When you approach Ulverston, the first thing you see is the Hoad Monument, a monument that looks like a lighthouse but isn’t a lighthouse. It’s a monument to Sir John Barrow, explorer extraordinaire so it seemed fitting to make it our first adventure in Cumbria.
That, and I have wanted to walk up to it since I first saw it.
Tomorrow Bob starts his new job so we took advantage of the lovely weathe rand headed to Ford Park where a path for the hill starts.
Ford Park is lovely. I believe it has undergone something of a renovation in recent years and I’m glad. What they have done is create a wonderful place for everyone. There is a community kitchen garden which not only provides lovely food for the cafe, but is also available to buy from the garden itself and for a low price too! There is a playground for the kids and a great big field used to host events, but also great for a kickabout. There is free parking inside the park adding a yummy cherry to what is already a very tasty cake.
The path starts at the other side of the park. You are already fairly high up at this point and the hill itself is pretty steep. We had no idea how long it was going to take so we had some drinks and snacks at the ready. The views from up here are magnificent and certainly kept the kids entertained. There are plenty of benches along the path (and we used a fair few of them) and they all look out towards Morecambe Bay. There were some blokes who ran passed us down the hill and back passed us again on their way back up. Feeling more determined we headed on further up the hil, the hill which I have seen people pushing prams on, but stopped for another little rest (for the kids, honestly!) where we watched the train go across the bay, something the kids loved. Charlotte started getting fed up but the last leg of the walk was made easier for her with the promise of a jaffa cake at the top.
The path came to an abrupt end and we finished the walk to the monument across the grass. Tom took the opportunity to practise his climbing on the rocks dotted about. At the top, I was overwhelmed! The view was incredible. A handy sign pointed out which mountains in the lake district we could make out and on the other side, the view across Ulverston helped me to get my bearings. Tom and Charlotte spent plenty of time running around the monument, waving to the runners on their way back down as they did it.
The walk down was easier I’m not going to lie although it really feels a lot steeper. The kids took the opportunity to have some fun on the rocks before we met the path and we headed down. No rests were needed, only to give a chance to admire the view again. We had lunch in the cafe before heading back home and the food was delicious.
Fun had (according to the kids): 12/10
Tantrum level: A tantrum was averted with the magic of jafa cakes… highly recommended, especially on long walks.
Worth it: It made for a perfectly pleasant morning, roughly an hour and a half from starting to walk up and finishing, with a lot of playing at the top thrown in.
Worth knowing: If the flag is flying at the top of the hill, the monument is open to visitors. It’s run by volunteers and houses information about Sir John Barrow and offers the opportunity to climb to the top of the monument for even better views. This is also free but donations are welcome. There is a height restriction for children due to safety on the stairs that lead to the top.
50 things achievements: 28. Climb a huge hill.
Cost: This is a completley free trip. The only cost was the food in the cafe which came to about £22 for 2 adult meals, 2 childrens meals and drinks. The food was amazing (I recommend the courgette, halloumi and pesto sandwich) so I would recommend it as an indulgence if a picnic isn’t what you fancy.