Cumbria, Berwick, and the Union Chain Bridge.


This entry is about my most recent trip in my Eriba Triton. The tour took place from the 17th to the 22nd of April 2023 taking my tally for this year to 14 nights living in the van.

I was blessed with mostly fine, dry weather with it turning just a bit dull whilst in Berwick Upon Tweed. It did remain quite cold, and unfortunately fairly breezy meaning I couldn't make use of the drone for aerial shots.

My first stop was one of my favourite sites on the C&MC network, Englethwaite Hall near Armathwaite in the Eden Valley. This valley is south east of Carlisle in Cumbria.

I was on the almost exact pitch I was on the last time I visited, in August last year. This site has no facilities block, so I used the vans washroom, my Kampa Geyser for hot water, and I pitched the toilet tent to use for showers. This setup works a treat when you need to be 'self sufficient'.

This artwork hangs in the van. It is a painting of the van, here in Englethwaite Hall, where I was pitched last year.

The site itself was well occupied, but nice and quiet due to the absence of a Facilities Block.

A gate in the corner of the site leads into High Stand Forest which has some really nice trails.

 And a few small lakes.

As planned, I done a lot of walking. One walk took me a 7ish mile walk from the site, completing a circular along the riverside of the River Eden.

It gave lovely views north across the Eden Valley.

And followed a 'right of way' past 'Froddle Crook'!

And down an embankment to the mighty River Eden.

We followed an excellent waymarked track.

And headed back up to the road for the return walk at Brackenbank.

Needless to say, the dogs were well satisfied!

Another walk, was a nice long circular walk from Armathwaite, and up through Coombes Wood.

The route took us past the lovely hamlet of Longdales. 

And we followed some lovely farm tracks.

All walled in and great for off-lead dog walking.

Along the route, you notice these very well made and maintained stone dykes. The go on for miles around every field in sight.

We finally made our way back to the car at Armathwaite Bridge.

We were blessed with lovely weather, right into the evening.

Another lovely walk was a circular from Kirkoswald along Raven Beck, returning over Viol Moor and Old Parks.

Raven Beck running through Kirkoswald.

Kirkoswald is a picturesque little place with some really nice buildings.

Did spot an Eriba in a driveway!

Raven Beck was a lovely stretch of water to follow.

With some great woodland to wander through.

Our last big walk in this area was a circular from Croglin going out and returning via Newbiggin.

I was intrigued by Croglin after reading about the tale of the Vampire of Croglin. Actually, quite a disturbing tale which pre-dated the Dracula story by Bram Stoker?

Croglin is another lovely, traditional little settlement. 

The old church containing the vault where the 'Vampire' was eventually found....and burnt!

The conditions on the walk were fantastic, with excellent views west to the Lakeland Fells.

Like other walks, we followed walled in tracks with some beautiful stonework.

Looking north, back to the distant hills of Scotland.

This was a great walk, except for one near disaster. Whilst 'grunting' up a hilly Public Bridleway just leaving Newbiggin, my two Cocker Spaniels were away exploring the bordering wood. When one of them, Hamish, came back I noticed his tail was looking strange. From the middle to the tip, it was a graduated brown (his normal coat colour) to red at the end and as he wagged his tail he was spattering blood over his hips, my legs, and all over the place! On closer inspection, he had nipped his tail on something. This can be a serious issue for a Spaniel, but fortunately after using pressure and everything absorbent I had on me, it eventually stopped bleeding about 15 mins later. Thankfully, he's fully recovered but I did learn a lesson...carry a simple first aid kit for dogs when on these long walks. Both my dogs are undocked, and tail injury is definitely a risk with a 'tail wagger' such as a Spaniel!

I had a fantastic time at Englethwaite Hall. My dogs and I walked miles, and miles in some beautiful weather. I can't wait to return to this site later this year.

We then drove more or less along the Scotland/England Border north east to Berwick Upon Tweed.

I had booked in for two nights at the Berwick Seaview C&MC Site which is actually in the settlement of Spittal, adjoining Berwick Upon Tweed. 

Quite a 'gritty' area, with the site being elevated on a hillside between some housing estates and the main East Coast rail line. Berwick Upon Tweed within the old city walls, and of course the bridges of Berwick are a delight, but it is surrounded by housing estates out-with this area. Still, it has a lot to offer.

The estate behind the site, which you can't see from the pitches due to the hillside and the railway wall.

Down from the hill from the site, at Spittal is an old brick chimney. This is almost all of what remains of what was once a dense industrial area. 

The structure at the end of the Pier at Berwick. I'm not sure, but I don't think it's a lighthouse, but obviously some kind of navigation aid.

My main objective, though, was to visit the recently opened Union Chain Bridge, which is a suspension bridge upstream from Berwick crossing between England and Scotland. I am a member of the Friends of the Bridge, which campaigned to have the Bridge refurbished. This has just been completed, and the resulting structure is simply staggering.

The bridge as it crosses the River Tweed.

A refurbished plaque on the English Tower.

Looking across to Scotland.

All the chains and links were either refurbished, or renewed.

Looking across to the Scottish Tower.

From Scotland, looking to England!

The masonry refurbishment on the Towers is absolutely stunning.

The entire deck was removed and renewed, which surprisingly (for a non civil engineer!), is wooden.

This refurbishment is, without doubt,  evidence of the skills which still exist in this country to carry out works of this standard especially on taking into account the complexity of a historic river crossing.

We spent the remaining time walking and exploring around Berwick.

The town is famous for having Lowry (the artist) as a regular visitor, and there is a waymarked Trail and interesting information boards at locations for some of his work.

He captured this one very accurately, but times must have changed. It was deserted!

The beach along the bay at Tweedmouth is a lovely spot to view the town.

The weather was mixed, but still managed to get a nice sunrise around 0600.

And having dogs (!), I was on the beach around 0615 where you could see the weather front approaching.

The Berwick Pier.

The famous bridges progressing through the history of Berwick.

Overall, this was a great trip. The trip down to Cumbria, then to Berwick, then return home broke the travel into three manageable 'legs' making the whole tour very relaxed. 

Overall, this was a great little trip. I've done it many times now, but the walks I done were all new to me. I had a little guidebook to the Eden Valley which really inspired me, and rewarded me with some really rewarding experiences.

I really enjoyed Englethwaite Hall. Berwick Seaview is a real contrast and is very different, I've been to Berwick many times and it does have the advantage of facilities such as shops and pubs etc, as well as a facilities block on site, but the location itself doesn't really fit with my touring objectives. I would imagine it as a great stopover going north or south, but for a holiday? Not sure.



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