A short tour of Whitehaven

I recently met a friend at Whitehaven station and we spent a few hours looking around the town, which has an interesting history.

We sat on a bench with the date of the opening of the Marchon factory (later Albright and Wilson, now closed and demolished). I pointed out the places we could see and the trees on the skyline, where I think we would have seen the factory, which dominated the horizon for many years.

Whitehaven Harbour
Whitehaven Harbour

We looked at the interesting items along the harbour before having an enjoyable lunch at a harbourside restaurant – Anna’s.

Start of the C2C cycle route
Start of the C2C cycle route

After lunch we continued along the harbour, seeing the swans at the start of the Coast to Coast route for cyclists. I had a handy map with me (torn out of the West Cumbria Guide), which explained the layout of the harbour. As it was a blustery day with showers forecast we did not venture far along the various tongues (as the piers are called). There is a lot of historical and seafaring information around the harbour. My friend just had a taste of it. There is probably a trail available at the nearby Beacon Museum, which does not open on Mondays. We turned away from the harbour at the hub (a covered area with a mosaic) stopping to look at some street art.

One of the benches
One of the benches on an earlier visit

As we reached the marketplace it began to drizzle so we went to a small shop on Church Street, which sells books, gifts and cards. By the time we were ready to leave it had stopped raining. The rest of the day was dry. A short cut led us to more street art. Then we went to another part of the market and looked at the benches commemorating the coalmining history of the town. Irish Street with Georgian houses on one side and both Georgian and more modern buildings on the other led us to Trinity Gardens, where there is a labyrinth. We attempted to walk it, but decided it was too long for our energy levels and patience. I had reached the centre early having failed to spot that I had taken a short cut into it!

We did not continue to the rather uninspiring civic hall, but turned back onto Roper Street, where we saw the plaque commemorating the theatre, where the Whitehaven News Offices are now located. Our next stop was St Nicholas’ Gardens. I had hoped that the tower would be open and we could have a look inside and possibly a hot drink. Unfortunately it was closed. We had to content ourselves with looking through the windows and sitting on a bench in the grounds. Fortunately the sun came out. We also looked at two memorials to the victims of coal-mining disasters. One particularly poignant one is to the children lost in the mines.

A flowerbed in St Nicholas' Gardens
A flowerbed in St Nicholas’ Gardens
The same flowerbed

We walked along Duke Street and part of King Street, where there are more mosaics featuring local places and their history. Then we had some tea in Costa before walking along Strand Street (to look at the John Paul Jones pub) and Tangier Street passing the cinema and the closed bus station on the way back to the railway station (or as people are now calling it train station!).

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Tactile textures

Textiles can have interesting textures. Earlier this year I knitted a Twiddlemuff, concentrating on creating interesting textures for an Alzheimer’s sufferer to fiddle with and enjoy. I wrote about it on Sue’s Trifles.

A textured twiddlemuff
A textured twiddlemuff

I still have the item and must really make an effort to pass it on to someone, who will be able to make use of it.

The Photo Challenge from the Daily Post this week is Textures.

From Keswick to Grasmere #CumbriaIsOpen

The winter of 2015-2016 brought unprecedented floods to Cumbria (formerly Cumberland, Westmorland and part of Lancashire).  Storm Desmond early in December caused much damage.  The main road through the Lake District was washed away at a point between Keswick and Grasmere.  Landslides had also blocked it in the same area.

The disruption to daily life for people in the area was huge.  Children could not travel to school without making a very long journey. The first measure put in place to help was a shuttle bus.

Next a route was created for buses for other people to use., while the road was rebuilt.

I had heard that the bus trip was very enjoyable.  We planned to go.  Then at the first weekend in May we read that the road would reopen at the end of the week.  Our only real chance to go was on Tuesday 10 May.  We checked that a National Trust property in Grasmere would be open.  Car-parking in Keswick proved to be rather expensive, but we were going on an adventure.

The queue for the bus consisted mostly of seniors (to use the US term).  We were told there would be two or three single-decker buses going in convoy.  The weather was beautiful.  It was warmer than usual for late spring.

The diverted route created for the buses took us round the other side of Thirlmere from the A591.  Sitting in a bus gives a better view than travelling by car.  Passengers can see over walls and hedges.  There was a place part way along the lake where the buses waited to pass the buses travelling in the opposite direction.  It was possible to alight and take photos.

There was a holiday mood. On the way back the drivers of the two buses kept overtaking each other on the main road, which was closed to other traffic.  They must have heard some news, which did not reach us until a few hours later.  The A591 was reopening the following day, even earlier than we had heard at the weekend.  We had taken the last chance for this adventure!  What we did in Grasmere is to be the subject of another post.