Day Forty Four

We are near the town of Whitehaven, which was once a major port,
then a mining town until the the Thatcher years, and now…well now
it looks a little sad. It’s clear that the town has been through tough
times, although there is no sign of it where we are, out of town. It’s
not “pretty” like the other places we have been to- the houses are
utilitarian, there are no embellishments. Most of them look like
council houses. The bare basics of shelter. There are no flower
boxes, no trees.
We set off to the local superstore to stock up on things…and it’s an
interesting exercise in observation. You can see that people have it a
little harder here than other places we have been. There is a certain
toughness that has crept into their faces.
Anyway, shopping done, a local Morrison store which was quite
good, we go off to the village of Ravenglass which boats a local
steam train service that runs through the hills. Chris used to travel to
school on a steam train sometimes but I have never been on one,
and am quite excited.
We’re in for a surprise though, it’s is small gauge train, running from
the turn of the early 1900s…but it’s tiny! One third the size of a
normal train, the railway was originally put in to run goods and
people through what was an inaccessible area. The train on the way
has open carriages, so we have full views of the countryside on the
way. It includes grazing pastures, hillsides, mountains, glimpses of
rivers, a tidal sand bed…it’s lovely. And I thought I saw a red squirrel
in a tree. Pretty sure I did!
We alight at the end of the line in Dalegarth For Boot, near the
village of Boot, and walk up through the forest to the falls there.
The forest is beautiful, straight out of hobbit country. Everything is
covered in fat green moss and the colours are a soft muted green.
With the event rain we have had, the river is running fast and whilst
we don’t have time to make it to the summit, there are mini falls in a
number of places. Very pretty, very hobbitsy.
We head back in time to make the last but one train, and this time
the carriages are mostly enclosed, still tiny, like a railway in
miniature, but enclosed. I hang my head outmatched window for
most of it, especially when the guard is not looking. It’s totally
unspoiled, green loveliness. Chris spots a pheasant in the grass on
the way home. He’s huge! A male too, so he’s stunning.
We have a small drama on the way home with a door catch that
comes apart – a job for tomorrow I think. Some level of stress there
are it’s the door to our pantry. Still, nothing a cocktail or two can’t
fix.
Think I will fill the squirrel feeders with almonds when we get
home….and wait.

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