Ravenglass & River Esk - February 2009

If you fall in, my father said, ''the esk, mite, irt.'' I forget whether the obligatory cumbrian ''eh'' followed what was not one of his better quips, but at the impressionable age of 11, the joke stuck.

Tucked away beneath Muncaster fell and hidden by mixed woodland, lies Ravenglass, the meeting point of three rivers; the Esk (once one of the most prolific salmon and sea trout rivers in the country in the days before UDN and acid rain), the Mite and the Irt. Also the site of Glannoventa, a Roman fort and home to Muncaster castle as well as a diverse population of birds, it is one of the more interesting places on the west cumbrian coast, to paddle.

With a raw easterly gusting from the snow clad fells, I attracted a few sideways glances as I suited up on the shingle and mussel beds of the estuary.
A lull in the wind convinced me I wasn't entirely mad, and with no further hesitation, I was whisked past Glannoventa and on towards the railway bridge where the breeze once again picked up; the air temperature a chilly 3 degrees and feeling closer to -3.
Oyster catchers pipped furiously as I passed the dunes, before taking flight, and once under the bridge the tide picked up, pushing me on past Muncaster castle and it's unbelievably expensive entrance fees, towards West Cumbria's answer to Clachan bridge.

Tucking into the reeds and sipping hot tea, a elderly gent waved from the bridge, shook his head and carried on without a word. Just then, four herons flew past, one after the other, broad wings close to the rushes.

With the tide on the turn, I plodded back, the breeze unnoticed, the only sound the whistle of the curlews.


Jim Krawiecki said…
Lovely tale of paddling on a winter's day, and the Ravenglass sunsets never fail to amaze me.