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Jul 2018

Cumbria Coat of Arms

Two return tickets to 'Sed-Borough' please...
Erm, 'Sed-Berg?'...
It's all right,
I've got this... 'Sed-Bruff?'

Well, that's saved you a few bob because the driver's just kicked you off his bus. Three strikes and you're out in this part of South East Cumbria. It's pronounced more 'Sed-Ber' as in 'What you just said bears no resemblance to received pronunciation in the UK.'

Still, that's the Vikings for you and while others may have came, saw and conquered before, they were too busy with a  wall to really call this place home.

Nowadays, it's not so much about the Vikings, more about the hiking with a recent effort to promote this part of Cumbria as an alternative destination to the Lake District.

It's handy for the Howgill Fells, you see, and while the hills aren't quite so high this side of the M6,  Alfred Wainwright, no less, liked to big them up big time.

It's slightly confusing to find yourselves in the  Yorkshire Dales National Park and not because of the recent  boundary extension, neither. When the pen pushers at City Hall invented Cumbria in  1974, Sedbergh switched sides of the new county line but the park wasn't going anywhere after 20 years.

The Yorkshire connection is strengthened by it all looking a little like Holmfirth, probably, although that's only from catching the last five minutes of Last of the Summer Wine, honestly.

It doesn't feel right to be driving along Main Street, which is barely wide enough for a car, never mind the coaches they claim to accommodate. It has, however, been calculated to allow for two tin baths should they ever decide to bring it back.

  Al Forno Italian Kitchen (Main Street)

It's already known that Sedbergh looks good but it also smells good. and that's partly down to this place although it's a little early for an arrabiata. It's so new, Google™ Maps doesn't even know where it is, yet, which happens to be downstairs from Aamilahs if it isn't too soon for a samosa.

As a member of the International Organisation of  Book Towns since 2003, fans of the second-hand and antiquarian bookshop are catered for and the Sleepy Elephant is one of around eight depending on who you ask or Google™.

While Sedbergh may be no  Hay-on-Wye,  Westwood Books is by far the largest operation and occupies the old cinema when they decided to relocate all the way from Hay, no less.

This is all just a passing pit-stop with a different kind of catering required. It's a fairly sleepy, late Sunday morning but with the Three Hares  Café strangely closed and the, now closed, Mad Hatters Tea Room inexplicably overlooked, they're queuing out the door at Smatt's Duo  Café and Bistro for a bit of breakfast.

  Sleepy Elephant (Main Street)

They're not just about the books, they also do boots and some of their books will require boots, walking-wise. Their name is from a comment made by Wainwright when describing the Howgills and is apt enough since they won't open for another hour.

A frothy coffee will have to be settled for somewhere a bit farther afield or rather that should be  Farfield Mill, that is. The clue's in the café's name, Weavers, and they churned out the chinos here until 1992 so it's just the heritage left looming these days.

The café's free but there's a small fee for three other floors of what just about qualifies as a museum and exhibitions of local artists' work.

The resident artists are largely of the crafty-come-textile variety and this is all happening just over a mile east of Sedbergh at a really rather marvellous riverside setting. There's uproar in the café however...

Can I have a slice of Battenber cake, please? That one there. The criss-crossy thing. Looks like a tiny chessboard.
You mean Batten-
Berg?

Oh! Come on Sedbergh! You can't have it both ways.