South to Stafford

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October 7th 2013
Published: October 14th 2013
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It wasn’t just a great price for our room at the Premier Inn but we also had a most comfortable bed and therefore a great night’s sleep.

Peering out of the curtains towards the coast we could see the rain of yesterday had cleared and although the sky was overcast it looked as though we were in for better day weather wise.

We prepared breakfast and thought we would give the toaster a go as we were able to plug it in close to the window and with the fresh breeze blowing outside there was a good chance any smoke that we might generate would be sucked outside. Not that we planned to overdo the toast again!

However, the Cumbernauld incident continues to haunt us for as the first two slices were popping up we could hear the faint wail of a siren in the distance .Our first thoughts were had we set some inaudible alarm off and we waited in anticipation to see if the siren got any closer. We were almost frozen to the spot and didn’t even butter the toast until the noise of the siren faded into the distance.Whew!

The toast and the rest of breakfast were quickly consumed and the car packed up ready for the journey south to Stafford.

The wind was rather biting coming in off the sea as we made our way downtown to find a park so we could take a walk along the waterfront and get the exercise we really wanted yesterday.

We had noticed in many supermarket car parks that there has been a notice that says you can park there free for up to 2 hours with nothing, in some instances, about having to do shopping with the store as well. And when we saw another car pull in and the two people get out and walk straight down town we thought that we would be OK for an hour or so and we were going to shop in the store too.

Whitehaven was settled by the Irish-Norse Vikings in the 10th century and later grew as the coalfields in the area were developed. Today it is the nearby Sellafield nuclear power complex and associated businesses that support the town with employment etc.

The town has a well protected small harbour with marina and its location on the coast gave rise to an unusual ‘invasion’ in 1778 when John Paul Jones on an American ship during the War of Independence led a raid on the town. The first and only hostile ‘invasion’ by the USA on England.

After a walk along the waterfront where over recent years there had been some redevelopment with 5 or 6 story apartment blocks built for the sea views, we returned to the car via the narrow shopping streets which apart from having all the usual brand shops you find in medium size towns in England, probably hadn’t changed in years. There was still a bingo hall at the far end of the town advertising play days with a 0.50p entry fee on week days and 0.60p on Saturdays!

The A595 south followed the coast although we were always a couple of kilometres back or more from it. The road was elevated for much of the time which meant we had pleasant views that changed several times from farmland to wooded area to the rather ugly industrial site of Sellafield.

After an hour or so of driving south our direction turned easterly as we made for the M6 that would take us the rest of the way to Stafford.

Why are we going to Stafford, you may ask?

Well, we had hardy heard of the town before too but the Premier Inn had another great deal for the night so we took it and it will then not be far to the Cotswolds for our 3 night stay.

We usually avoid highways and especially ones as busy as the M6 which today is busy with lots of trucks. I think we have said it before that in continental Europe the trucks kept to the inside lane and followed in file 95% of the time. Here in the UK where their speed limit is higher than in Europe you find trucks in the middle of the 3 lanes as well which means that you either stay behind them or brave the outside lane to overtake.

We were pleased when the Stafford turn off started to appear on the highway signs and we would get off to a quieter road. As it turned out the hotel was located on the edge of the town and close to the M6 but just not quite far enough away so that you couldn’t hear the continual sound of traffic when you had the window open in the hotel.

Gretchen had picked up a cold a week or so ago and she didn’t feel like a walk and rested up instead while I headed off walking towards the town until I could see it was going to take a lot longer than I thought to get there that I crossed the road and walked back the 2km to the hotel finishing up feeling much more exercised!

With an improved weather forecast we may take a bit of a wander in the countryside for some sightseeing to get to Evesham tomorrow as it is only 70km or so away in a straight run.

Now for another restful night’s sleep on the best hotel mattress we have had.


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