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" St Bees Head and Fleswick Bay "

Date & start time:    Wednesday 1st November 2017, 2.30 pm.

Location of Start :   Tarnflatts Farm, St Bees Head, Cumbria, Uk. ( NX 948 145 )

Places visited :         St Bees Lighthouse, Cloven Barth, Fleswick Bay and back.

Walk details :             2.6 miles, 750 feet of ascent,  2 hours.

Highest point :          North Head by the lighthouse. 310 ft - 95m above sea level

Walked with :             Peter & Mary, Stephen and Elaine, Rachel, Jenna and Dylan the dog.

Weather :                    Sunshine and blue skies again.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


My two brothers and their wives have decided to visit Cumbria for a couple of days.

Our daughter Jenna and Stephen's daughter Rachel are here as well, so it's a real family outing on Wednesday

when we take advantage of the sunny weather and head to the Solway coast at St Bees Head.

Ann has passed on this walk as Harry would be a little too slow to complete this walk in sufficient time,

so she and Harry ascended Scale Hill at his preferred pace !

Dockray Meadow Caravan Club site was where we all met up.

It's at Lamplugh, just over the back from Loweswater and just below Knock Murton seen here in the background.

We drive to Tarnflatt Farm at the end of the public road at St Bees.

A small parking fee (£2) in the farm box and we're on our way via the lighthouse road onto the headland.

On the way we pass the field and gateway that we plan to use on our return.

I hope the cows aren't crowded around the gate on our way back.

The Lighthouse is one of the oldest in the country and when first built was illuminated by a coal fire.

It was rebuilt using an electric light and Fresnel lenses and was fully manned, but like all others of the UK is now totally automated.

It served to guide ships into Whitehaven and away from the dangerous headland of St Bees.

Click here for the Trinity House details

Down below the light is the old fog horn buildings, it is now no longer used due to improved technology . . . the headland is quiet once more.

Beyond we can see the Scottish coast, clearer in real life than in this wide photo.

Zooming in to our western horizon . . . the cloud is created by, and hangs above the Isle of Man.

Catching a clear view or a good photo without being blinded by the sunlight was a bit of a challenge.

Out on the headland it was time for a roll call . . .

Stephen, Peter, Rachel, Mary, Jenna and Elaine . . . and of course, Dylan.

A better view of the Scottish coast as I look back and zoom in on the fog horn buildings once again.

An RSPB sign on a field gate encourages us . . .
. . . down to a bird observation point.
There aren't so many birds around at this time of year . . .
. . . but the guillemots are present on the cliffs in small numbers.

The RSPB site tells of the summer visitors

" The viewpoints on North Head reveal thousands of guillemots crammed onto their breeding ledges.

Kittiwakes, razorbills, herring gulls and fulmars are all easy to see.

Look back from North Head across Fleswick Bay to South Head to view the 100-strong cormorant colony.

Linnets, stonechats, whitethroats and rock pipits sing from the heath and gorse along the cliff-top."

A second and then a third viewing area gives us additional views down the steep cliffs to the rocks below.

The pebble beach of Fleswick Bay is ahead of us.

I don't remember a rock pool at the far end of the beach ?

On closer observation, the reflections are due to the water on the rock . . . a real optical illusion.

The coast path has been improved by the addition of new steps . . .
. . . but sadly the gully down to the beach could do with cleaning.

This beach and the top end of St Bees town beach seem to collect sea bourne litter which washes in at high tide.

It brings home the point about how the avalanche of plastic waste at sea is a real problem.

Hopefully legislation about not throwing waste overboard from ships will help to reduce the amount of rubbish in the years ahead.

The waste collected in the small area around the upper tide line, the rest of the approach to the bay was delightful.

- - - o o o - - -



Water falling from the cliffs this side of the bay

created a visual treat


as the afternoon sunshine

reflects and refracts off the water droplets

that fall from the rocky layers above.



- - - o o o - - -

The afternoon sun complements the colours from the old red sandstone rocks.

Down onto the beach with a lovely crescent of wave-driven pebbles high up at the tide line.

Stephen and Jenna go to dip their toes in the sea . . . once down there they change their minds . . .

but then it is St Bees beach where you are supposed to dip your feet at the start of any Coast to Coast walk.

Rachel and Dylan go down to the water's edge too.

From the top of the cliff we spotted a drilling platform . . .
. . . from down here the view is perhaps more dramatic ?

This may be the exploration rig for a possible new coal mine extending underwater and offshore from St Bees.

The town of Whitehaven was famous for several major coal mines and plans are afoot to possibly re-open one of them.


With the afternoon shadow moving slowly but inexorably across the face of the cliffs, it is time to return home.

The angle of the sun and the shadows it creates emphasise the graffiti. 

The ones in the photo above are even older.

From Fleswick Bay we head up the valley across the fields.

It has been a while since we were here last but I'm sure there was a marked path last time.

After searching for the stiles and coping with gates we reach the road.

- - - o o o - - -


On the exit gateway we found

the one and only sign about the footpath.


It seems that the "permissive path"

has now been discontinued, which is a great sadness,

as the walk we've just done makes a delightful round.


Next time it will have to be an out-and-back walk

or a longer round walk starting at the radio mast.


If the latter is the case there's no need to park at the farm

and the farmer won't get his car parking money !


- - - o o o - - -

Late afternoon sun lights up the hedge and trees up at the farm.

With the sun not yet set we decide to drive back via St Bees, to show everyone the town and to catch the last of the sun.

By the time we drove the narrow roads and through town to the beach car park . . . the sun had set.

The sun was obscured by Snaefell Mountain on the Isle of Man

but the final light gave the clouds a golden lining.

Returning to Dockray Meadow caravan site

the after-glow was still illuminating the western sky through the trees.

After leaving the others to relax and then change for our meal tonight, Jenna, Rachel and I drove back via Loweswater,

the evening sky bringing Burnbank Fell into silhouette and then the calmness of the lake throwing perfect reflections back to us.

Dressed up smart . . . for a night out at The Honest Lawyer in Cockermouth.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . the restoration of the Permissive Path.

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 1st November 2017 - History Society Trip to Carlisle

A previous time up here - 9th October 2010 St Bees and Fleswick Bay

Next walk - 11th November 2017 - Sale Fell with Sherran and Bill


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