Spring Break

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It’s been a long haul from Christmas this year with Easter being so late – I wish they’d fix the date! So I was glad to be able to take a week off work last week to go away for a few days. We found ourselves a cottage for 4 nights just outside Cartmel at the foot of Hampsfell.

Cartmel is a small, attractive village to the north of the treacherous sands of Morecambe Bay, which is something of a “honeypot” with an old Priory church, old houses and other buildings, a number of touristy shops, a Michelin 2 star restaurant, four pubs and the smallest racecourse in the UK. The village is just to the south of the Lake District National Park, although our cottage, one of a small group of properties, was just inside the National Park boundary. Historically the Cartmel peninsula, together with nearby Furness, the other side of the Leven estuary, were part of Lancashire. Cut off from the rest of the county the area was often known as “Lancashire over the sands”. Following local government reorganisation in 1974 it was absorbed by the newly created county of Cumbria.

This old map shows the pre-1974 county boundaries and includes the area north of Morecambe Bay which is now incorporated into Cumbria.

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Although seemingly cut off from the rest of the county the area was accessed via routes over the sands of Morecambe Bay. The tide recedes from the bay leaving behind a vast area of sand and mudflats criss-crossed by a number of river channels and notorious for it’s quicksands. Until the Furness railway was opened in 1857, crossing the sands was a major route of communication. It was a dangerous crossing, though, and many people were trapped by quicksands and a rapidly rising tide, losing their lives. According to Wikipedia Cartmel apparently means “sandbank by rocky ground“, from the Old Norse kartr (rocky ground) and melr, reflecting it’s location a few miles north of the bay.

We were lucky to have some decent weather – cool, but sunny – so managed to have a good break taking in some walks, a visit to a stately home and even some art! So, lots to write up, but for a starter here’s a few photos we took in and around the village and our cottage.

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12 thoughts on “Spring Break

  1. Lovely pictures, looking forward to more. We had a couple of holidays in Grange-over-Sands when I was a child so I’m slightly familiar with the area. I didn’t know the origin of the “over-sands” designation – it would certainly have still been in Lancashire then. Our car broke down in Cartmel one of the times and had to be towed back! Strangely, the only other time I have visited was with my sister and a friend in our late teens or early 20s. Only the friend could drive and we went in her car – which broke down.

    • Thanks 😀. For many years I’d zoomed past this area on the main road to the south lakes as do many others. So it’s less well known than other parts of the Lake District. But certainly worth a visit.
      (I’m not very far from you, living up the road in Wigan)

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