PANORAMA

The best panorama from the Common is provided from a natural seat just below the summit of Appleby Hill. It provides a full panorama of the Lakeland Fells, but its commanding position above Morecambe Bay adds an extra dimension that is lacking from the trig point on Birkrigg. Taken all round, there are about 80 hills that can be seen from Appleby Hill, of which some 40 are classed as “Wainwrights” i.e. listed in one of the seven volumes of his “Pictorial Guide to the Lake District”. Between the NNW and E (working clockwise) the main features to be seen on a clear day are:-

The view to the south and south-west from Birkrigg is generally less clear, due to atmospheric conditions - late evening in summer is best when the sun is behind you. Behind Lancaster and Morecambe are the hill Ward’s Stone, the Trough of Bowland and Hawthornthwaite Fell. The Heysham nuclear power station is normally visible if there is no sea mist, and in some lights can even look quite beautiful. Beyond it to the right, Darwen Tower and Winter Hill can be seen if it is clear, but binoculars help.

Blackpool Tower and the Big One are frequently seen to the south, as is the ferry boat to the Isle of Man. On a few exceptional days, once or twice per year perhaps, the Welsh hills can be made out beyond Walney Island. You might expect to be able to see Anglesey off the Welsh coast, but because of the curvature of the earth it falls just below the horizon. Piel Castle and the lifeboat station at Roa Island are man-made structures that can all be picked out in the foreground, with the south end of Walney Island behind:


To the west the Isle of Man is visible on a surprising number of days - it looks like two islands because the valley of the River Dhoo containing the main A1 road between Douglas and Peel is low lying. The highest point is Snaefell. To the north-west is the whale-like monster of Black Combe – often capped by a mist drifting in from the sea. When snow lies, the magnificent cliff of the glacial quarry, from which the hill takes its name, stands out well. Beneath the wind turbines the old mining area of Marton and Lindal nestle below the hill, while in the immediate foreground (behind the gorse bush) is the ancient hill fort of Skelmore Heads (aptly named from the Old Norse for shell).

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