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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Walk 186 Bowness on Solway to Anthorn (Cumbria)

Walk 186 Bowness on Solway to Anthorn (Cumbria)

(Fourth leg of English coastal walk – Gretna Green to Chester) 2
Map: L/R 85
Distance: 7 miles or 16 km approx
Difficulty: fairly easy, mainly flat
Terrain: Road following the cycle route
Access: Parking in each location
Public transport: 93 bus to Bowness on Solway from Carlisle currently leaves at 9:10. 93A bus currently leaves at 1:50 and 5:30 from Anthorn back to Carlisle.

This is a quiet walk – one of those where you are unlikely to meet many, if any, other walkers. However, you will see many cows ambling across and along the road. Leaving Bowness, there are several lay-bys on the road with view points to observe local bird life. The Campfield Nature Reserve is managed by the RSPB.

At Herdhill Scar there used to be a railway that went across the water on a 1940 yard viaduct to Annan in Scotland. It was opened in 1869 and had 192 arches. In 1875 it was damaged when water got into the hollow iron pillars; it froze and cracked them. Six years later ice jammed the estuary with ice up to 3 metres thick and ripped two gaps in the viaduct. This sort of damage was one of the reasons it was closed in 1924 and demolished in 1935. Another reason (apparently) was that Scots had no access to alcohol on Sunday and used to use the viaduct to cross to the other side. Occasionally, when they worse for wear, a few fell into the Solway and drowned.

After a few miles you come to the small settlement of Cardurnock with good views across the sand and mud flats. There is access to a flat beach here – definitely away from the crowds! Look out for what looks like a home made wooden seat at the side of the road.

The rather sinister looking aerials form the inland view for much of the walk to Anthorn. The aerials are up to 748 feet high and are VLF (very low frequency). They have been here since 1964 and are a link in NATO's defence system particularly transmitting to submarines. The area was once a landing strip for the military and this closed in 1958.

The housing development in the village of Anthorn once housed military personnel. The bus stop is here.

Photos: the aerials at Cardurnock; a view from near here across the Solway Firth.

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