GLW2302:  A Happy Shappy Birthday
Tuesday 18th April 2023

Shap is a somewhat maligned place.  Yes, it can bit a tad rainy.  However its image as a dour back-of-beyond village is changing, partly because of its strategic location for accommodation on the Coast to Coast long distance walk and partly due to its not too inconvenient position for folk to dwell who are working in Kendal or Penrith but have been priced out of those towns.  Tony would argue that its main attraction is the chip shop.

It has two other major features.  

To the south is the Earl of Lonsdale's remote hotel, Shap Wells, where fashionable Victorians would visit to take the waters of Shap Spa.  During World War II it served as a prisoner of war camp for senior Luftwaffe and German Naval Officers.  

Today it is a couch tour and function venue but more importantly, in its ground is a red squirrel sanctuary.

To the north are the remains of the 12th century Shap Abbey that belonged to the Premonstratensian order of monks and now in the care of English Heritage.

My birthday treat was a visit to both.

The squirrels were being shy, all except for one rather old and balding one, though we did a couple more at a distance as we walked up then down by the stream.

Whilst visiting the obelisk that was erected to celebrate Queen Victoria's accession to the throne, we also spotted a steam train whose passengers were seemingly on a Great Britain 15 day tour.  For the nerds, like me, as far as I can tell the engine was 46115 Scots Guardsman, based at Carnforth.

We drove on to Shap Abbey.  It was very peaceful.  A lovely place to wander round uninterrupted or just to sit and enjoy the sunshine.

In the stream were hundreds of minnows and a toad.  Can you spot him?

A Happy Shappy Birthday indeed.

Don, Tuesday 18th April 2023

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