Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Case of the Curious Chimney

Chimney and Quicksand Pool
The chimney on Jenny Brown's Point is a local landmark and can be seen some distance away whether seaward from this south side of Morecambe Bay or when walking on the surrounding hills. 
Its size can be judged by my companion making his way around the point at low tide.  It is often referred to as being as a copper smelter from 1790 (in the past small mining companies operated in the area) but there is no evidence such as the copper slag that would have be left behind from this process.
Another idea was it was a ventilation shaft for a mine but there is no trace of a mine, perhaps it was a lime kiln was another suggestion, but they did not have chimneys plus there is no discolouration inside as evidence of chimney use.  So is the curious chimney, despite always being called a chimney, ever been used for that purpose? Nobody really knows when it was built . John Bolton in a "From Keer to Kent:" journal item comes up with a possible explanation when he found an article from 1945 by E Cuthbert Woods* who made mention of a very early guide (1796) to the Lakes by Father West (author of Antiquities of Furness) complete with map of the route across the sands from Hest Bank to Ulverston. On the position of what is now called Jenny Brown's Point is shown a tower with flames and smoke issuing from the top and identified with the word - "beacon".
It is possible it was a guide to ships bringing ore to the furnaces of  Leighton Beck which operated from 1713 to 1806.  The sea at this time flowed further inland and there would have been a good channel half a mile to the landward side of the chimney (shown on the charts of 1736), smoke signals would have provided navigation assistance.  An additional benefit would be to provided guidance to those people crossing the sands from Hest Bank to Silverdale.
Over recent decades the changing sands have revealed the timber of the old jetty at this point.  I believe that in front of nearby Brown's

cottages it used to be sand and grass but with the higher tides and the shift of the River Kent bed  in its hundred year cycle from one side of the estuary to the other this has been scoured off. Perhaps in decades to come the water will lap once more at the protective wall and there will be a point once more for a jetty but in the days of electronic charts and echo sounders not chimney beacons .

*"Some History of the Coastwise Lights of Lancashire and Cheshire" by E Cuthbert Woods. Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Volume 97, 1945

An entry to ABC Wednesday - join the journey through the alphabet

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Round the Bend

Parton from Redness Point
Bit by Bit I am knocking off the various sections of the Cumbria Coastal Way and this bend of the railway line follows part of it. I'm walking on the the old tram road above (it is now a cycle path) that used to connect to the Parton Brickworks before the railway arrived. One of the ironies is that in 1840 the first locomotive for the Maryport to Carlisle railway was built further up the coast at Lowca but it had to be transported down to Parton to be sent by seagoing barge up to Maryport as this line did not exist.  This section of the Coastal Way from Whitehaven to Workington could be described as a walk through Britain's industrial past of ironworks, mines and engineering.
If you are having problems with bends this is the person to solve your problems, Bull Dog Drainage, making a house call at the aforementioned Lowca, we spotted his van again later in the day when we arrived in Workington picking up parts at the Plumb Centre. Problem solved.   As it was one of the hottest days of the year we were just looking a shop selling ice cream.
The Beachcomber, Parton
 No Beachcoming on this trip and no refreshing drinks at the Beachcomber pub, it closed in 2009.  There were plans for four houses to be built on the site but nothing seems to be happening, they would have great Irish Sea views.
Next week I will be on home ground in Morecambe Bay and just around the bend from this little bay.  It is unusual for me to know what I'm doing for a next weeks ABC but the reason is the object has both a B and a C in its name.

