Having lived nearly all my life in Cumbria I've spent most my time in the little towns that no ones ever heard of, places like Kirkby-In-Furness, Greenroad, Thwaites, Haverigg, Silecroft and Millom.
Whilst really young, I used to pretty much live with my grandparents, and as Millom was the "local" town I'd often be taken there for the shopping with my grandma. Living in the sticks we had sheep...or ...grass so Millom which was about 5 minutes down the road was a whole new world, with shops, people and cars.
So what is Millom?
Millom is a town in Cumbria, contained in the Copeland borough and on the edge of the Duddon Estuary. The town has a population of around 10,000 mainly of a working class background, and neighbours the smaller villages of, Thwaites, Greenroad, Haverigg, Kirksanton, Silecroft and Bootle, being almost like a hub for many of those settlements and the people from them.
The town features the biggest station between Sellafield and Barrow-in-Furness, which leads to most of the population working at either the nuclear power plant in Sellafield (formerly Windscale) or at the BAE facility in Barrow-in-Furness. The line is supported by the Cumbrian Coast Line rail route and is overseen by Northern Rail, sadly however the link is relatively poor as it operates relatively little numbers of trains. In fact to go north the customer needs to get a train before 18:00, southbound is hardly better. Worst yet there is no service at all on a Sunday. Most of the service that is provided at peak rate is covered by a single carriage between Lancaster and Carlisle, a problem Northern Rail should swiftly try to remedy.
As well as the station the town provides much of the local education through a number of schools ranging from the nursery to the secondary school. Having not been to the nursery or any of the primary schools I can't comment on any of them though many of the students do continue to go to the secondary school which also runs as the Sixth Form college.
Having gone there I can say it's a pretty averagely run school, that for many years failed to provide to the needs of it's students, regularly the teaching standard was poor, and seemed to be done by those who couldn't be bothered. Without naming names, I'd say the business studies teacher I had for much of the time I was there was as reliable as an old SAAB; the head of IT for much the time I was their had a Napoleon complex and no sense of common decency, no manners and was regularly a thorn in the side of the students education; The English department often seemed aimless with the teaching aims changed completely from class to class, regularly concerning watching videos instead of anything else; The art department was regularly a joke with the technology one close behind, the teachers turning a blind eye to people chasing each other around with scissors.
Despite this the Maths, Science, History, Geography and RE we're surprisingly well run with heads of the departments that knew what they were doing. Often these were the more old skool (excuse the pun) of teachers who ran the departments and had been grounded in proper teaching methods, that didn't include "Not turning up for lessons" (a trick usually done by students I know).
As you can tell I didn't really enjoy my time there, often feeling ignored by the teaching staff and bullied throughout much of my time there.
Though since leaving a lot of redevelopment has been put into the school creating an all surface football pitch and a network centre for the town's population. Sadly the teaching standard doesn't seem to have improved, with a rather enlarged feeling of "If your face doesn't fit" coming into the schooling environment.
Much of the industry originally formed around the iron works in the town, though this is long gone, with the remnants of the slag banks still in the town. The town has moved on into what could well be called an auxiliary town providing workers for the aforementioned BAE systems and Sellafield, though for internal jobs the positions are limited. The major local employer is the prison based in Haverigg, which is a C-class men's prison dealing mainly with the prisoners on the way back to society. With a handful of locally run shops such as Tommy Tools (a tool shop) alongside the more mainstream of national stores like Co-op and Somerfield (previously the store was a Safeways then temporarily a Morrison's). The basis for the commercial area is pretty much based around 2 streets after that the residential area makes up the mass of the town. The industrial area is on the far side of the town and is mainly based around the CGP book company providing nationally used texts books for schools.
In recent years the town has seen a downscaling of government funding, most notably in the closing of the local job centre. This has resulted in those requiring to go, to travel the 30 or so miles to Barrow-in-Furness a rather excessive measure in the current economic climate where the job centre should be on the local peoples doorstep. Though opposite the former job centre is the local palladium, which having not been in I can't make much of a comment on though it regularly hosts plays by local cast members. Near that is the first of the sporting venues, the cricket ground which host Millom CC home games who play in the première division of the North Lancs and Cumbria cricket league.
The town also host's a Rugby League team (with a Rugby Union team under the Millom name who play in Haverigg). Millom RLFC is one of the oldest amateur rugby teams in the world having be founded in the 1870's. The current team plays in theNational Conference League Division 1 and has seen over 50 former players playing at national level.
The Rugby Union team play in the more local Cumbrian league.
As well as the Millom Cricket club, local rivals Haverigg are based just a 5 minute walk from the Millom CC ground leading to regular local derby's often played in high spirits and often rather tense games.
Although the town has produced few people of note, Jimmy Settle (former England football player) was born there, as was Normal Nicholson, who had the schools library named after him when it opened (much after his death). The upcoming writer Scott Graveson was also educated there (oh come on I can publicise myself right?)
In the foreseeable future it is unlikely the town will change dramatically, though the rumour of a Nuclear power plant being built in Kirksanton that could well see the town again grow (though it is more likely that the surrounding area will grow and Millom could well become the outskirts of a bigger settlement). If this goes through then hopefully the entire area will grow and links to the rest of the country will be established, with the effective need for transport. Sadly the town currently has no links to the wider world and with no internal growth the town seems to be going nowhere.
Overall the town is an ageing and shrinking town that seems to be going nowhere quickly and sadly with the better teachers leaving due to age what was the good part of the education system seems to be leaving. The towns lack of new blood will swiftly be a problem as will the high level of unemployment. Hopefully a change in the town will be forth coming, because if it's not it really could be "a place of despair".
