Experience the Solway Coast, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The definitive tourist guide to the Western Lake District
Whether you enjoy birdwatching, invigorating coastal walks or sampling the finest, freshest local seafood, this beautiful, coastal landscape has something to tempt you.
These last few days I have had to take time out to remind myself that I haven't just died and gone to heaven. With the sun beating down and the mercury regularly hitting the mid-twenties, the Western Lake District is like paradise and I have taken every chance to make hay and explore.
On yet another sunny afternoon this week, I set out to walk the coastal path that runs from Whitehaven to St Bees. Set up by a bite to eat at the Wellington Bistro at The Beacon museum, I followed the signs to the coastal path.
The path curls up onto the cliffs and past the aptly named Candlestick, which was formerly a chimney for the boilers at the Wellington coalmine. Kells, the area where the coastal route begins, was originally a mining community and The Candlestick is one of a series of mementos to its industrial past.
At the top of the cliffs I was treated to a fine view back over Whitehaven harbour, as well as towards St Bees Head and also a hazily distant Isle of Man. Every step along the coastal path revealed a new perspective on the spectacular scenery, with the twinkling sea and cliff-top breeze ensuring the heat was pleasant rather than stifling.
One of the high points of the walk came as it wound its way past St Bees Head RSPB reserve. The reserve is home to a plethora of species, including guillemots, kittiwakes, herring gulls and razorbills. Any "birders" would no doubt have been in paradise.
From the cliffs the path dropped down to the sandy beach at St Bees, which was filled with both sea and sun bathers, picnicking, swimming and playing.
The great thing about the walk was that there was no need to loop back inland or retrace my steps. A quick bit of forward planning with the bus timetable meant I was able to jump on a service back to Whitehaven and a well-deserved pint. If you prefer to go by train, then you can also pick up a train back up the coast from St Bees station.
Find out more:
Wellington Bistro at The Beacon: www.thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk
St Bees Head RSPB reserve: www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/s/stbeeshead/