Times have Changed…….


The Port of Ravenglass, Eskdale, Cumbria

On the coast of Cumbria in the shadows of the Lake District, at the mouth of  Eskdale can be found the Port of Ravenglass.    It is on the River Esk where it merges with the two smaller rivers of the Mite and Irt, where they all flow into the Irish Sea at the northern extremities of Morecambe Bay.

Today it doesn’t look much like a Port but it was once a very busy location for shipping.  That was of course in the days when boats were driven at high tide onto the flat beach.  Then at low tide cargo would be unloaded and loaded from carts drawn alongside each vessel.

The list of commodities that passed through Ravenglass was broad, mineral, agriculture and livestock….. but the main cargo was Slate from those Lakeland Fells.  Slate was much in demand and Lakeland Slate was high quality and much sought after, so business was big and profitable.  As time went by, the demand for Slate was such,  that a narrow gauge steam railway was built to bring the Slate from the hills down to Ravenglass.

A rusty anchor, the odd chain and a few wooden posts are the only clue to this former existence…..that is apart from the Steam Railway.

It is affectionately known as ” The Ratty “….  The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway.  It runs a daily service along the length of Eskdale,with various stations on route, between  Dalegarth at the head of Eskdale down to here to the village of Ravenglass.

Ravenglass is a little village where time appears to have stood still…well worth a visit and maybe a trip on the Ratty!

Please Remember…

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

13th April

(C) David Oakes 2020


4 thoughts on “Times have Changed…….

  1. Although I realize that there may well be no direct connection, there is a sizeable patch of undeveloped forest within walking distance for us, the Eskdale Bush. It is one of our very favorite local escapes for an afternoon stroll, though we are currently not allowed to wander that far from our immediate neighborhood. Incidentally, when we made a road trip from Nebraska to California, we passed a sign to a town named Eskdale as we drove through Nevada. I suppose there’s a fair chance that they may all be connected after all. No rusty anchors, however, in the two in my experience.


    1. Small world. It wouldn’t surprise me if here wasn’t some connection. After all there are many names that have travelled over the Atlantic with settlers. Small ports along our west coast did have transatlantic sailings, mainly tacking folk to the ‘New World’ . As for Eskdale itself, it is a fantastic valley, woodland river and small tarns. The Romans also had one of their Forts here and Ravenglass they had a Villa and Roman Bath House. Indeed the Port was used by the Romans way back then.. We haven’t done it for a while, but it is a great walk the length of the valley (either direction) then catch the ‘Ratty’ back.


Comments are closed.