This year for the school field trip we went to Malham which is in the Yorkshire Dales, the purpose for this trip was to study the different types of landforms there, the different types of rock, how Malham has attracted tourists and has become one of the most spectacular places with some of the most amazing sights in all of England. Malham holds some of the greatest landmarks from which people all over the world come from, some of these sights are; Malham Cove, Goredale Scar, Malham Tarn, Janet's Foss. All these places we visited in the two days that we was there and I will look into them places a little later in the review. Here are some of the places that we visited during our trip;
Malham Tarn is a lake formed just after the ice age the glaciers retreated and melted and so some of the water is glacial melt water. Around the Tarn there is a rock called shale rock which is a different type of rock to limestone. As we sat next to the lake we saw a lot of trees, the lake, a field study center and also a shore so when it rains heavily the lake would rise to the level where we was sitting and a sandy - gritty stuff was deposited. Also there is a side stream where water disappears, why does it do this? Because the water seeps underground. This is quite a good spot to stop for a picnic or a good resting place for a rest but I wouldn't spend all day here
Watlowes Dry Valley
About a 3/4 mile trek we came to Watlowes Dry Valley, the valley is quite steep with a lot of rocks and trees. How this is formed is also due to the ice age the underneath froze and allowed water to flow along the surface. In this area pastoral farming is practiced because it's too hilly to grow crops, not hot enough. But sheep and cattle can graze on the hills, its not to hot for them they have plenty of grass and some water and so these are perfect conditions. Also this is a nice place for a rest but I wasn't particularly fond of it.
The next day on the trip we went on quite a long walk stopping at some very special sites on the way including Janet's Foss. This is a small waterfall hidden in a lot of trees it is maintained by the national trust (which is an organization that helps spectacular sites more suitable for everyone to enjoy.) The name 'foss' is Scandinavian for waterfall or force. The legend about the foss is that Janet who is the queen of the fairies lives in the cave behind the fall. This cave was formed because of the limestone being dissolved and eroded because of the water. This limestone was then redeposited at the mosses by the lip of the fall. The fall was also actually used as a sheep-wash for some time. This is a spot where you could spend a while because it's a beautiful spot and also if you have kids maybe you can allow them to go and explore the caves, they have a dead end so they cant get lost and it is perfectly safe for them.
This was probably one of my favourite parts of the walk because some of the views I saw were phenomenal! Goredale Scar is a big area that was a cave but because of water seeping in and cracking the rocks then the roof fell in! It's an amazing site without the roof on but with it on I cannot even begin to imagine. But that is how the cave was formed. At the bottom of Goredale there is a little stream this is called a misfit stream and it's called this because it doesn't fit the valley. At the bottom there are 2 different types of rock they are 1) Limestone Rock 2) Shale Rock. Nothing has ever been proven that there was a cave but it's a very probable because of the freeze thaw weathering the water had got into the top of the cavern it had frozen and expanded causing the roof to come in, that must have been one thundering crash! This is one spectacular site and if you go there REMEMBER TO TAKE A CAMERA!
This is the one that we had all been waiting to visit, the highlight of the trip and what makes Malham so famous its cove, home to some of the fastest falcons in the world which can travel 340mph! 425 steps to the top of the cove! Its definitely one of the sites to see. In the summer the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) are therewith telescopes and you can have a look.
The cove is made of Limestone and it's a permeable rock this means that water can seep through it because water always goes to its lowest point and that's where the people who pothole go underground to see the water. This also leaves a stream at the foot of the cove this is a resurgent stream.
Although the cove is made of limestone its shale rock at the bottom. Years ago the cove was a waterfall! Melt water from the tarn and it fell down the middle, eroding the middle more hence the curved shape. The variation of the dark black colours on it is because the different hardness of the limestone. Or Charles Kingsley had another theory for this' It could have been a chimney sweep falling off the edge.'
take a look around the village, we did and the first impressions that I got was that it was a very nice village, just enough shops for tourists not to many. But I can also see it as an area that can be destroyed easily by too many tourists. It's very quiet that can all change, if you get too many cars there then it can pollute the village. Malham village is called a honey pot this means that it attracts tourists, I have mentioned a few problems that tourists can cause but there are others for example the risk of overcrowding. We counted some of the shops that are in Malham in about 20 minutes we saw 4 eating places, 5 shops catering for tourists, 3 public houses, 3 campsites and 4 bed and breakfasts. But there is a tourist information center which you can turn to if you wanted to find any information about Malham.
If you want to go a bit further away from Malham there are two really good places that I would recommend and I have been to they are;
Skipton Castle - This castle is over 900 years old owned by the Clifford family it has some fascinating sights and also a lot of history stacked behind it including Mason symbolism. There are guides if you go in a party or very descriptive plaques.
White Scar Caves - White Scar is about 40 minutes drive from Malham but it is well worth it, the caves can be quite chilly underneath, you will be able to see how they chipped away at the caves. The way they used to heave the load up and down the caves. Some of the rocks inside of the cave have a frightening reality to some people or things. For example there is a rock that looks like a witch and a skull. If you go in a party then you will be able to have guided tours.
(I might do separate reviews about them)
Before, I knew that we were going to Malham I had never heard of it, and now that I have been I can't believe that I have never heard of it before. With the magnificent sites and views that it has to offer I would definitely recommend this to anyone that is thinking of going. Its typical English very quiet a lot of stuff to do and the best part is it's not that expensive! If you do decide to go then I hope you have had a good time, and I hope this has been a help to you, I really enjoyed going and writing this and I look forward to going back. Also while we was there the weather was very nice because it was the start of summer but im sure it doesn't stay like that all year round.
I hope this review has been a help,
Thanks for reading!