On our last full day in Eskdale, we decided to go for a short ride out to Whitehaven.
This is where my mom was evacuated to during the Second World War. A cousin said it was St Bees that they were sent to, and the two are so close, perhaps it was. But Whitehaven has always been fixed in my memory as the place Mom named when describing her time there as a child.
I thought it was just a place that just happened to be on the coast. I didn’t realise there was a beautiful harbour there, with boats and things.
Nor did I know about the mining history, or that this was where a so-called American invasion was attempted in 1778. You live and learn.
The photograph at the top commemorates this attempted invasion, and the second one down, “End of an Era”, is for the mining history, erected in 2005.
There was quite a lot to see in the town, and we didn’t have more than a few hours. So we did what we could in the time that we had, and that included a walk on a high sea wall that surrounds the harbour.
It wasn’t half cold up there, and very WINDY. My balance isn’t great at the best of times and you can see in the picture that the wall is only a couple of slabs wide.
Once we were over deep sea water I started to panic and me and the dog climbed back down the first chance we got.
The poet, however, was determined to walk all the way to the end (to the lighthouse you can see in the picture), but he did wish he’d put a fleece on first … Rufus worried the whole time the poet was up there, because he couldn’t see him, and was very pleased when he joined us again on the lower level.
It probably took us about an hour to circle the whole of the harbour, taking pictures of lots of other interesting things as we passed them – and not all of them had explanatory plaques. There was a giant anchor, a big wheel, and another older lighthouse.
By the time we got back to the car, it was well past midday and we were all starving hungry. We found a lovely little chip shop that was really quite busy.
I ordered scampi (all the way from Whitby) and chips while the poet just had to have a Cumberland sausage with his chips.
(“I can’t come all the way to Cumberland and not have a proper Cumberland sausage.”)
Rufus helped us both. And we were so stuffed by the time we’d finished, we didn’t have room for the ice creams we’d promised ourselves.
Apart from the wind, the weather turned out very nice for us in the end, and there’s no way I can do the town much justice after just a few hours. So we’ve decided we’d quite like to come back, maybe spend a little more time in the area and find out what else it has to offer. For me, just the boats were enough – I do love boats – so everything else was a bonus. And I’m sure that when we go back we’ll learn a lot more.
When we got back to camp, we decided to pack up and go home. It was teatime and if the traffic was kind, we’d be back by about 7pm. We could have stayed another day, but we had a new house to come home to. But we’ll definitely go back to Eskdale.