Sunday 10 September 2023

Sea and Sunflowers


Just a few days before school started back for the autumn term, we took our final trip of the summer. This was a two day break that we should have taken at the beginning of August, but I had changed our plans because of the weather. The idea was to travel up the West coast of Cumbria, starting at Ravenglass, driving north towards Silloth, then finishing off with a morning at the sunflower field at Waverton.  As it turned out, the sunflower field would have been closed, but we could still visit if we went on the Sunday morning instead. So we decided to simply switch our journey around and drove in the opposite direction, meaning the sunflowers would be first on our itinerary.

The sunflower field was so pretty. Even though many of the sunflowers were past their best, there were plenty still growing and I'd already decided that we would bring home some of the heads, so we can plant the seeds next year. Lily loved sitting on the huge swing seat situated in amongst all the sunflowers and we had such a nice morning wandering around the field. Farmer Neil kindly said we could pick as many of the flowers as we would like, and I would have gathered armfuls if only I'd been going straight home afterwards. Never mind, I'll look forward to growing our own next year, perhaps just not quite as many!

After spending a lovely morning in the sunflowers, we journeyed on towards Silloth, a small Victorian seaside resort on the Solway Firth. It was here that we enjoyed our picnic lunch overlooking the sea, before Lily spent some time playing at the splash park on the green. After a much needed cup of coffee (and once I managed to persuade Lily to leave the splash park), we made our way back to the car, walking past the Big Fella Sculpture a little way farther along the promenade. It's much bigger than it looks.

Driving south, our next stop was Allonby. There isn't really much I can say about Allonby, other than it is a small village by the sea, has quite a nice beach, and it is home to a very popular ice cream shop. I had heard good things about it, so I thought we should give it a try. I even joined the queue, which is something I don't do very often! Was it worth it? I'm not sure that it was, but it was okay.

From Allonby, we continued our journey south towards Whitehaven, where we stayed overnight. Now, this was a pleasant surprise, and after dinner we spent a lovely evening down by the harbour, walking along the pier and then out to one of the lighthouses. 

I promised Lily a sunset. And the one we got was quite spectacular. The first photograph was taken while we walking out to the end of the North pier, the second was taken from the North Pier Lighthouse out towards the West Pier Lighthouse, and the third one was taken as we were heading back towards the car.

The next day we awoke to another beautiful bright morning, and after a brief walk around the town centre, including a lengthy browse in a rather fascinating old bookshop, we set off for the next stop on our journey, which was St. Bees. At first glance there didn't appear to be a lot there, but we turned along a road next to the station and at the end there was a large car park, which led on to a huge expanse of beach. On this particular day it was quite busy, with families making the most of the hot weather while they had chance, including ourselves :) Taking off my shoes there was just time for a quick paddle, the water was lovely and warm. St Bees Head is one of the starting points for the Coast to Coast walk, so I followed the coastal path uphill for a short way, retracing my steps again just before the track turns inland, heading east. I'd love to complete the walk one day, maybe in a few years. 

The final stop on our west coast road trip was to Ravenglass. Raveglass is situated on the estuary where three rivers meet, and it was here we took a short walk out to see the remains of a Roman Bath House, then on returning to the village we caught sight of one of the small steam trains, which had just pulled into the station. We didn't take a ride on this occasion, but maybe we can look forward to one on a future visit.

It was also here that I got to enjoy probably the most delicious ice cream I have ever tasted.
And I didn't need to queue!

J. X