Well, it started off in the same vein as yesterday. We were up late and it was raining. Anyway we drove back into Ulverston in search of LPG. To those not in the know, we have a refillable gas tank but most forecourt LPG pumps don't seem to fill it and it you ask for assistance you are sternly told that they are not allowed to fill refillable cylinders. Except there are certain garages that do so willingly and some have a slightly different style of pump which makes the job a little easier. So we drove onto a pot-holed industrial estate only to be told they didn't do LPG refills. Fortunately the friendly man (this was not Kendal, remember) suggested it was our error and that were simply at the wrong garage, the one we wanted being the big Texaco one we'd passed 1/4 mile back. Here we go again, I thought. But, no, the Texaco garage was indeed LPG cylinder friendly and after a couple of failed attempts I managed to fill the cylinder (reading the instructions was the key to success). £1.47 for 2.75 litres. We have a tiny 2.7Kg cylinder which cuts off at 80% so I think that means it holds about 4.2l, maybe a little more. So it wasn't quite as close to empty as I thought. Still a 3.9Kg normal Propane cylinder costs about £15, by my reckoning it holds about 6.6 l so would hold about £3.50's worth of gas at this morning's forecourt price - so out little cylinder should effect quite a saving over time, well worth the effort of having to find places to fill.
Next to the filing station was a large Booth's supermarket. Booth's is a small chain based out of Preston with upmarket supermarkets rivaling Waitrose; indeed their bags for life bear the legend "Preston not Heston" which directly alludes to their competitor. And what a great supermarket it is too. My yardstick is always the beer and in particular the local beer. Suffice to say this supermarket had the largest beer collection I've ever seen in any supermarket (and, believe me, I've inspected many). Indeed, many specialised beer stores would struggle to compete. Not just beer, there own roast coffee varieties and blends, tea choices we've not seen before, a great range of bread and fresh cakes. We were impressed and our trolley chinked in appreciation.
It gets better! Across from the supermarket was a Mountain Warehouse. Now we've been looking for some very large dry-sacks to protect our bedding from condensation but worried about even the largest ones being big enough. Mountain Warehouse had their 80l ones half price, making them by far the cheapest we've seen and we were able to buy one, walk across to the van, try it, confirm it worked before going back to get a 2nd (we needed 2). All this with 10% Girlguiding discount of course.
On then to Barrow in Furness. The once proud dockyards now seemingly replaced with endless new shiny retail parks. Still Tesco had clean toilets and free Wi-Fi, what more do you need! The big purchase of the afternoon was a pair of thermal socks each to try and avoid the near frost bite van foot syndrome - and I can attest they work wonderfully.
The drive up the coast from Barrow to Workington has to be one of the great English drives. Hilly and twisty it's a challenge to keep up a good pace and all around superb scenery unfolds, stunning coastal bays, rugged Lake District peaks and crags, the Isle Of Man, the Solway Firth. A great drive which we ended at Maryport.
Maryport was founded by Humphrey Senhouse and named after his wife Mary, although there was Roman occupation here well before that. The Senhouses built the magnificent Netherhall estate and a sumptuous mansion. Sadly in the mid 20th century the dynasty ended and the estate left to fall into ruin. Little of the house stands today, just the original peel tower and a stables block. The Caravan Club have a small private site in the grounds. It is weird to wander amongst the mossy grass and find bits of the beautiful mosaic floor of the old mansion showing through. All this for £5 a night*. A fellow camper who pretty much lives in her caravan stays here for weeks at a time and popped over with as booklet showing photographic history of the estate in its heyday. How sad to see it go to ruin, especially since it was such an integral part of the town.
- this cheap because it has NO facilities, no toilet, no fresh water we could see, no grey water disposal. Apparently there is a place to dump chemical waste (I.e. empty the portaloo) but that is hidden round the back somewhere. Still another night of roughing it tomorrow and then on to Berwick, to a big site with loos, showers, all the luxuries!