Cumbria Way – Hartlepool to Ulverston (Day 1)

Finally set off this morning to tackle my latest wander – the 74-mile Cumbria Way long distance footpath.

Me and my girlfriend, Ann, are walking the trail together, which begins in the small town of Ulverston on the South Lakes peninsula and passes through the mountainous Lake District National Park, eventually reaching the border town of Carlise.

Technically today was just a travel day, with Ann’s mam and dad kindly offering to drive us to Ulverston. The journey went pretty smoothly, stopping first for lunch at Sedbury lay-by to munch on some really good sandwiches (courtesy of Ann’s mam), then passing over the Pennines and through Shap before stopping again at the Swan Inn at Newby Bridge (once a traditional coaching inn but now a very large, very posh, very popular riverside hotel) where we stayed briefly before continuing on to Ulverston.

Ironically, we organised to stay the night at another Swan Inn, a small pub in the centre of Ulverston courtesy of Ann’s friend Dave James. After leaving our bags in Dave’s flat above the pub, we spent the afternoon in the beer garden sampling some of the fantastic real ales on offer (including Bitter and Twisted, Fruitlu & Staropramen) and watching a live trio called One Hand Clapping.

After the band finished we decided to stretch our legs and walk up the nearby Hoad Hill which had some spectacular views from the top overlooking Morcambe Bay and offered a teasing glimpse of our journey ahead. We spent a while here, laying on the grass and soaking up the atmosphere (me personally trying to overcome the effect of the ale I had drank).

We eventually made our way down, got some supplies at a local Booths and headed back to the Swan Inn for tea. Currently curled up in our sleeping bags on Dave’s living room floor having an early night in preparation for our first days walk tomorrow – a 15 mile walk to Coniston.

It feels so good to be wandering again!

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