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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Walk 188 Maryport to Workington (Cumbria)

Walk 188 Maryport to Workington (Cumbria)

(Fourth leg of English coastal walk – Gretna Green to Chester) 2

Map: L/R 89
Distance: 9 miles or 14 km approx
Difficulty: fairly easy for the most part
Terrain: coastal path, some road
Access: Parking in each location
Public transport: 31 and 30 buses go frequently between the two towns

It is worth walking out on the harbour arm at Maryport to get good views before following the path around the marina. The town was built by the Senhouse family in the 18th century and Humphrey Senhouse named it after his wife Mary. It became an industrial port with the development of coal mining and the export of coal to Ireland and around the coast. The old Maryport to Carlisle Railway (1870-1927) enabled coal and iron products to be moved efficiently in and out of the port.

If you have time, the Maritime Museum at Maryport is good to learn more about the town. There is reference to Fletcher Christian here (mutiny of/on the Bounty) who he lived nearby. Many other interesting facts about the town can be discovered including the story of Thomas Ismay, founder of the White Star Line which built the Titanic.

In front of the museum is an interesting sculpture of fishermen by local craftsman Colin Telfer. He is the first artist to use iron ore in a sculpture, calling this one, 'A Fishy Tale'. The ore comes from Egremont near Whitehaven.

Look out for Elizabeth dock (which was named after Henry Senhouse's daughter) and the plaque marking the loss of three Maryport fishermen off Scotland in 2009. A major three day blues festival is held in the town and has attracted such artists as Jools Holland, Dionne Warwick and Chuck Berry.

Follow the path, which runs parallel with the beach, south out of Maryport. After a couple of miles you reach the old village of Flimby. The shoe firm New Balance has a factory here.

The walk between here and Workington is marked by a land wind farm and some industry. The path is clear enough but, when I went, it was a weekend and the area was dominated by youngsters speeding up and down on their motocross bikes. They are fast, throwing up clouds of dust and a bit scary as you hope you have been noticed.

On the way into Workington you need to cross the River Derwent. A policeman lost his life here directing traffic during the floods of 2009. The walk continues past the Workington Town Rugby League Club. The ground, which is shared with speedway, looked in poor shape to me. A more unusual sport, based in the town since the Middle Ages is 'Uppies and Downies'. It is a form of mob football which takes place between far apart places in the town (the harbour and some parkland). Injuries have been a concern!

Workington is a port and past industries have been based on coal, steel and vehicle manufacture. In the 2000s there was some regeneration which included the positioning of several works of art in the town centre.

Photos show: harbour at Maryport; the walk to Workington with wind farm and motocross.

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