An entry to ABC Wednesday - a journey though the alphabet

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

All Aboard for Appleby and ABC Wednesday

Let me take you on a journey to Appleby arriving by train, which is really just an excuse for me
Union of South Africa A4 Locomotive moves off after taking water at Appleby.
to show once again an A4 Pacific locomotive.  This one is, at the moment, halted in York and rests on a turntable in the National Railway Museum, joined by the iconic Mallard (the fastest steam locomotive in the world reaching 126mph in 1936) and the Bittern which became the fastest steam locomotive of the preservation era in June this year reaching 92½ mph.  The Dominion of Canada and Dwight D Eisenhower have crossed the Atlantic from Canada and the USA, been painted. cleaned and rebuilt at the Shildon workshop and become part of the Great Gathering of the six surviving A4s, including of course the one named after the great designer himself Sir Nigel Gresley.
But its time to leave Appleby Station and walk down the hill although perhaps pausing awhile to look
at the plaque commemorating Eric Treacy (1907-1978) railway photographer extraordinaire who died on the station of a heart attack while waiting to take photographs of the 'Evening Star', the last steam locomotive to be built by BR.
And it seems to be market day by the Low Cross which is an 18th Century copy of one from the 1600s there is also a 17th Century one at the top of the hill called, you've guessed it, the High Cross
This view is down the wide street of Broughgate and its Lime Trees which as this was taken in March have yet to acquire their intense green leaves
Going round the other side there is some writing from the 17th Century which says "Retain your loyalty, preserve your rights" which I presume is a reference the English Civil War. I wonder if it was put there by Lady Ann Clifford who was, as her title infers, a loyalist to the crown.  She is better known for her tenacious fight for the right to inherit her father's property against the prevailing male line of inheritance.
She is buried in a rather grand tomb in the St Lawrence Church for on obtaining her inheritance on the death of her father's brother she went on to repaired churches and built almshouses. The St Lawrence church dates from the 12th Century but was rebuilt in the 14th Century after being burnt down by the Scots in the Border Wars. The porch is 1300 but the dog tooth moulding is 100 years older, the church itself has been continued to be altered throughout the 17th-19th centuries. With regard to the Ann Clifford's tomb I appear only to have taken a photograph of the sheep
on her mother Margaret's tomb but I think it is rather sweet.

Maybe if I had called in at the Tourist Information (located in the 16th Century Moot Hall) they would have said take more photographs, although my long suffering partner would probably not agree with that last statement.
I could also have taken photographs of the Alms Houses built by Lady Clifford to the right of this white building but of course the white took my eye. If my memory is right it is the Masons Lodge.

 Time to take another photograph you never know when an A might needed for ABC Wednesday and an Astral Circus parked in Appleby might come in handy!  Time for a rest?
Then take your ease in the ABoard Inn (like the High Cross also dating from the 17th Century), and join these two enjoying drinking and playing draughts.

An entry to ABC Wednesday - join the journey through the alphabet now starting its 13th Round

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Lets Zigzag

Smardale, Cumbria
Here is the letter Z in limestone gently zigzagging up the hill  or for our purposes zigzagging down also a good way for humans to come down a steep hill.   Now what else can I find, oh yes
Hodbarrow Point, Cumbria
a natural zigzag around a rock-pool.
Woodbridge Station, Suffolk
An ornate zigzagging awning on Woodbridge station, a pleasant place to wait for a train because one can watch the yachts bobbing about on the water to pass the time, a couple of these people are doing that very thing.  Getting dizzy with all this zigzagging perhaps I'll move to the zany
 A wall walking sheep.   The grass is always greener on the other side. 
Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria
And lastly a zany clown, at least I think that is what it is supposed to be.  The stall in front of the obelisk is doing a plant swap although there seemed to be more chatting than swapping.  The clown may have had something to do with the candy floss stall hidden at the back. I can never resist candy floss.  Phew that is the tricky letter Z over for another round of ABC.   

An entry to ABC Wednesday where the end of the alphabet has been reached. 
Are you in for the next round? 

Monday, 1 July 2013

Yellow Yacht Yonder

A walk over the Haverigg sand dunes which at this time of the year are ablaze with yellow flowers but I spotted one lone plant 
Limnanthes douglasii
I did not expect to see, a poached egg plant.  It must have seeded from a garden escapee, it is not a native plant although once planted in an English garden they are prolific.  I always thought they liked moist soil but here they are happily growing in sand
And enjoying the sun
The tide had ebbed and we walked to where the River Lazy joins the sea  and what do I spy but a yellow yacht in the distance

 high and dry on the sand yonder.  We walk on north returning to the sand dunes and
later when on the top gaze towards the lighthouse and  see the yellow yacht beginning to float although the tide 
still had a way to come in, we waited no longer as there was an appointment with an ice-cream

An entry to ABC Wednesday - a journey through the alphabet nearing the end (of this round).  I must have been so overexcited about that fact that I thought today was Tuesday and now realise my error, still Monday. Gosh almost like having a longer week.  It makes a change for me to be ahead of time, I'm a waiting for the deadline to appear kind of person.