Outlaw King Solway Secrets

Heritage sites around the Solway coast have significant links to Robert the Bruce and Edward I.  Clues to this history are still to be seen in the Cumbrian Solway landscape and buildings.  For example, one  historic site is the abbey below where the father of Robert the Bruce,  the Earl of Carrick, was buried and which in later years was also raided by  his son ‘The Bruce’.

The abbey where the father of Robert the Bruce is buried

Edward I was not buried at the site of his death as shown in the new Netflix film Outlaw King. His body was taken to the nearest church and there lay in state until the arrival of his son Edward II, who then took the remains of his father to Westminster for a royal funeral.

You can experience these places and learn more about their connections with Robert the Bruce and Edward I by booking a Secret Solway guided tour.  To find out more about Secret Solway tours email  info@solwayconnections.co.uk or phone (+44)07494489901.  www.solwayconnections.co.uk

 

Frosty Solway mornings

If you are wearing lots of warm clothes, the cold, clear, frosty mornings of winter have been great for walking on the Solway salt marshes and along forgotten drovers lanes.  A combination of the early morning light, frost and chance encounters with local inhabitants makes for magical moments.

Secret Solway Tours

A good winter on the Solway for seeing Barnacle geese

 

This year has been particularly good for seeing Barnacle geese on the Solway.

The numbers on the Solway have risen to over 43,000, which is excellent news given how threatened this population of geese was some 30 or so years ago.

This year the geese seem to have been very amenable for folks who want to take photographs.  Their use of spaces close to the road and  near to  concealed footpaths has been most helpful.

In a couple of months time the Barnacle geese will start to disappear from the Solway coastline as they once again make their long flight to Svalbard in the Arctic for the breeding season.  This is a marker of seasonal change on the Solway, indicating a move out of winter and the arrival spring.

Secret Solway Tours

Hidden stories on the Solway wetlands

On first encounter this photograph of a rough grassy area with a big round shed situated behind it may not seem so interesting.  When however, you find out that the rough grassy area in the photo is where generations of Solway families went to dig peat for use as fuel for heating their homes and for cooking their meals – and that the big round shed behind the rough grassland is a world war 2 aeroplane hanger and that planes stored in it were built in America for the British war effort, suddenly the picture starts to raise lots of questions. Which families went to this site to dig their peat? What tools did they use? How did they transport the peat to their homes? What else was peat used for? …. Or – why was this air hanger built in such a remote area of northern England? Who delivered the planes from the USA? Where did the pilots and maintenance crews live and where did they come from? The Solway area has many unexpected secrets and stories to share.  http://solwayconnections.co.uk/secret-solway/

Secret Solway Starlings

Secret Solway Starlings

 

Solway Starlings beginning to flock as night time arrives.

Just before 4.00pm on a cold, clear winter evening we arrived at the Easton junction on Burgh marsh near the  Solway estuary in Cumbria, UK. Having been told that as night arrived starlings were beginning to gather here in large numbers in the trees and on the telegraph wires, we wanted to try and photograph a starling murmuration with a sunset backdrop. Yes the birds were there, not as many as last year at  the nearby Watchtree Nature Reserve when it was thought that over fifty thousand birds were roosting and not as many as the hundreds of thousands seen in previous years at Gretna Green, but there was the beginning of a Starling murmuration. The birds took to flight as the light began changing. We snapped a photo of them beginning to flock together with a backdrop of Criffel mountain in Scotland and then they headed south east only occasionally looping back round towards us, but not so that we could get another photograph. They stayed low in the sky, and did not bunch up tightly nor form shifting shapes in the sky as we have seen in previous years. Without warning the birds suddenly dropped down into fir trees. Perhaps it was just too cold for flying around.   The number of Starlings might increase over the winter months - there may still be the chance later in the season to get that photograph.

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