Whitehaven was once the third largest trading port in the UK, exporting coal worldwide. The impressive scale and handsome engineering of the harbour only accentuate the melancholy feeling now its whole purpose is redundant.
A local at Harrington tells me the dragons teeth I’m photographing are made from iron ore slag from WW2. “You retired then?” he asks when I tell him what I’m doing. For every person that says the 30km I’ve just walked that day in a storm is ‘not too bad,’ I meet one who exclaims in disbelief that ‘you’ve walked all that way!’ when I’ve barely walk 1km from one side of a village to the other.
Spend the night camped in the earthworks of Milefortet 21, part of the Roman frontier defences that connected with Hadrian’s Wall. I put the tent up in the dark kneeling amongst hundreds of writhing slugs feasting on the wet freshly cut grass their skins glistening in the torchlight.