Day 129: Arnside to Cark
Distance: 26.09 miles
Ascent: 1181 feet
Accommodation: Camping Behind Cark Village Hall (With Permission)
I was up early and after cooking a bacon sarnie in the hostel I was off about 7:30. The forecast was for dry weather and it had looked alright out of the window, so I was slightly surprised when it started to rain lightly just after I had left. Fortunately, it was only a very short shower, so I did not even need to put waterproofs on.
I followed the promenade until the railway, which I crossed over at the platform using the station bridge. It was very tempting to jump on the train which was on the platform and would take me over the spectacular viaduct to the other side of the river, but instead I had a moderate inland diversion. There was no path shown on the map for this part but I had proposed to follow the embankment and fortunately it turned out it was a permissive path and one that was actually quite widely used all the way to Sandside.
From Sandside I used the pavement, before the path headed of on an embankment and returned to the road at Milnthorpe Bridge. This was a lovely bridge and the water here looked perfect for swimming and in fact I think was used for this as this section was not fenced. After crossing the bridge I came across the first of quite a few mysterious Cumbria Coastal Way path markers, signposting a route that now ‘apparently’ doesn’t exist and the council asked to be removed from the OS map.
The route followed quiet country roads from here and the sun had come out making for fast and nice walking. I passed Levens Hall where the route joined a proper footpath, and took me through woods full of wild garlic (see below), before heading down and around Levens Moss. Where the path reached the very busy A590 I had to cross over and there was a pub open The Gilpin Bridge Inn. I decided to have my morning tea here and reevaluate the day. In what was going to turn out to be a day of lots of kindness, they kindly gave me my tea and snack complimentary and gave a donation. Sadly and astonishingly the woman behind the bar was the third bar or cafe worker I have spoken to within a week who had had a friend commit suicide very recently.
My route followed small roads and then embankments all the way to Crag Wood. The sun and temperature was just perfect and after a short stretch of footpaths I was back on quiet roads all the way to Grange-over-Sands. Grange felt quite posh and was also the most touristy place around. I bought some stuff in the Co-op and had a lovely little picnic and was soon on my way.
I followed the sea side of the railway line along the edge of the mud flats as far as Kents Bank. Here I had plotted that I would have to head inland annoyingly, but on arriving I saw a dog walker who said I should be able to carry on along the edge of the mud flats and around the corner which I did and it was actually really fun and I easily rejoined the path. Hopefully when it get sets up the English Coast Path will go this way.
From here I followed quiet lanes down to the Haven holiday park where I joined the Old Embankment. After 3 or so miles of embankment and foreshore walking I was approaching the train line and after crossing a little bridge and walking over the tracks I arrived in Cark.
I headed to The Rose & Crown Pub to ask if they knew anywhere to pitch and the welcome I got was amazing. The woman behind the bar rang someone who allowed me to pitch my tent behind the village hall, she gave me a complimentary dinner, lots of locals gave donations, and to top it off breakfast has been offered for before I leave tomorrow. I honestly can’t thank everyone enough for making me so welcome.
So a great day and I am still a few miles ahead which is good as my routes for the next 3 days are red flagged so there may be a few issues.