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