CCP10:  Bardsea to Newbiggin

Wednesday 17th February 2010

A late start sometimes has its benefits.  Had we set off to catch the bus that I discovered last week (CCP09), we would have left the car at Roa Island and arrived back tired and cold and failed to do the place justice.  But through being too late for that bus, a more modest excursion proved to be one of the better legs of the journey.

The plan was to drive to Bardsea, then walk along the coast until around 4:30 by which time the bus from Barrow would be approaching on the coast road so wherever we happened to be, we would catch it.  This meant we had plenty of time for exploration. The map showed alternative routes- one on the coast and the other a little inland on the coastal road- presumably in case of high tides.  We decided that we would mostly stick to the coast but take the opportunity to explore the villages as we passed by.

In fact, exploration kicked in even earlier.  In CCP09 I bemoaned the fact that we had not seen more of the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre, better known as the Conishead Priory.  However, on our way to Bardsea, we saw its gates and decided to call in for a look around.  There is a strange juxtaposition of the Victorian gothic priory and a very modern Buddhist temple.  

Temple and priory

Priory Chimneys

Conishead Priory

Kadampa Buddhist Temple

We were able to walk around the grounds.  I was hoping we might be able to visit the café for a bowl of hari-soupa but unfortunately it doesn't open until March.  We did see a saffron gowned monk, who looked very serene if a little odd, being a young Caucasian.

Bardsea beach

On reaching Bardsea our slight fear of that part of the coast being overcast was allayed. It was a superb day with what clouds there were being in the distance.  Even better, the visibility was good, but not so clear that you could see Heysham nuclear power station!  

As far as we could recall, this was the first time on the Path that the tide was fully up, albeit on the turn.  We set off along the beach but once round the bend we found some comfortable rocks on which to have our lunch.

High tide

Lunch stop

This stretch of coastline must be a treat for twitchers.  There were all sorts of sea and wading birds.  Unfortunately I don't know what most of them were.

In the distance we could see two bushes on the beach with strange adornments.  On closer examination the "fruit" turned out to be litter, gathered and placed.

Wading birds

Litter bushes

The first village we explored was Baycliff. The climb up to it was a bit of a shock.  It looked a pleasant place where a lot of development was in hand.  The Fisherman's Inn seemed no longer to be open but the Farmer's Arms was and the village presumably can't support two such establishments.

Baycliff centre!

Baycliff outskirts

Returning to the coast, Margaret made friends with a couple of donkeys.  She likes donkeys.

Margaret's friends

Back on the beach

It was such a lovely day that we thought there would be pleny of washing for Margaret to paint. That was another reason why we thought we would detour via the villages. However, the only worthwhile washing that we saw was at Maskel Point, right on the edge of the beach.

Heading into the sun

Washing at Maskel Point

A notice said that cockling was prohibited- I think it is the close season.  There was plenty of evidence that when the law permits, cockling is actively persued.

Running into the sea were several ancient wooden structures.  But for what?  I thought they could have been used for fishing but Margaret is of the mind that they were for erosion control.

Ready to cockle

What are these for?

After Baycliff is Aldingham.  This is just a hamlet but has a beautiful church right by the edge of the beach.  It is called St Cuthbert's because two hundred years after his death, his coffin was carried around England by six monks until he reached his final resting place in Durham.  Wherever the coffin rested on The Journey, a church was built in his name.

St Cuthbert's. Aldingham

The view from the graveyard

The building dates back to Norman times as can be seen by the thickness of the pillars on the north aisle.  It has lots of interesting features like a squint window and a hole in the wall so that lepers could receive communion bread pushed through to the outside by the priest using long tongs.  See Visit Cumbria and its related links for more photos and information.

The Norman pillars

The Squint

The centre aisle

St Cuthbert's Nursing Home

Just up the lane is another fine building, Aldingham St Cuthbert's Nursing Home, specialising in looking after elderly patients with dementia.

[Afternote: on a visit in 2017 we were told that the church was renovated in 1846 by a very wealthy man called Stonnard, a pal of Queen Victoria.  He died not long after and left all his money to his butler.  The lucky chap spent £30,000 on building a modest home for himself- Aldingham Hall, now St Cuthbert's Nursing Home!]

Back on the beach, a lone horse rider was well out on the sands.  Given all the warnings about quicksands, why don't horse hooves sink into the sand?

The lone horse and rider


Leaving Aldingham

Approaching Newbiggin

The next village is Newbiggin.  By the time we reached it, the sun was getting low in the sky and a cold wind had sprung up, coming directly off the sea.  There was about half an hour before the bus was due so we hoped that there would be a bus shelter with a seat where we could have a coffee and finish off our butties.  There was a bus shelter.  But the seats were little more than bum perches and the wind was blowing right through the shelter so we decided instead to have a look round Newbiggin.  It didn't take long.  It is an untidy little village, the only thing of note being a trough of crocii getting ready to bloom.  

The bus shelter


We returned to the bus stop, grateful that we were not having to plod onwards in the cold dusk to Roa Island.  In fact the bus was almost on time and whisked us back to our car where we did have that coffee and finished off the butties.  The flexibility had worked well.

Don, 17th February 2010


The 5.1 miles covered brings our CCP total to 68.1 miles. 
There was also 375 feet of climbing.

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 These pages log
the progress of
Don and Margaret
along the
Cumbria Coastal Path.


 Click on the photos
for an enlargement or related large picture.



CCP01: Arnside to
Levens Bridge


CCP02: Levens Bridge to
Gilpin Bridge


CCP03: Gilpin Bridge to


CCP04: Grange-over-Sands
to Cark


CCP05: Flookburgh
and back to Cark


CCP06: Cark to Speel Bank
(plus a Cistercian Way sampler)


CCP07: Speel Bank to
Low Wood via Bigland Tarn


CCP08: Low Wood
to Ulverston


Ulverston to Bardsea


Bardsea to Newbiggin


Newbiggin to Roa Island




The Washing Lines

as seen by Margaret:

will appear here!









BOOT boys

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