I found out later that you can get to Whitehaven on a Sunday, which is a 10 minute cab ride from the trailhead, and we could have stayed in either Whitehaven or St Bees very easily. You probably already knew this though as EVERYONE KNOWS THIS.
So, in my hasty booking, I figured the only way to get to the St Bees would be to spend Sunday night nearby in Carlisle, and then take the first train to St Bees early Monday morning. I was just thinking on the fly, and really now. Who could fault me for this oversight for throwing together a long, linear walk in high summer in the lake district in just a few hours. I was lucky this was the worst of my errors.
At least we got to see Carlisle?
The train ride was long and delayed at least an hour, but it took us through some very pretty countryside. The most terrible thing happened though: a woman in the seat across from us had clearly fouled her pants, and was standing uncomfortably with a sweater tied around her waist the last 20 minutes of our trip. I decided to take this not as an omen for things to come, and we struggled to comprehend the situation we were in and get the hell off that train. We found ourselves in need of a stretch and more fresh air then the earth had to offer, and set out to explore a bit before the self-imposed early bedtime.
I wanted to stay close to the train station in Carlisle, and the only option ended up being an Ibis- a bland but cheap and reliable chain.
Anyplace you go on a Sunday in most of the UK is really not a good representation of what the town is actually like, as most of the town is shuttered save the pubs. Walking in the downtown historic center pedestrian streets was downright eerie as it was completely deserted. Aside from the glut of deserted and empty building here, there didn't really seem to be much going on at all.
There was a beautiful old church, with ruins around it from when it was a much bigger abbey.
It was closed by the time we meandered up the hill, but Carlisle Castle is right on Hadrian's Wall. Unwittingly, we got to walk a bit more of the Hadrian's Wall trail than I ever thought we would get around to doing.
Carlisle Castle was built in 1122 atop the ruins of a Roman fort, and changed hands a lot between the English and the Scots as this rough little border town was captured and recaptured again and again.
We had a really good curry for dinner, as we were fairly certain that might be the last flavorful thing we would eat in a week. Then back to the Ibis to witness a rather violent fist fight between two football fans, complete with fleet security guards and a woman who took the opportunity to tell the bloke what was really on her mind before the cops showed up and threw him in they paddywagon. Needless to say, I did not feel the need to run out to the nearest pub to see what other fascinating events might happen here on a Sunday night.