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Posts Tagged ‘BAE systems


 

It is probably just as well that Walney begins with a, ‘W’, because it lends itself to the alliterated nickname, ‘Windy Walney’.  Anyone who has visited this beautiful, gritty island  will remember the wind racing round their heads.  Walney has some of the best beaches in the Furness Peninsula and generations of children have consumed sand in their picnics while trying to build the biggest sandcastles ever.  I remember taking crabs home with the intention of keeping them as my pets but accidentally killed them when putting then in tap water or releasing them on the lawn.  We didn’t notice the wind on Walney during the late 70’s and early 80’s but it was probably still there.

Walney Air Field

To be perfectly truthful I know very little about Walney Air Field and don’t think I have ever been on it.  If you click on the source link on the photo you will access a detailed chronological list of its history dating back from 1928 to the present day.  Imagine if Barrow had continued to boom, the airport could have been extended to be an international airport.  However this has not happened and the runway was maintained by BAE Systems and the Lakes Gliding Club resides there.

Wind Farm

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Source: Chris Cross

Although the view has become a little bit distorted by this army of wind turbines it shows that the famous Walney Wind is capable of producing energy.  Wind turbines use both variable speed drives and programmable logic controllers to ensure that the blades are not damaged by the force of the wind.  Natalie Bennet, leader of the Green Party, has suggested that we scrap Trident and make wind turbines instead.  Apparently there is good business in selling wind turbines around the world.  The wid turbines almost fence Walney in and it looks as if there is a great obstacle before you can sale on the ajitated Irish Sea.

Biggar Bank

Biggar Bank is one of the wonderful beaches on Walney, children can play on miles of golden sand while being over looked by Coniston Old Man.  I remember one summer playing with other children on the beach when a little girl drank my orange juice, I was just about to protest when her elder brother warned me that if I tried to stop her I would be, ‘sorry’.  Needless to say I didn’t try to find out why I would be sorry but have carried the injustice with me ever since.  My son loves going to the beach and playing with other children too – there hasn’t been an orange juice incident yet.

 

Jubilee Bridge

Walney is an island, or more accurately a spit (we loved to offend friends from Walney by telling them they lived on a spit) in the Irish Sea.  Walney is connected to Barrow – in – Furness by a Bascule bridge that rises so that boats can pass through.  Both adults and children find the concept of the road turning into a vertical wall exciting.  However if you were in a rush and the bridge went up I doubt you would be in awe of the technology.  A Bascule bridge uses counter balance to lift each of the sides.  It truly is magnificent watching large boats passing through the gap.

BAE Systems

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Jubilee Bridge between Barrow and Walney. Source: NWEMAIL

You only really understand the significance of the area’s maritime heritage as you leave Walney Island.  The horizon is filled with huge magnolia boat sheds that eclipse the houses around them.  BAE Systems design and build the controversial Trident Submarines and people in the area are really dependent on the contracts in order to work.  Barrow boomed in the 18th century with the steel industry, the railway and the explosion in boat production.  The local industries provided job security for locals and people were able to maintain their close knit communities.

Boom And Bust

The steel industry expired in 1984, which was probably devastating but the area still had the ship yard – or so we thought.  When I was in school the year above us was the last to taken on by Vicker’s Shipbuilding as apprentices  and many workers were laid off.  Teenagers now had to reconsider their future because an apprenticeship was no longer going to provide a life long career.  Experienced workers had to leave the area and unemployment rose.  The knock on effect on local business was devastating and Barrow became a ghost of its former its former self. If you want to find more about the area’s maritime history the Dock Museum is a wonderful place to go.

Again there are so many things to say about this area of Cumbria that you have to stick to the main facts. I haven’t mentioned the caravan parks, playgrounds, the seals and the hidden jewels of Walney Island.  If you are ever up this way – maybe you could find them for yourself.