Day 12 to16 – Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire and Cheshire
Well actually it was a few less than eight days going around the north but it’s been nearly a week since I last posted a blog so you’ll have to excuse the poetic license.
After the blustery night in County Durham I headed up into Northumberland with some trepidation. I really had no idea of where I was going so I looked in the guide books and selected Bamburgh Castle which is quite a long way north, nearly as far as Holy Isle, however it was well worth the trip (953 total miles).
Bamburgh Castle is a massive pile on top of another massive pile of rock on the north sea coast. It seems to be, because I arrived too late to make it worth paying to get in, a collection of developments from the medieval period up to the Napoleonic era.
The next day I moved onto to Cumberland, as it used to be known before all the counties were renamed. I tried a camp site down on the shores of Derwent Water but it was just a bit too wet. They gave me a choice of locations. The first had a magnificent view over the water with the shore just ten or so metres away but on ground that was waterlogged and with the wind blowing straight across the water at me. The second was on drier ground with a bit more shelter but a less magnificent view. Both sites would have involved a considerable trek of hundreds of yards to the car. After about ten minutes I went somewhere else and found another camp site (1113 miles), unbelievably, on a hill top which was still exposed but drier. Necessity led me to face my tent into a dry stone wall for shelter and use the truck as a wind break again. However, I met up with a couple of great guys and we managed to organise cars and tents such that we had the best cover possible under the circumstances. It did also serve to give me some confidence in the stability of the Khyam Igloo against strong winds, not that it was ever in any doubt.
Westmorland was different in that I had trouble finding it. Of course the places are still there but the county no longer exists so finding a place to camp that was definitely in the boundaries of the old county was problematic. I ended having to visit the main library at Kendle but eventually found a really nice caravan and camp site with five star facilities (1174 miles).
The Lancashire day started with a downpoor, probably the remains of the severe weather that hit the south of England that week, not that I knew about it apart from word of mouth up here.
Most of the Lancashire day was spent trying to get to the Blackpool branch of my bank to get my new bank card which turned into a comedy of errors but you’ll have to buy the book to read about that. I did manage to dry my tent out in my mates garden which was handy and in the evening we demolished half a bottle of Grouse. Half a bottle wasn’t really enough but a full bottle would have been too much. Why don’t they sell three quarter bottles? (1238 miles.)
Finally, well so far at least, I arrived in Cheshire, after battling through the towns because of my desire to avoid motorways, and had a look at Beeston Castle which is next door to Peckforten castle that we visited a few years ago. Beeston castle is the original thirteenth century castle that probably inspired Peckforten Castle built by a local land owner. Like Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland, Beeston Castle is built on a massive pile of rocky outcrop, only the outcrop is much higher. Unlike Bamburgh Castle Beestone Castle is an utter. ruin and it is even suggested that it was never actually finished.
Thursday ended with the usual hunt for a camp site. While driving away from Beestone Castle, to get a shot of it on its prominence from a distance, I stumbled upon a pub, as you do, which turned out to have its own camp site (1315 miles) so I spent the evening there looking out at the Peckforten and Beeston Castles while eating my fish and chips with my pint.