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Last modified: March 02, 2004
South Western Cumbria
Whitehaven is now the main port, but in the past the natural harbour at Ravenglass was of prime importance to the Romans who transported supplies to the north England interior via Eskdale. They built a garrison fortress at the head of the valley on Hardknott Pass to protect the shipments, latterly ore mining kept the port busy into the twentieth century.
From Gosforth our Journey turns east through Nether Wasdale to Wast Water, where the scree slopes from the fell tops fall nearly 2,000 feet into the lake. The road by the lake is a dead end stopping at Wasdale Head, overlooked by Napes Needle on the face of Great Gable popular with rock climbers and Scafell Pike, Britain's highest peak.
Returning to Nether Wasdale we pass Wasdale Hall, taking the road south to Eskdale Green turning up Eskdale to Boot & Dalegarth which is the terminus of the Ravenglass Railway.
Once over Hardknott at Cockley Beck in the plateau before rising over Wrynose Pass we turn south to Birks Bridge and Dunnerdale Forest an ideal location for picnics and walks to view points on Harter Fell and Castle How.
Our journey continues down Dunnerdale through Seathwaite to Ulpha where we turn north over the fells dropping back into Eskdale, before we cross the river to Eskdale Green turn left and follow the river to Muncaster.
The Castle has a few tales to tell, having remained in the Pennington family for over 500 years due to Henry VI. He gave the then Sir John Pennington a glass bowl for aiding him after being defeated at the Battle of Towton in 1461, prophesying good fortune for the family as long as it remained unbroken.
A few miles further completes our journey back on the coast at Ravenglass a visit to Walls Castle and the Roman Bath Houses would end our day peacefully were they still in operation. Alias Glanoventa Fort fort fell into disrepair long before contraband being smuggled in from Ireland via the Isle of Mann became the main trade of the area in the 1,700's
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