Walk #440: Burgh by Sands to Cargo via Carlisle
Map of the walk
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format. For a detailed table of timings for this walk, please see the table file.
I was really not looking forward much to this walk, as it was going to be another long estuary walk of the kind that I am all to familiar with. Fortunately it turned out to be much better than I was expecting as the walk along the River Eden was quite lovely. There were many wild flowers out, and in places the grass was a sea of green, yellows, reds and blues, making a beautiful sight. It was also noticeable that I am starting to see nettles, and that these annoying plants are now growing large enough to be troublesome. Despite this, I am quite pleased that it is getting towards summer, and the countryside is so much prettier.
Early on in the walk I decided to go and visit the Edward I monument, which is sited on the marshes just to the north of Burgh by Sands. This monument commemorates the death of Edward I, who was knows as Edward Longshanks and also as the 'Hammer of the Scots', at the place where he died on his way to yet another battle against the Scottish. The monument is fairly ordinary and not very distinguished, but it fits in quite well with the surrounding marshland. Considering his reputation, I find it quite funny that the monument is so obviously within sight of Scotland - and I wonder if the railings and locked gates are there to stop irate historically minded Scotsmen from damaging it.
It had been my plan to walk into the centre of Carlisle, so I could have a look around some shops - it was the first large town that I have been in for some time. On the map it looked as though the first crossing place of the river was on the outskirts of the city, which made the city centre a few minute's walk away. However as I walked along the river, I came across an old rail bridge going across the river on a series of brick arches. There is no footpath running across this bridge, but closer study revealed that the palisade fencing at both ends had been damaged so you could walk through, and by the look of the path across the viaduct it was regularly used. I was very tempted to use the bridge to cross the river and to save the rest of the walk into Carlisle, but I had planned to walk into the city centre and quite fancied doing that, so I ignored the shortcut. I would also state that although the bridge was open when I walked across, it is not a footpath and the fencing may be repaired at any time, so I would not depend on this bridge being available to cross the river.
I have never been to Carlisle before, although I have been through it on a train. I was surprised by how nice the centre of the city was - the cathedral and old market square were all nicely laid out, and looked very clean and smart. I was due to meet Sam by the Tourist Information office, but I arrived early and so I nipped into the W.H. Smiths so that I could have a look around. I ended up buying another audio book - 'Red Rabbit', by Tom Clancy, and a Dale Brown Book that I can read before I go to sleep. Sam found me in the shop, and we had another look around before departing and going to a pub just behind he Tourist Information Office. I was in need of a rest, so we spent some time in the pub, where I succumbed to a couple of pints, and we chatted as I waited to restart the walk. Eventually I could not put it off any longer, and so I stepped out and made my way to the bridge over the river.
The walk along the northern bank of the River Eden was reasonably enjoyable, which was nice as I had been expecting it to be boring as I had just walked along the southern bank. I reached Cargo just as it was starting to rain, and I had a couple of minutes of a very heavy shower just before I finally - and thankfully - reached Mervan.
Tomorrow will be my last day in England of the trip, and I expect that it will be quite a sad day for that reason. I first entered England on the fifth of sixth ay of the trip, and despite my lengthy interlude in Wales I have been in the country for some time. I have slightly lengthened my route to Gretna and the border - I did not fancy walking along the A74 as it was probably going to be quite a busy road (it is a short section of dual carriageway sandwiched between two motorways), and so I am going to walk inland to the next crossing point of the River Esk at Longtown.
Today was also my 219'th walk of the trip, which means that the day that I cross the border will also be the day that I have walked for as many days on this trip as I have on all the other walks since the beginning of 1999 - the first day of this trip was walk 222, and so day 442 (221 multiplied by 2) will be that day.
This walk starts off at the Greyhound Inn in the village of Burgh by Sands. Walk eastwards along the road through the village towards the church, and when a crossroads is reached before the church turn left to head northwards through North End. This road crests a hill and when it starts to curve to the right walk to the left down a track. When this track ends turn right and walk across the marshes towards the obvious King Edward I monument. From the monument a footpath heads towards the farm at Old Sandsfield; I had trouble finding this path, so it may be easier to walk northeastwards through the marshes beside the field boundary to get to Old Sandsfield.
At Old Sandsfield follow a track that heads along the edge of the estuary; at high tides this track may be covered. After a few hundred yards the track turns to the right to head inland, crossing a stream and passing Holmesmill before ending at a T-junction with a public road. Turn to the left and follow the road eastwards until it ends at a T-junction. At the junction turn to the left for a short distance, and when the road curves sharply to the right continue on along a footpath, which heads northeastwards across a couple of little bridges to the river bank.
The footpath then follows the bank of the River Eden all the way into Carlisle; the path is obvious and navigation is easy. On the way it passes through the villages of Beaumont and Kirkandrews-on-Eden.
Cross the river using the A7 road bridge, and on the other side descend down and walk along he riverbank past a cricket ground. The path then follows the other bank of the River Eden as it curves around. As the path approaches the village of Cargo, turn to the right and follow a footpath that heads northwards into the village, joining a track that ends at the road through Cargo. This walk ends at the village pub, a hundred yards to the right along the road.
For more details of the Cumbria Coastal Way, see the excellent little book, The Cumbria Coastal Way: A Walker's Guide", by Ian and Krysia Brodie, ISBN 187355110X. This book is a lovely and detailed description of the walk, and unfortunately I did not manage to get a copy until after I fnished the walk, for it would have been quite handy.
This makes a total distance of 17.3 miles, with 991 feet of ascent and 1007 feet of descent.
We spent the night at the Dandy Dinmont Caravan and Camping site, Blackford, Carlisle, Cumbria CA 4EA. This site was quite nice, and cost us nine pounds and fifty pence for the night. They can be contacted on (01228) 674611.
Please note that I take no responsibility for anything that may happen when following these directions. If you intend to follow this route, then please use the relevant maps and check the route out before you go out. As always when walking, use common sense and you should be fine.
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And finally, enjoy your walking!
This walk was mentioned in the following routes: