Vivienne Dockerty

Author of Historical Fiction

The Western Lakes: A Journey Of Discovery

Delving into the past of my husband's family ...


As it was my birthday, my husband and I decided to have a P.W.A, which is short for 'a pleasant weekend away'. Because I had never been to the Western Lakes in Cumbria, we decided to visit the place where my husband's grandma was born ...

The Old Ratty Railway in the Western Lakes is certainly a great tourist attraction!

The Old Ratty Railway in the Western Lakes is certainly a great tourist attraction!

copyright: trickydicky2010 / 123rf stock photo (licensee)

I love delving into history and seeing where she was born and brought up was really fascinating to me. What a lucky lady she was to have spent her childhood in such surrounding beauty!

"Our first stop was at the railway station at Drigg!"

This is where Granny's father was a signalman in the late 1890's. Drigg is an old country village on the Barrow to Carlisle railway line and has an beautiful old church called St.Peter's.

We spent time chatting to the lady who runs the Spindle Crafts and coffee shop, which is within the building that was once the lamp room and passed a pleasant time learning about the area in bye gone times.

Beyond the station is a narrow road that leads to Drigg Beach, an expanse of unspoilt natural beauty and a site of Special Scientific Interest, where Natterjack toads and Adders inhabit the area, along with many species of rare wildflowers.

"Here many a sailing ship has met their doom on the craggy rocks and ancient forests which can be seen at low tide!

Travelling inland, we passed the Victorian semi where Granny used to live and stands on the corner next to what was the village bakery, which sadly is no longer there. Then onto the church where Granny and her family are buried and where the old schoolhouse used to be.

I could just imagine the village children playing in the yard. The girls wore all-encompassing white pinafores over their calf length dresses and the boys wore short pants, long socks, a long sleeved shirt and a jacket with a cap.

This was a trip of nostalgia for my husband, who remembers his grandma talking about the Old Ratty Railway, which we visited later at Ravenglass. The single track, laid in 1875, was used for transporting iron and copper ore from the Nab Gill Mines.

When passing a place called Holmrook, he remembered her tale of her wading in the River Irt, looking for pearls in the mussels there.

A hard life for some maybe, as temperatures plummet in the winter months, with heavy rain and lots of ice and snow, but in this beautiful part of the world, hidden between the Irish Sea and the Lakeland Fells, I felt a sense of real community here.

"Any of the villagers on their uppers would get immediate help!"

They still have a Harvest celebrations, a Scarecrow Festival, Gala Day in the summer and a Bonfire Night display, so there's plenty to see and do if you visit the Western Lakes area yourself. I'd highly recommend it!

Until next time ...


More about Vivienne Dockerty ...

Since arriving back in the U.K I have enjoyed meeting lots of people at the Author Talks and book signing events that I have been invited to. It has been great connecting with my roots again and listening to other people's stories whilst I have been doing research for my next book.

A big thank you to all the readers who have posted Amazon reviews after they have finished one of my books.


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