Cumbrian Coast
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Last modified: March 02, 2004

Western Cumbria & Coastline

The Cumbrian coast is over ninety miles long most of which has magnificent views of the Scottish coast and the Isle of Mann. Inland between Ravenglass and Cockermouth the green pasture of Eskdale, Ennerdale and the Vale of Lorton which encompass Loweswater, Crummock Water, Wastwater and Buttermere rise to the rear of some of the highest fells of The Lake District.

Whitehaven is now the main port, but in the past 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.

Ravenglass is the coastal terminus of a narrow gauge Steam Railway  which follows the river Esk up the valley to Boot. The seven mile track was originally opened in 1875 to carry ore to the coast and now brings tourists to view the watermill at Boot and a short walk to Dalegarth falls.

The Eskdale Mill at Boot is one of the oldest in Britain, the wheels are driven by the Beck which started its journey only a short distance away on the side of Scafell the highest point in Britain. The original machinery is still in operation grinding Oatmeal daily and open for visitors in the summer months.


A local Jester, a Tom Skelton who often wore a frock would sit under a tree by the river Esk, guiding the less generous traveller to their death crossing the estuary. He later made a pack with his master to kill any suitor of his daughter, he cut off a locals head to prove compliance. His evil antics gained him a reputation as Tom the Fool, hence tomfoolery entered the dictionary and the English Language.


Click on Image to info on Sellafield Visitors Centre


Attacked by the USA

On April 22 1778 a former inhabitant of the town a John Paul Jones who had emigrated and became a  Captain in the American Navy, lead a night raid on the port with the intention of burning as many ships as possible. He later returned to his ship frustrated at having found his men in a dockside tavern.



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