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Bowness-on-Solway, Rogersceugh, Anthorn, Mary's Tower, Solway Coast, Cumbria.
[20.8 km]  Wed 18 Jan 2017

OS Grid ref: NY 21954 62643
Lat/Long: 54.952300,-03.220149

My journey north on the M6 was very busy with traffic. The vehicles on passing Tebay were almost as busy as driving south past Warrington. I left the M6 north of Carlisle exit number 44 then drove to Bowness-on-Solway. Set off from Bowness-on-Solway at 08:46 and quite busy here with two school buses and a few people around walking. The tide is heading out and I have a clear view across the Solway to Scotland.

St Michael's Church
I headed east along the road through the village and turned right at the Kings Arms to head south. With St. Michael's church on my left I looked in the field to the right which is the site of the last Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall and this is the western end of the wall. I could see some humps but no information boards saying what they are. The only evidence of Hadrian's Wall is by the Old Rectory where there is a sign saying ‘Wallsend Guest House Tea Room campsite’. About a mile south I turn right at a sign on the left a decent to a gate and pedestrian access it said welcome to Glasson Moss I. I reached a footpath sign where my way was right, off the road.

Picnic table at the ready
It isn't shown on the Ordnance Survey map which I think quite odd because the path is very substantial and opposite the point where I left the road there were some picnic benches and a table and another information sign which reads welcome to Glasson Moss national nature reserve.
I wonder what 'W' means
Of the three peat bogs that form the South Solway mosses national nature reserve, Glasson is one of the best lowland moss areas remaining in the UK. However, like most bugs, it has been damaged by peat cutting. The road through the gate and along the very wet and muddy route the track continued in a straight line to a point shown on the map as Rogersceugh Crossing. This is the point where the track crosses the dismantled railway which runs north south and crossed the Solway into Scotland.
Track to Rogersceugh Crossing
By the gate was a ruin only up to a level of about half a metre and clearly show the outline of a building. Over the railway route I continued along the grass track which was now much better and considerably drier than before. It's ran between hedges and up ahead I could see a red sandstone structure which looked out of place. When I reached it it turned out to be a circular sandstone wall enclosure which is has been built as a hide so that people can sit here on a wooden bench or stand by the wall and observe the wildlife in the wet Moss ahead.
House remains by the old railway
Also in view was the incredible transmitter mast array where 13 masts can be seen. This is a very low frequency transmitter which is the source of the time signal, and also a communication point for submarines as the low level frequency can reach below water level. I continued heading up to the top of a hill which is the highest point for miles.
Open Hide
On the hill is Rodgersceugh Farm which at a distance looks occupied as the roof is intact, but as I got closer I noticed the windows were broken and it was becoming derelict. Many of the outbuildings had started to collapse.
Time signal masts
An old barn has been converted and the roof improved to be an information area all about the wildlife.
Rogersceugh Farm
There is also a bench table and very colourful information boards showing wildlife. The original doors to the barn have been removed and left it open this means that there is a wonderful view across the Solway Firth and over to the mountains of Scotland.
A picture in the nature barn,
sadly not one of mine

Black Darter picture in the nature barn

Sundew picture in the nature barn
I continued to the road and then turn right and headed west on my left was Longcroft Farm which although all the roof was on no windows broken it looked unoccupied. I stood at the farm entrance and a long procession of about 20 vehicles passed along the lane. Some were four wheel drive, and several had aerials. I continued walking along the lane and came too many of the vehicles parked up. I saw some men walking along the road and stopped to chat to two of them. They said they were here to observe the hounds but I couldn't see any sign of them. We spoke about the aerial masts that we could see ahead and one of the men said he worked on them when they were being built. He said his name was Vincent Gilroy and he also worked on the building of Winter Hill mast near Horwich in 1964.
Following the road into Althorn I found a low bridge parapet to sit down and eat my sandwiches. I continued along the road and asked one of the locals out walking about Mary's Tower which is shown on my map. She said it was a visible from the road but was on private land.
Converted church in Althorn
As I approach the area I followed a muddy track up off the road and continued to the end where there was a gate leading into a field. I was expecting an ancient structure but on the hill I could see a two storey brick building with a chimney. I went through the gate, which was unlocked, and walked up to the structure. It was more like a small barn with a single room above with stone steps leading up to it. I didn't try to go inside but stepped over an adjacent fence and descended into an area where the stay wires were for the radio masts.
Mary's Tower Althorn
I followed one of the access tracks back to the road where I continued to walk along the coast. My next objective was an ancient cross which is marked on the map. I have read it was covered in the gorse bushes. I reached the area where it is supposed to be and saw two locals out for a walk. I ask them about the cross and they said they knew of it but not exactly where it was.
Cross behind the gorse
I continued my search and in desperation climbed over the barbed wire fence and into the field behind the bushes. It was there that I found the very low and extremely eroded cross. It was hidden in the bushes but on the seaward side and cannot be seen from the road. I'm glad I put the effort in to find it as it is obviously unknown to the locals. The road continues along the coast and skirts to the left of the array of 13 masts.
Building possibly from the old airfield

Across the Solway to Scotland

Remnants of the old Railway Viaduct
There was a sign for as cycle route 72. Earlier in the day I'd seen a set of red sand stone gate posts with the letter ‘W’ carved on the front. Later I saw another pair of similar posts with a ‘W’ on near the village, and as I walked along to the west I saw yet another pair. The coastal road around to the right with the interesting views across the Solway into Scotland. However when I left the estuary area I was walking along the Solway Coast on very long stretches of road generally one or more kilometers long each being very straight and boring.
 Pottery Cottage
I saw a campsite sign for Solway Wetlands Centre and a footpath marker pointing to Anthorn so presumably this crosses the area that I have just walked round. Walking the coastal road I could see the start of the Solway viaduct which used to carry the railway up ahead, and looking across the Solway I could see the points on the other side in Scotland where it joins the mainland. The Solway viaduct closed 1921 after parts of it were swept away.
Behind that point I could see four large structures each one has two tall protruding chimneys either end, very strange as I've not seen anything like it before (later I found out it is the a de-commissioned nuclear power plant). During my walk along the coastal road I passed several memorial benches and seats with named people on them. The oldest I saw was in memory of Nicholas Paul, Penzance August 28th 1920. The final approach to Bowness-on-Solway passed Pottery Cottage which had an interesting selection of the beach combings at the front of the house. Got back to the car at 14:25.