Penrith to Keswick Via Converted Rail Track
A Wheelchair Accessible Off-Road Journey
Story & Photos by Syd & June Burns 2003

Syd & June Burns, of Penrith, England,  share the access of a nearby converted rail trail.

Syd & june Burns on the trail.We had a visitor from Tasmania and took the opportunity to walk the wheelchair friendly section of the disused Penrith to Keswick Railway line.
Here is a short report on the pleasure.

June and I had, for a long time wanted to walk the route of the old Penrith to Keswick railway line. A three and a half mile section is open from a Hamlet called Threlkeld into the centre of Keswick (pronounced Kesick). We had not ventured forth before as there were different stories on how wheelchair accessible the route was. The track has been made for walkers wheelchairs and cyclists. 

We were enjoying a visitor from Tasmania so Stu's visit provided the incentive. After parking the car, it was a few yards to gain access to the path. Ooooooops the first bit was a steep decent onto the original rail track. It looked more daunting than it actually was. A few moments and June was coasting along the main path which really was wheelchair friendly. The new hub powered chair Albert is really proving its worth. Slowly we meandered along, crossing bridges that were built in the 1860s. These bridges spanned the River Greta which meanders the length of the path. Stu and I both being engineers were in awe of how the cuttings bridges and tunnels were constructed in such a remote place. Half way along the track I was getting leg pains as we were walking so slowly, thinking that June needed to go gently. We were at cross purposes, June was going slowly because she thought that we needed that speed to see everything. She revved up to a respectable speed enabling us to see everything at a good rate of pace. 

We eventually came to the end at the old Keswick station that has been turned into an hotel. Toilets were in abundance including a disabled which was operated by a Radar key. This is a great idea where a disabled person buys a key and a guide book for 5 and it gives them access to disabled loos throughout the UK. It gives the disabled person unique access with this key. Radar is the umbrella organisation. Onwards into Keswick, a few hundred yards to the centre. 

Keswick is a tourist town with plenty of shops and pubs. We dived into the first pub and were greeted by an Australian girl who immediately started talking home with Stu. That guaranteed quick and good service for a pint and a sandwich. Getting in and out of the pub was a revelation as there were two rather large steps. The number of passers by who milled around to help us in was a delight. I got the chair in by myself easily. It was lovely to feel the concern and care from total strangers. Leaving the pub was a retrack of our steps. The walk back somehow was totally different as we all saw views from a totally different perspective. It was a quicker walk, covering the three and a half miles in just over the hour, which was a good speed from June and her chair. Back at the car, it was just half a mile to Castlerigg Stone Circle

A few pictures of our "Tassie friend with June on the disused rail track".


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