Quintin Lake en­coun­ters un­ex­pected ob­sta­cles among the grand vista of the UK’s north-west coast

Digital Camera World - - CONTENTS -

Our ex­plorer fol­lows a dis­used rail­way line and wades through marsh­land

WALK­ING along the prom at Grange-over-Sands, a re­tired cou­ple share a gen­tle laugh. “That short­bread was too sweet re­ally – I couldn’t have eaten a sec­ond one.”

Ap­proach­ing Ulver­ston I try my luck fol­low­ing a dis­used rail­way line, as it rep­re­sents a ma­jor short­cut – but un­for­tu­nately it ends up in a slate de­pot next to a large farm that is se­curely ra­zor­wired. Feel­ing like a tres­passer, I’m about to ac­cept de­feat and back­track 6km when I no­tice a rung of the gate has rusted through, mean­ing I can just slip through if I take my pack and cam­era off and post them through the gap be­fore me.

At Devon­shire Docks, where the nu­clear sub­marines are built in Bar­rowin-Fur­ness docks, I’m ex­pect­ing to en­counter se­cu­rity guards while tak­ing pho­tos, but I don’t ex­pect such a legally bal­anced if non­sen­si­cal re­sponse. “We can’t stop you tak­ing pho­to­graphs, but this is a sen­si­tive area, and you’ve been re­ported tak­ing pho­to­graphs.”

Strange­ness en­sues leav­ing Bar­row: a WWII pill box up­ended, the ground it once stood on hav­ing eroded away. Fur­ther along at Lowsy Point, a col­lec­tion of es­o­teric wooden huts in­cludes one built around an old ship, prow and stern stick­ing out proudly on ei­ther side.

From here on, tremen­dous walk­ing and land­scapes un­fold. The full un­du­lat­ing panorama of the Lake­land fells spreads out be­fore me, and I can make out the twin peaks of Scafell and Scafell Pike in the dis­tance. There is no path as such on this stretch – just a case of fol­low­ing the best route in the in­ter­tidal zone which, com­bined with the dra­matic land­scape and ab­sence of peo­ple, gives this sec­tion a de­li­ciously ad­ven­tur­ous feel.

As dark­ness falls, ad­ven­ture be­comes frus­tra­tion, and I’m caught in a labyrinth of marshy wet chan­nels and tall reeds. A finger post points taunt­ingly to an inky black chan­nel of wa­ter glim­mer­ing in my torch beam. I’m soaked to the waist, ex­hausted and swear­ing pro­fusely. I even­tu­ally ac­cept the path I’m try­ing to fol­low must have been set out decades ago, when the marsh was in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent state. I back­track wearily and find an eas­ier route fur­ther in­land.

Wait­ing at the train sta­tion is al­ways a re­flec­tive mo­ment as I tran­si­tion back to the in­te­rior world, with sore feet and a mind full of land­scapes. Board­ing the train, ex­is­ten­tial thoughts evap­o­rate, as I re­alise the farm smell I’d no­ticed over the last few hours is in fact me.

Bag­ging a baguette on the route be­tween Ulver­ston and Bar­row.

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