Part II of the Great Furness Frolic took me towards Foxfield, via the honeypots (I think that’s the word) of Barrow.

What a wonderful piece of Ordnance Survey.  You forget Morecambe is a short walk away.


But I nearly didn’t leave Ulverston.  At the station, guards were forming a barrier to prevent hundreds (I kid you not) of schoolchildren running on to the platform.  I won’t name it but their school was an anagram of HUVS.

The booking office was closed from both sides. Are these precautions a daily occurrence or just for Christmas ?

Sans ticket (“Ach, they’ll never check“) I squashed on, hoping they’d be getting off somewhere posh like Dalton. No such luck.  The train chugged its way painfully slowly to Roose, punctuated by talk of popping of cherries and other clear indications as to why Barrow is the teenage pregnancy capital of England.

Amazingly, they virtually all jumped off at Roose (is there a pre-emptive tick there or something ?) leaving an elderly gentleman somewhat traumatised.

Still, he had Barrow to look forward to.  A pleasing and polite station, even if I now had to queue behind a dozen teenagers buying tickets from one guard.

It’s a nice station

The drizzle wasn’t helping, but Barrow looked very much the Hartlepool of the West that I remembered from exactly 20 years ago; big civic buildings, crumbling streets.  I’ve seen worse.

And the first new GBG pub, across from the station, is rather upmarket.

The Lancaster touch

I have mixed feelings about their beers, but Lancaster have opened some decent gastropubs in Ulverston, Morecambe and here.

Only thing was, it’s Black Eye Friday and standing room only as the lads from the factories offices don Christmas jumpers and prepare for 12 hours of leering and laughter, most of it 10 miles up the road.


Kaltenberg was selling quicker than Lancaster Red, which is actually very good, rich and creamy (NBSS 3.5).

Better here than at the brewery

But I can’t linger.  I’ve got 45 minutes before the train to Foxfield, enough time for two flat whites in Spoons and a withering but accurate assessment of Barrow for this blog.

Problem is, there’s no chance of getting anywhere near the bar, let alone the coffee machine, in the Furness Railway, looking spectacularly unchanged since 1998.


Now, Barrow ain’t bad. OK, there’s a bit of dereliction;

Future micro
Future Brew Dog

But the civic buildings are indeed impressive, better than St Helens if I’m honest.

Town Hall

And WhatPub suggests there’s more cask about than ever.  But it’s the (Brew) Dog I spy in the (Odd) Frog.  Jackhammer on tap ?  In Barrow ?

Craft has arrived

Well, not quite, but a decent effort. And if the last train back to Ulverston had been five hours later, I might have come back for Elvis Juice and the Black-eyed Magpie.




  1. “What a wonderful piece of Ordnance Survey”

    About the only remark I can make from that is that it must be warm there all the time with all of those furnaces. 🙂

    “Amazingly, they virtually all jumped off at Roose”

    I was going to say that sounds a bit like a nickname for me; but I don’t want to be associated with a bunch of pregnant teens.

    “it’s Black Eye Friday”

    Crikey. I saw Simon mention that but didn’t realise it’s a real thing round the country.

    “Future micro”

    Not while The Erby is right behind it on High Street. 🙂

    “Craft has arrived”

    How big is a UK Schooner glass again?



  2. “Sans ticket” on that line reminds me of many years ago having walked across Morcambe Bay with Cedric Robinson before we filled the train at Kents Bank with no chance of buying a ticket before alighting at Arnside.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. – and I never thought to ask Cedric if he was related to Stockport Family Robinson who took over Hartleys Brewery at about that time.


      1. “Guided” is very much to be advised !
        Cedric certainly knew his way, having done it since 1963, and he is paid a salary £15 a year but also has the use of the 700-year-old Guide’s Cottage at Kents Bank which is owned by the Crown.
        I have great memories of the walk many years later. It was several miles with water up to about knee height.
        Just think how much more of an adventure Martin’s travels would have been before the railway line there was opened in 1857.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, funnily enough as I was typing “a salary £15 a year” and no rent I was thinking that he was way better off than if he had taken on a Punch lease – and it’s proper coastline not like Doom Bar just named after it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I went to Barrow once. Is tumbleweed still being blown down the high street? The town hall is impressive, and just as much inside. Like a grand cathedral to a different, prosperous time. The Hartlepool analogy is good, but at least Barrow still builds ships of a sort.

    Liked by 1 person

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