Book Review by Steve Matthews of Bookends
Exploring the Bowness on Solway Peninsular on the 93 Bus Service by Geoffrey H. Lindop. Mercianotes. £11.50.
In the morning the buses go clockwise. In the afternoon, for no apparent reason, they go anti-clockwise. If you live in Beaumont you can catch the bus at 8.00 am and be in West Tower Street within thirteen minutes. If you live a few miles to the south in Moorhouse, you will have to board the same bus seventy minutes earlier in order to arrive in West Tower Street at the same time as your near neighbour.
If you don't return on the bus at 9.10, but stay in Carlisle for the morning and catch the 93 bus at 12.50 you might be gazing out of the window as you pass through Beaumont after 21 minutes, then make your way through Burgh by Sands and along the marsh through Drumburgh, Glasson, Port Carlisle and arrive in the narrow streets of Bowness at 13.37. It will take a further half hour to ride around the isolated Cardurnock Peninsula through Anthorn and on to Kirkbride. Eventually, after enjoying the landscape as you pass through Kirkbampton and Thurstonfield you will arrive back home in Moorhouse at 2.21.
The villager from Moorhouse will have been on the bus for a full two hours and twenty minutes more than his neighbour in Beaumont.
However, he will have enjoyed a journey through some of the most attractive and dramatic scenery in the country. It is a journey which Geoffrey Lindop loves and relishes.
He enjoys the idiosyncrasies. Burgh, he tells us, is pronounced 'bruff'. “In Roman times it was known as Aballava, so they had no problems with the pronunciation!” He recalls the Latin inscription on Edward I's monument which refers to him as “The Greatest English King” and notes that he “initiated the Hundred Years War with France and three hundred years of fighting with Scotland.”
When you rumble across the cattle grid at Dykesfield you enter Burgh Marsh. Geoff warns the unwary to “Beware the Tides of March” - since even the most athletic can not out run a rising tide.
Further along the route at Drumburgh, ( meaning “the ridge near the fort at Burgh ) is the old railway station where the Carlisle line split in two. One branch carried holiday-makers to Silloth and the other led to Port Carlisle.
Geoff knows the hostelries on the route and the places that provide welcoming accommodation. The landlord in The Highland Laddie in Glasson is “an experienced Haaf-Net fisherman and uses the fresh fish he catches in the Solway in his restaurant.”
Cardurnock means “The fort near the pebbly place”. Geoff used to live in the house opposite the bus stop, which was once The Horse and Jockey. He tells us: “On one occasion a reveller rode his horse through the front door, down the passageway and out the back, much to the amusement of the drinkers.”
On the small hill behind the radio station at Anthorn is Mary's Tower. It was built in the 1850s for the accomplished artist Mary Backhouse to use as a studio. The tallest mast at Anthorn is 900 feet high. The maintenance men used to ride a lift to the top, but, when they descended, they had to jump out without touching the mast to avoid getting an electric shock from the build-up of static.
Geoff's book is a delightful repository of the useful, the factual and the curious. The route of the 93 and the 93a bus runs through beautiful country and this book, with its bus-route and walks, will encourage people to explore the area's hidden delights.
Residents of Moorhouse will find this book invaluable. Those who live in Beaumont will probably find it less useful.