vallum or ditch, seen on the left hand side beside the small
Our party seems to have read the notice, presumably
the National Trail Team didn't want people to wear a path through
the roman remains.
On entering the large field we waited while
a herd of young beef cattle ran past us.
On reaching the other side of the field the
cattle had done a complete circle of the field and began running
back towards us.
A slight scare tactic caused them to divert
across a ford to the gate at the field exit. By that time
we were safely behind the fence !
Alongside the fence in the next field we were
greeted by similarly enthusiastic dairy cattle.
We think they have must have all just been released
from their winter quarters.
For whatever reason they took a particular interest
in us and the dogs . . . but we were safely separated by a rather
Our path diverted behind a hedge so as to avoid
conflict with the traffic as we re-entered Burgh by Sands.
The village church where the body of Edward
1st was laid in rest all those centuries ago.
It lay awaiting collection for burial in Westminster
Abbey in London.
Spring sunshine making the rhododendrons shine.
Loes stops for a photo by a flowering cherry
in the village.
Finally we are back at the signpost we passed
at the start of the walk.
Everyone commented that this had been a most
surprising walk, still within the county,
but visiting sights quite unlike the Cumbrian
countryside that usually graces Loweswater and Mockerkin Mob
- - - o o o - - -
With thanks to Peter, we all said our goodbyes
and started on our way home.
We chose a slight diversion via the picturesque
town of Silloth for our return trip to Loweswater.
The main street is cobbled with numerous shops
and tea rooms as befits the holiday town.
When the railway from Carlisle was running,
it was the place to go on holiday during "stop fortnight".
Down at the seafront is
the Lifeboat House . . .
. . . and the dock, which was the
reason the town developed.
As we arrived a local coastal cargo boat had
just left the dock.
He had probably just delivered flour for the
Carlisle Biscuit Factory, ready to make your favourite McVities
Ginger Biscuits !
- - - o o o - - -
Hello Roger (and the dogs!)
Lovely to see you venturing
north. It's a very interesting part of the county
even if it is flat, and you certainly got a good
day for it.
For once I didn't do my
usual walk on Friday otherwise I might have seen
you from the North bank at Rockcliffe but it was
nice to see pictures of it from the other side.
Our church spire is quite a landmark. When I walk
out to the estuary the Edward I monument can be
seen so makes quite a landmark too. In the past
there was a ferry between Rockcliffe and Sandsfield
and a fair bit of smuggling went on.
You're right about it being
difficult to do the walk at high spring tides, you
wouldn't have been able to do it all if that had
been the case. The river bank is being constantly
eroded and more so with the increasing storms we
seem to be getting now.
The Egret is one of three
that we see locally and they are fairly recent arrivals
up here, with climate change I think. We also benefit
in winter from visiting geese and it's a wonderful
sight and sound when they all fly up in the air.
You might be interested to
know that the villages you passed through, which
are on the Hadrian's Wall National Trail, are probably
going to lose their bus service in June. This a
lifeline for those communities and can also help
walkers on the Trail to access it without having
to use cars. So much for Boris and bus back better!
All the best. Marilyn.
- - - o o o - - -