It was back to Barrow today to do a complete circuit, well almost complete circuit of The Isle of Walney. This low-lying island with a population of 10,600 is adjacent to Barrow in Furness but separated by The Walney Channel and connected by The Jubilee Bridge..
I decided to do the island clockwise, starting close to the Jubilee Bridge, on the Walney side. I parked for free on the Promenade and set off first to cross over and back the Jubilee Bridge. I then walked through the suburban streets of Vickerstown, keeping as close to the Walney Channel as possible. It was quite overcast and grey when I set off, with occasional showers. So I made sure I had my waterproofs on.
I was looking for a footpath, indicated on my map, that cuts across the marsh of Biggar Sands. I did not find the footpath and even if I did there was no way of crossing the marsh as the tide was in. I turned down Carr Lane, a quiet road that carried me south. Just before I approached the small hamlet of Biggar, a Barn owl flew out of shrub near me. It was beautifully white with tan patches and had an erratic flight as it scoured the road verges for voles. Although I did not have brilliant views, the islands of Roa and Piel were visible, in particular Piel with its grey castle. Both the islands were swathed in crepuscular rays, which gave them a heavenly glow!
As I passed a caravan park I could now see the west side of the island and its hundreds of wind turbines offshore. The sea was quite choppy and the continual roar of the breaking waves would be with me for the most of the walk. The Isle of Walney has two Nature Reserves, one at the northern tip and one at the southern tip.
The southern one, The South Walney Nature Reserve has opening times and charges adults £3. Even if the Reserve was open, I would object to paying to gain entry. I crossed over a field to the west side of the island and began walking along the beach in a northerly direction. The North Walney National Nature Reserve has no such restrictions or charges in place.
Walking along the beach wasquite easy, particularly if you found the right sand/gravel mixture which gave little give with each foot step. I continued on the beach until I reached the outskirts of Vickerstown on the western side. By now, people
were up and about , walking, jogging etc. I walked on the grass track which ran alongside an excellent footpath. I reach Earnse Point, which is at the end of the public road. The number of other walkers diminished as I now continued north along the broad expanse of beach.
I see a numberof walkers have climbed aboard a small motor vehicle which disappeared up the
coast. I suspect this was something to do with the Nature Reserve. I eventually come upon the people in the vehicle and a few others who are collecting plastic on the beach. I have a quick look around and find some old plastic bottles in the sand, which I take over to them.
I eventually round the northern tip of Walney at North End Haws and start to walk back towards Barrow. The next couple of miles are skirting around the salt marsh, which has a number of small paths going here and there! I have to cross a couple of the water channels, but the mud is firmish and presents no problems.
I am now walking on the opposite bank to my walk of five days and I can look down the Walney Channel to see The Jubilee Bridge in the distance. I see little signs of the small airport that forms a large part of North Walney, although it could be the fact that it’s a Sunday and quite breezy!
At North Scale, I transfer back onto dry land and walk down a small side street to emerge on the Promenade. I take 5.5hrs for the walk , at quite a fast pace.
Distance today = 21 miles
Total distance = 2249 miles