Sunday, 2 December 2012

Cockermouth

Having learnt our lesson to take in more towns on our journey, we made a detour on the way to Keswick from Whitehaven and ended up in in the delightful Cockermouth. 

Parking in Cockermouth is a bit of a pain.  Although cars can park on the main street, you need a special residents pass to park.  So we ended up having to park in a nearby pay-and-display car park on the edge of the town.
Cockermouth is absolutely lovely and was a genuine surprise after Whitehaven.  It’s a well-to-do place with lots of nice independent shops and restaurants.  It looks as if there has been some regeneration work in the town with new pavements and street furniture.  This care and attention to the town really makes a difference and as a result gives the town an air of calmness which is soothing.  I have a real problem with visual clutter in towns, by which I mean where signs, street furniture and bollards are placed haphazardly in a town without thought to the visual aesthetic of the place.  Looking back at my pictures from Cockermouth I realise why I found this place soothing – it’s really well tended.  The street furniture is consistent, neat and well designed; the signs and bollards match; the streets are tree lined and looked after; there are hanging baskets and floral displays; and the buildings are neat and painted in heritage colours.  It’s clear the locals take great care and attention in this place and Cockermouth shines for this fact.
The thing I loved about Cockermouth was the antique shops.  There were several and I really enjoyed having a good old browse.  Neil found one shop with lots of heavy metal records, but we really need access to a computer to check whether or not they were collectables.  Unfortunately the signal for our smartphones was pants and it was nigh on impossible to check.  So we sadly had to leave them there for another collector to find.  They probably weren’t worth anything though.
There were quite a few charity shops too.  The stuff they stocked was okay and Neil found an album in Oxfam at a reasonable place and the shop assistant was quite keen to talk to him.  Neil eventually managed to tear himself away. 
Although the one thing that caught my eye which didn’t look particularly good was the poster for the appallingly titled ‘Cock Rock ’.  I have to say the line-up was really random and certainly didn’t meet the standard of a rock festival – Tinchy Stryder, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Goldie Lookin’ Chain.  The closest band to the definition of rock was the Buzzcocks and they were originally a punk band.   Although it was only £60 for camping tickets and it did have a reggae tent and healing area.  I guess this was a very low rent version of Glastonbury for Cumbria.
Whilst we didn’t get much chance to explore the town as we were restricted with the parking, I’d love to come back here.  Cockermouth itself is technically not in the Lake District and it’s not the easiest place to get to as it’s miles away from the M6, however this place has a great vibe.  So to make the journey worthwhile I’d definitely want to spend a weekend at a local B&B or even rent a cottage for a week as it seems such a chilled and nice place to visit.