148. Allonby to Abbeytown

Today was a simple day trip to Cumbria utilising a small weather window and allowing me to fill the Cumbrian gap between Allonby and Gretna. There were no trains in this neck of the woods, so it was the use of a couple of buses that would get me from Abbeytown (where I had parked) to Allonby, where I would start. But first it was a very early bus #400 from Abbeytown to Silloth, then the #60 bus to Allonby.

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Early morning light looking back at Allonby and the snow covered Cumbrian Fells

It was bitterly cold as I waited for my buses, but today I would have the slight breeze at my back. There had been another overnight severe frost, but even though I started walking under an overcast sky I had superb views across the Solway to Dumfries and Galloway and in particular, the hill of Criffle. I head straight for the beach and am soon walking over hard firm sand. The tide, although beginning to flow, still allows me a generous portion of the beach to walk along. I stay on the beach all the way to Silloth.

One of the things I do, and think other coastal walkers should do as well, is to improve my identification and knowledge of seabirds. I am no expert, but always try to identify birds, particularly those I see along the beach. Today, I pass a number of flocks of Oystercatchers, perhaps the most common seabird I see on my walks along the coastline. It is an easy bird to recognise, but is also a very noisy one. I see  a large flock of small grey waders with white bellies, I think they are Dunlin, although they could be Knot. They take off and I am treated to quite a Murmuration from this large flock. I also pass a couple of Turnstone, which I also manage to recognise.

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Unloading cargo at Silloth dock
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Silloth

In no time I reach the small town of Silloth. I walk around the small docks, where a container seems to be disgorging its cargo of grain. Silloth seems a nice little town, with its small collection of shops and cobbled streets. I head past the lifeboat station and continue a walking north along the promenade towards the village of Skinburness. I pass the rebuilt East Cote lighthouse, a mobile structure built on rails to facilitate entry to the Port of Silloth channel. I read another info board which tells how the Roman influence much further south down the Cumbrian coast, from the end of Hadrians Wall, with a series of forts and towers.

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Grune Point looking across Moricombe bay
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Sea Dyke at Skinburness
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Tidal River Waver near Abbeytown

I am now heading out towards a small tongue of land that juts out into the Solway Firth, the tip of this promontory is called Grune Point. I stand here awhile and look across to the Scottish coastline, where I can now make out individual houses. The sun has now come out , with lovely blue skies visible across the Solway. I head around Grune Point and begin walking back towards Skinburness, this time around the shores of Moricambe Bay, which I must now walk around. Moricambe Bay is much smaller than the similarly sounding Morecambe Bay and is feed by the two rivers of Waver and Wampool. I keep to the sea dyke round, preferring that to the Cumbrian Coast path across the Marsh, which seems not well-marked. I continue along roads towards Brownrigg where I join the River Waver and walk along its tidal banks. The going is very heavy as I reach the outskirts of Abbeytown as I cross recently ploughed fields. I take 5.5 hours to finish this walk.

Distance today =   19 miles
Total distance =    2464 miles

 

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2 thoughts on “148. Allonby to Abbeytown”

  1. You’re right. We should try to learn about sea birds and get to know their names. When I first started walking the coast I used to carry a little bird identification book with me, but soon jettisoned it to reduce the weight in my rucksack. I can recognise oyster catchers, cormorants, egrets, avocets and herring gulls, but that’s about it.

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  2. Hi Ruth, I use quite a chunky tome by Rob Hume – The RSPB book “Birds of Britain and Europe”. I don’t carry it with me, but try and take a photo for later identification. However, I do really need to get a camera with a decent interchangeable lens, instead of the point and click one I presently have.

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