June 19 – Yesterday, we walked to the train station to purchase our tickets for the two hour ride to St. Bees, where our next hike will begin. We’ve been hearing about the transportation issues here, and now we are going to experience them firsthand. The railroad workers are on strike. No trains today.
The ticket seller asked if we were aware that there would be no trains on Tuesday. We said we were, and we understood that there would be buses provided instead. Trying to dissuade us, he said it would take four changes of bus and four hours to get us to St. Bees. I asked if he had any other suggestions. “I suggest you don’t go,” was his reply. But he sold us the tickets. Here’s some wall art at the station.
When we got to the station this morning to catch our first bus, we were told by a passenger that there was a train running for the first leg of our journey, so we hopped on for a 30 minute ride.
Ditto the second leg, which took us to Carlisle up north near the Scottish border.
Here’s Carlisle Castle:
The third leg was a two hour bus ride back south to Whitehaven, and the fourth was supposed to be a twenty minute bus ride to our final destination.
But… yes, you guessed it: 22 people got off the Whitehaven bus, and only 14 could be accommodated on the local bus. Aaarrrgghhh! The ticket lady at the station separated us by destination, and said she would call taxis for the eight of us going to St. Bees. What she didn’t tell us was that the railroad would not be paying for these taxis.
Well, now we are at St. Bees, named for Saint Bega, a probably mythical Irish princess who washed up here in a little boat rather than marry the Viking her dad picked out for her.
Here is a statue of her seeing the Virgin.
St. Bees Priory housed monks for many years, and is still an active parish. I liked that some of the stained glass windows portrayed Old Testament scenes. Here is Abraham and Isaac:
Joseph and his brothers:
The church also contains a portrait of Alfred Wainwright, who first documented the Coast to Coast Walk from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. His book from 1973 is still the guide to use.
We are staying in a really posh B&B suite that used to be a milking barn. Here is the picture of the barn hanging in our room:
I really like how old buildings are upgraded and repurposed here, rather than being torn down the way they would be in the US.
Tomorrow we start the Coast to Coast Walk!