The final day. Caldbeck to Carlisle

David Beeby – 19th September 2019

As we set off on our journey, the first person we met was the local post lady. Talking to her reminded me of the important social role they can play in the community. She clearly adds important on the ground intelligence to the work of the local agents of the Northern Fells Group.

Walking alongside the rivers Caldbeck and Caldew, it is clear that we have moved in to the most fertile area we have seen on the whole walk. Good quality grass fields and even a field of corn.

What is also clear from the rivers is the affect of the floods – rebuilt bridges, eroded river banks, residual debris and numerous changes of course in the river Caldew. The power of flood water is really quite scary.

As we walked across the fields we passed Rose Castle. The home of bishops since 1230. This was sold and is now the home of the Rose Castle Foundation, which has just started the multi million pound refurbishment. In 2014, the Rose Castle Foundation received £7,500 to employ a Project Manager to help raise the profile of the Foundation, increase understanding in the local and wider communities of its work and increase public access to the castle. In today’s world of conflict and distrust, the Rose Castle Foundation leads peace and reconciliation residential courses to bring strangers and enemies together. I wish them every success under the leadership of the amazing Sarah Snyder.

We joined the tarmac cycleway and walked on into Carlisle alongside the river. A very different approach to the City with again the reminder of the flood risk with some very substantial flood barriers between the river and the many houses.

We finished in the market place with mixed emotions. The legs were looking forward to a rest but also some sadness that the journey was all over.

Fellow trustee Jim Johnson generously met us at the market place cross, the official finish, and we were treated to dinner and a glass of fizz by Jim and his wife Eve at their lovely home.

AND FINALLY. It has been a wonderful experience. Sharing a journey on foot with loved ones and great friends is a particular joy. Having been persuaded by the Community Foundation to do the blog, I have found that it forced me to see so much more than just the beauty of our county.

The journey has also been very much enhanced by meeting some wonderful charities and people along the way.

The walk has brought to life some of the issues highlighted in our Cumbria Revealed report – a County of Contrasts.

William Gilpin wrote in 1776 that in Rosthwaite ‘the sons and daughters of simplicity enjoy health, peace and contentment’. A classic example of seeing what you want to see. I am sure that life was very tough in a valley where people were working in lead mines, slate quarries and farms.

It is much the same today. The many visitors who holiday here enjoy the magnificence of the scenery and Cumbrian hospitality largely unaware of the many problems caused by rural social isolation, the lack of connectivity and public transport links, the difficulty of keeping warm in the picture postcard houses and cottages.

That is why it is so important that we continue to ‘connect people who care with causes that matter.’

A huge thank you to all those who supported us on the journey and who generously made a donation in support of our work.

David and Soo

You can sponsor David and the team here.