Gorse in full bright-yellow bloom is always an uplifting sight. It grows in abundance on the sandy soils around Barrow and especially on Walney, and makes a splendid habitat for some of the more colourful songbirds, like the goldfinches that gather in abundance here on the Furness Golf Course alongside Sandy Gap Lane.
An easily overlooked kind of place; sometimes it seems surprising that it stays open in this age of mass pub closures. But it does make a fairly pleasant retreat after a long walk on the beach.
The fine weather has returned at last; the sun has been shining and the chilly wind has dropped, and it’s time to head for the beach at Biggar Bank for the first time this year. Not that I’m averse to the beach in winter but that first kiss of spring sunshine makes it a very special place indeed.
Not that I’m the only one with the same idea. But when the tide is out there’s plenty of room for everybody and it never gets crowded.
The old Co-op in Abbey Road was once the throbbing social hub of Barrow (for certain values of ‘throbbing’). My Nanna took tea and cakes there and, when she died in 1972, we saw her off there with ham.
Now the Co-op building is little more than a shell, with the ground floor taken up by Barrow’s sole example of that soulless institution of latter years, the Wetherspoons ‘pub’. Named after Jimmy Ramsden’s Furness Railway that was Barrow’s raison d’être. Nothing more to say about it, really.
Barrow is not a terribly good place to find proper beer, as I’ve mentioned before, but the Cross Keys is a welcome oasis hidden away in the heart of the town centre. Isolated now in William Street, cut off by Debenhams department store, and an unusual and welcoming old-fashioned boozer with a wide variety of beers many from local independent breweries.