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" St Bees to Fleswick Bay"

Date & start time:      1st August 2021.  2 pm start.

Location of Start :     St Bees Village, Cumbria, Uk. ( NX 972 110 )

Places visited :          The beach, St Bees seafront, South Head, Fleswick Bay and back.

Walk details :              6 mls, 750 ft of ascent, 3 hours 15 mins.

Highest point :           South Head, St Bees. 330ft - 100m above sea level.

Walked with :              Loes and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                      Sunshine but a slight breeze.

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More trains cross our path but they are purely incidental to our walk from St Bees to Fleswick Bay on the west coast of Cumbria.

Long time friend and resident of the village invited me over for a walk in her part of the woods, or rather, her part of the coast.

Back to the seaside, the sand and the post-lockdown crowds.

St Bees is an historic town on the west coast of Cumbria, famous for its school and the large church dedicated to St Beda,

an Irish female saint who sailed over from Ireland to avoid persecution.

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Consequently some of the town's old paths and ginnels are also quite old

and its is down one that we head at the start of our walk.


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My guide to day Loes, lives in the village

or I suppose I aught really say town as it is quite a big place

with shops, businesses, the school and of course the famous church.

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Our lane crosses one final road to the southern end of the St Bees before heading down towards the beach.

Just a small stream, Pow Beck . . .
. . . and the west coast main line railway to cross.

As we crossed I could hear the rail lines "singing", implying the imminent arrival of a train.

Stepping a little further aside, the two car diesel unit sails by.

The line leaves the main West Coast rail line north of Lancaster

and travels round the coast via Ravenglass, Sellafield, Whitehaven, Workington and on up to Carlisle.

Excitement over we walk on the short distance to the back of the beach.

We emerge about a mile south of the St Bees seafront.

The cliffs here are open to the westerly storms and erosion of the bank has left numerous large, colourful stones on the beach.

Some thirty mile offshore we can clearly see the Isle of Man.

At the northern end of the beach is the red sandstone headland of St Bees.

Loes and the dogs enjoy the beach.

We head up towards the Lifeboat House and use the sloping launch ramp to walk up onto the promenade.

It's low tide and there are lots of folk about, but they can spread far and wide across the sands for now.

All the sand will be covered later in the day but they'll all be heading home by then.

The groyne and green marker post are at the outflow of Rottington Beck which skirts the northern edge of the town.

As we walk up onto the headland we can look down on an old open air swimming pool.

It was formed out of the natural rock, but the outer wall that kept a depth of water in the square pool has been breached.

Loes can remember people swimming in it, but health and safety means it will not be repaired as there's no lifeguard on scene !

From the top of the first climb we can look back on the town, with the multiple caravans to the left and a jet ski out on the open sea to the right.

The walls on the beach are groynes to try and reduce erosion and longshore drift of stones and sand.

Click here or on the photo above for a wider panorama.

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During the time Loes has lived her

the coastal path has been forced to move inland several times

as the cliffs fall away leaving the path too close to the edge.



Currently the path follows the line of an old wall

straight up the field, though a second easier grass path

is being formed to the left.


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From this high vantage point we can look south down the coast

all the way to Black Combe at the south western tip of the Lake District.

Zooming in on the houses where we started our walk today.

The road rising up behind them leads over to Egremont and the main west coast road.

There's a lovely background view of the Cumbrian Fells above the village, though identification of them isn't as easy as it seems.

Click here or on the photo above for a larger panorama.

The old wartime coastguard Lookout on South Head has three information boards

which give us a good idea of what we can see from this high vantage point.

The first looks at the fells, this one looks at the Isle of Man and the third looks north towards Scotland.

The sunny weather has scorched much of the vegetation including this springtime pink Thrift.

This area is famous for seabirds, but most are gone by mid July.

Only resident gulls are left to patrol the cliffs.

We continue the walk from the lookout, north towards Fleswick Bay.

Reaching over the fence to get a view of the sea far below.

No chance of a close view here as it obstructed by prickly gorse bushes.

Looking down on Fleswick Bay, the pebble beach on the way around to the lighthouse at St Bees Head.

This path is the first (or last) part of the Wainwright Coast to Coast Path.

It also forms part of the England Coast Path which is being extended each year and will eventually create a huge coastal walking route.

The path dips to the head of the bay so we follow the path down to a gate.

The winter weather has thrown more pebble high on the beach . . .
. . . compared to when Ann and I were here last.

The red sandstone is engraved in parts with some ancient graffiti

and a rather naff recent wooden plaque which looks totally out of place (so no photo) !

The camera is turned on myself for a change, as the dogs play on the beach.

Dougal has a red sock on his foot after cutting a pad yesterday, a minor graze but best to give it a day's protection from sand and gravel.

Colourful pebbles reflect the colourful local rocks.
The major rock is red sandstone but there are other colours in there too.

To go on and complete a circuit via Sandwith and Rottington Villages is a long detour with lots of road walking

so we turn and retrace our steps back along the headland.

Back to the old lookout and the foundations in the field of the old barracks that supported it.

The lookout would have a good view out across the Irish Sea, weather permitting.

Today the only shipping we could see was a sail boat away to the north.

The land beyond is Dumfries and Galloway, part of Scotland.

The train we saw earlier has returned and is now making its way south towards Ravenglass.

It will pass Beckermet and Seascale and the Nuclear Reprocessing Plant at Sellafield.

 The headland is famous for its birds at the right time of the year . . . today it is just gulls and jackdaws.

A patch of blue harebells defies the dry weather to put on a fine show.

Sadly the camera focused on the cow parsley type flower in the foreground instead, but you get the idea !

Back to the start of the descent to St Bees once again, as a lovely patch of bright sun illuminated the Lifeboat house.

It also illuminated the cafe and ice cream shop, complete with the queue at the sales window.

That queue only got longer as we approached so we passed on refreshments in favour of a  cuppa at Loes's home.

Rather than walk the beach as we did on the way out, on the return walk we stayed high on the cliff path.

The sea to the right and the golf course to the left.

Crossing the track once again must mean we are nearly back where we started.

Just a short walk back up the hill passed the houses and that cuppa will be ours !

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures generally taken with my Panasonic Lumix TZ60 Camera.

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

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Previous walk - 30th July Bassenthwaite Lake Station opens

A previous time up here - 14th April - St Bees Head with Pat

Next walk - 10th August Going Places - Loweswater Style