Sunday, 30 April 2017

8 Perfect Election Escapes in Cumbria

This blog is a politics free zone and, luckily, so are big chunks of Cumbria.  You may still pass the obligatory roadside signs en route but, once you're there, these places offer a blissful escape from the barrage of interviews, accusations and fake political smiles plastered across our TV screens and mobile news feeds.  I've also tried to pick places that fewer people visit so you won't have to overhear someone else's political views while you try to enjoy the scenery.

1.  Ennerdale and Pillar

Phone Signal: *         Other People: **   

One of the most spectacular and untouched valleys in Cumbria the route up Ennerdale via Pillar is blissfully quiet and benefits from a distinct lack of phone signal - although on the top of Pillar your phone may try to connect you to the Isle of Man or even Irish networks so the best advice is to leave it switched off.

2.  The other Borrowdale

Phone Signal: *         Other People: *    

I've been banging on about this other Borrowdale for years and even Wainwright described it as being one of his favourite valleys, yet it still remains a quiet, unspoiled, get-away-from-it-all valley.  There's not a lot in the way of phone signal along the valley floor and, even on a sunny bank holiday, I can pretty much guarantee you'll find a parking spot in the layby on the A6.  It's just a few miles north of Kendal and for a really interesting walk follow Breasthigh Road over to the deserted village of Bretherdale Head - glorious!

3.  Cathedral Cave

Phone Signal:           Other People: **** 

This election has had many of us wishing we could jut crawl into a cave and emerge once it's all over - well now you can.  Cathedral Cave is tucked away in Little Langdale and is a man made relic of the quarrying industry which once dominated the area.  Although the thick rock walls will block pretty much all phone signals, it is a more popular spot so you may have to share your hideaway - let's just hope everyone else is there for the same reasons you are and politics remains off the agenda.

4. La'al Ratty

Phone Signal: **        Other People: *****

Although chocablock with other people this really isn't an "I'm on the train" kind of a train ride.  Winding up from Ravenglass along the breathtaking Eskdale Valley the signal is so patchy that there's no chance of refreshing your newsfeed - plus the scenery is utterly stunning and most people tend to chat about that.  Apart from a suspicious number of men who prefer to talk about steam pressures, regulators and piston strokes...

5. The middle of Morecambe Bay

Phone Signal: *         Other People: **** 

PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS ALONE - yes, the middle of Morecambe Bay is the perfect place to escape mobile phone signals and politics, but you should only ever go there on a Cross Bay Walk.  (Sorry about the photo but the day we did it the weather was grim!)  Standing in the middle of the bay, over a mile from "land" in every direction, the sense of isolation and desire to stay there may be overwhelming.  There will, of course, be other folks on the guided walk with you, but the bay is HUGE so you can keep your distance from anyone who's annoying you.

6. Foxfield Bank

Phone Signal: *         Other People: *    

We found this beauty a few weeks ago when we decided to ditch the car and take the train around the coast.  Hop off at Foxfield and follow one of the many paths winding through the valleys around Broughton - it's part of the Cumbria Coastal Way so you may bump into the odd long distance hiker but your much more likely to bump into a Herdy.  If you don't fancy a challenging hike then there's a lovely disused railway route you can amble along instead.

7. River Glenderamackin

Phone Signal: *         Other People: **   

While there may be hoards of people tearing up and down Blencathra there aren't many who follow the route along the Glenderamackin (on the side that doesn't lead to Scales Tarn).  It's not the easiest valley to access but it's definitely worth the effort - the views back to Blencathra and Sharp Edge are utterly stunning.

8.  Cartmel

Phone Signal: *         Other People: **** 

An odd choice I know, but hear me out.  First up it's a beautiful village and, although there may be quite a lot of other people there, it has all of this going for it: very poor mobile signal, Unsworth's Yard where you can buy bread, cheese and freshly brewed beer to enjoy on the courtyard, very pretty river walks and a number of pubs where, if someone decides to start spouting about the election, you can order another round of drinks to numb the pain...

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