Day 132: Kirkby-in-Furness to Bootle Station
Distance: 24.5 miles
Ascent: 1535 feet
Accommodation: The Harrison Household
I had to be dropped back at the coast to restart the walk today, but due to logistics at the cottage by the time I was at the coast it was already 12. This was no one’s fault but had just arisen due to situation. I didn’t let on, but I was very anxious about this as I had to walk 25 miles (possibly 28 miles if there were issues) which with a food stop and a couple of short breaks would normally be about 10 hours (11 hours if issues).
But there was nothing to be done about it, so I said goodbye to the Shires after having a great time with them and set of from Kirkby Station on the river side. The sun was shining, and I just aimed to make quick time. Unfortunately, I came up against an issue almost immediately with there being no way to cross a small muddy river and the actual footpath crossed the railway line across the tracks on the other side of the railway bridge. I decided as it was only 5 meters I would just cross the railway bridge and join the path on the other side and this was very smooth and I spent no more time on the line than the official crossing anyway.
From here I had thought I would have to divert inland a little on roads but there appeared to be a farmers track that would take me almost all the way to Foxfield in a straight line, and apart from one gate there were no obstructions the whole way.
Unfortunately, at Foxfield I had to join a quite busy road, though there was a pavement on the side and after a mile just at a junction suddenly a car pulled up beside and the man got out. I wondered what was happening, but the gentlemen had read about my walk and just wanted to come and say hi and donate in person which was very kind and cheered me right up (not that I wasn’t happy in the sun already.) After this I followed a little track to Broughton-in-Furness, from which I had to climb up a hill before dropping down and to Duddon Bridge.
I had hoped once across the bridge I could follow the embankment even though it wasn’t shown as a path on the map, and fortunately other than a sign saying no fishing, there appeared to be no signs saying No Public Access and all the gates were either wide open or not locked so I was able to follow the embankment and tracks down the Duddon River for the next 6 miles before heading briefly across a short section of mudflats just shy of Millom onto an ex industrial but of land.
From here the path was quite busy heading around the seawall/embankment of the Millom Lagoon which was massive and a great place for watersports. Absolutely starving by now I popped into a Londis in Haverigg about 6pm. Maybe it was because lots of people had come to the coast but this Londis had even less in than normal, I had to settle for a cold lamb samosa, two pork pies and some chocolate for my late lunch/early dinner. As soon as I finished this I was on my way and it was looking like I had made good time and may even make it to my finish point by 9pm.
With the sun still out this next stage was really scenic as I headed out into the dunes before dropping down to the beach which I followed for 4 miles until it became rocky all of a sudden and I headed up onto the low cliffs from near Gutterby. My body took a real crash at this point, and it was just complete physical fatigue from the week and I literally had to sit down instantly and just finish the last of my water. I had to really just tell myself it was less than an hour until I would arrive at my destination where there would be a bed, food and shower and I managed to get myself up and going.
My body was still tired and I was definitely dragging my feet a bit but weirdly with the setting sun and the stunning scenery I enjoyed this last hour. I turned up at Annaside Farm, and after a bit of lane and then path (and the only muddy bit of the day just before the end annoyingly) I reached Bootle Station and my finish point a little before 9pm.
My hosts for the rest day The Harrisons had very kindly held of serving dinner, and after a very quick shower we sat down for a lovely Venison Stew, and you can guess what was for dessert, you guessed right a lovely Sticky Toffee Pudding. My room was lovely, and I had been made to feel very welcome which after a longish day where I finished quite late was very appreciated. Trudy Harrison is actually the MP for the local area Copeland.
So a late start, meant a late finish but there were some incredibly scenic moments today and I am glad to have finished a week that had far too many miles in it.