Something nasty by the footpath

On a sunny Sunday afternoon hubby and I enjoyed a fairly long walk along part of the Cumbrian Coastal Path/Coast to Coast walk on what is known as the Colourful Coast. Descending into Fleswick Bay I stopped to take some photos for #wildflowerhour on Twitter. Hubby noticed a pool of water with tadpoles swimming in it (in August!) and nearby was a colourful item, which was a potential hazard to livestock and wildlife.

Balloon on sandstone rock
Balloon on sandstone rock

I hadn’t thought to take a bag for collecting litter, but I realised that the synthetic ribbons (unlikely to be biodegradable) could be attached to the outside of my small backpack, leaving my hands free for photography.

Balloon releases are popular in this area to mark happy and sad occasions. Partly because some balloons are marketed as biodegradable many people are unaware of the hazards they pose to creatures. It is possible that the balloon we found was biodegradable. It had become sticky. Hubby used the tip of a walking pole to detach it from the sandstone rock it was on. The white plastic and the ribbons would have taken an indefinite time to decompose. There is no saying where they might have ended up. Probably it would have been in the sea as the path becomes a stream after heavy rain. The flowing water might have washed the plastic into the bay. A high tide could have taken it out to sea. I put it in a bin at St Bees beach. It will end up in landfill, where it remains a potential hazard, although it will be buried.

How long is it going to take before balloons are consigned to history like celluloid dolls?

Near to where the balloon was found cattle were grazing in a field. The nearby beach is a secluded beauty spot. The coast is managed by the National Trust and Cumbria County Council. A number of improvements have been made since the last time we walked so far along the path, which is popular with local people and visitors. An earlier walk is described here.

Here are some more attractive photos. The final one has more evidence of the thoughtlessness of people. Please respect the countryside. Take your litter home and take care not to start fires. And please, please, PLEASE do not release balloons or lanterns!

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West Cumberland Railway Museum

On the murky morning, when I took the first photo in the previous post, I visited the West Cumberland Railway Museum in St Bees, Cumbria.

The museum was set up by an enthusiastic collector of railway memorabilia and opened in June 2016. It is housed in a building, which has been used in recent times as a shop and as a hairdressers’. The single room contains a variety of items connected with the local railways, either with the Cumbria Coastal Railway or with former lines in the area. It opens for a few days each month or by special arrangement for visiting groups.

The window on a sunny day
The window on a sunny day

For each opening the well-organised static exhibition is augmented by a display concentrating on a particular aspect of the local railway’s history. For example, the Furness Railway Company has been featured. This time it was the turn of the Maryport and Carlisle Railway. A particular station may be featured in the future.

One of the station signs
One of the station signs

The development of the railway had an impact on the economies of local towns and there was competition to have access to the rail network. Almost all the trains in West Cumbria (or West Cumberland, as it was) were used to transport coal and iron ore. Passengers were of less economic importance on these lines.

An example of tourist information
An example of tourist information

It is possible to look around the museum unguided, but the owner is very knowledgeable and provides much background information. The exhibits range from tickets and timetables to lamps, gadgets, signs and pictures. Maps and drawings also help to set the scene.

Among pictures, which once decorated the walls of compartment trains advertising places to visit, I spotted Wordsworth House, Cockermouth, no longer on the railway.

Wordsworth House, Cockermouth - a possible destination
Wordsworth House, Cockermouth – a possible destination

 

Another favourite walk

After days of dull, wet and windy weather, there was some sunshine last Wednesday. Although the wind felt chilly, the sea was remarkably calm. Hubby and I enjoyed a walk along the beach. It was our first walk since Storm Desmond. Every tide alters the topography of the beach, but the changes over a few weeks were quite remarkable. We were wearing hiking boots and managed to walk on the sand, jumping or striding over some fast-flowing streams, without getting our feet wet.
One notable feature was a wide expanse of fairly deep water, which was not there before. The sand and some of the rocks have been moved around. Pebbles had been flung up onto the foreshore too.
We watched a bird of prey (probably a kestrel) hunting above the cliffs. It is only a smudge on one of my photos. It appeared to remain still, although the wind was strong.  There was a large dead bird on the tide-line. Last year we saw a gannet in a similar place. Although we did not go close, we suspect this was another.  Storms cause a number of casualties of this kind.
It was early afternoon, but the sun remains low in the sky in December.
Enjoy the slideshow!

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