NEW YEAR BLUES - 9.1.11

GLOBAL WARMING BENCHMARK

More like New Year Whites as seven group members left leader Derek’s house on another bright wintry morning with fresh snow on the ground. Fifteen miles were promised though twenty were eventually covered. Civilisation was soon left as we revisited the Kingmoor Nature Reserve en route to the Eden’s north bank. Our journey then followed the river’s meanderings for several miles along the Cumbria Coastal Way with the morning sunshine helping to moderate the cutting wind.

Rockliffe was eventually reached where the Eden Benchmark sculpture ‘Global Warming’ was admired and used as the focus of a group photo. Moving on the estuary was soon reached where a turn northwards gave some relief from the wind as the vast expanse of flat Rockcliffe Marsh was skirted. This salt marsh is notable for its breeding and wintering birds and numerous examples were on show both here and on the Eden.

The River Esk was the next landmark before reaching the defunct Metal Bridge pub, site of the old bridge that spanned the river here and carried the main road to Scotland. This function is now served by the new M6 motorway extension under which we passed before lunching, to Barrie’s great relief having missed his coffee stop, at the confluence of Lyne and Esk.

Now homeward bound the route was mainly on little used field paths with a short section on the old Waverley railway line which ran from Carlisle to Edinburgh through the bleak Scottish borders for more than a century between 1862 and 1969. Passing close to Justicetown (!) and The Boggs (!!) then through Blackford and Harker the M6 was eventually re-negotiated at Junction 44. This lead to the last lap back to the start where Derek was as usual forgiven for his less than accurate mileage estimate as we enjoyed Stella’s familiar hospitality of goodies and mulled wine!

1. A PEACEFUL RIVER EDEN 2. MORE RIVER SCENERY 3. LEADER'S PERK 4. LUNCH AT LAST 5. ON THE WAVERLEY LINE 6. BLACKFORD CHURCH.