We hadn’t really intended to do much of a walk at all – just a gentle stroll up on to St
Bees Head from St Bees itself, the start of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk – reputedly now the most popular long-distance walk in Britain.
But it was a really beautiful day. As we wandered across the sands, and the tide was way out, the slight heat haze lifted and the visibility was grand. A few other people strolled the sands and it was all rather idyllic.
So we climbed up to St Bees Head and to the old lookout point, used for the defence of the realm during the War.
A way to the west, a thin bank of cloud hung down over the Irish Sea. I thought I could see land there. And, as we climbed higher the distant cloud lifted and the Isle of Man came into view, near thirty miles away across the water. It’s highest peak, Snaefell, most prominent.
The cliffs here are good for birds. There were a great number of black raven guillemots – circling around, diving in masses towards the sea around Fleswick (pronounced Flezzick) Bay.
Though we had not planned for a walk we decided to go on as far as St Bees Lighthouse two and a half miles from our starting point.
Good views now across the Solway to Scotland and the hills of Galloway.
The lighthouse was first established here in 1717, but that was destroyed by fire. The present lighthouse dates from 1866 and its light may be seen from the Isle of Man.
We walked back the same way, as some speed unfortunately concerned that our parking time was running out.
Pity really, we’d have liked to linger rather longer on this very dramatic stretch of the Cumbrian Coast.
Afterwards we went to see St Bees Church about which more next time.