Today is the 17th of May and heralds the reopening of pubs indoors in (most of) Britain. As Marina Hyde says:
“….one of the most absolutely objectionable parts of “unlocking” is having to look grateful as the prime minister meagrely parcels out what have been standard freedoms since time immemorial, and hands them back to us like they’re some kind of special present entirely in his gift.”
But at least it means there is no longer a need to don knitted underwear and drink rainwater shandies, assuming you can get a seat indoors that is. My last outdoor only visit was not a scheduled one, in Abbeytown. Where is that you cry eagerly?
It’s called Abbeytown because it has er an abbey, a fine one too, founded in 1150 and first restored in 1703. It also has a pub that has cask beer- super cold Wainwright’s -that has never appeared in the Good Beer Guide. The Wheatsheaf was part of the Carlisle State Management Scheme 1916-1973 and is large enough for the whole village (population 819) to socially distance.
4 of the 819 were already there in the huge garden and marquee. They were expecting plenty more as inside tables were lined with trays of shots. “We’re expecting a busy day” said the barman, noticing my glance.
It’s six miles from there to Silloth, a coastal town of nearly 3,000 people that developed with the coming of the railway from Carlisle in 1856. Like many small seaside resorts it’s popularity started to decline a century later. The railway was axed as part of the Beeching cuts in 1964, the course of it still visible in places.
Silloth is a charming, slightly run-down place with a pleasantly ‘cut-off’ feel to it. You certainly won’t go through it by chance. I followed the road through Skinburness, where once a convalescent home and hotel stood (possibly one and the same building), driving along the grand Victorian front.
The statue is called Look at that View. What do you expect – it looks over the Solway to Scotland. Note the insurgent on the bench.
My mission was a Cumberland League match which ended Silloth 2 Pirelli 9. The adjoining rugby club’s ground is named James Brough Park after the most famous Sillothian, a rugby international.
The home club’s badge is great but their nickname (The Seagulls) completely incorrect.
Has Silloth moved with the times? I leave you to judge.