At the southern tip of the Furness peninsula land mass is the village of Rampside which may be seen in the distance behind the old ship, together with, on the right, it's old lighthouse known locally as The Needle.  Now redundant, the 20 metre tall lighthouse, made distinctive in design by the geometric use of both red and cream bricks, dates from around 1875 and once served as a navigation beacon for ships approaching Roa Island and the Walney Channel passage to Barrow in Furness.  Off this southern tip of the peninsula are five islands:  Walney Island is the largest and most westerly; Sheep Island in the Walney Channel; Piel Island with its ancient castle; behind the camera, Roa Island, which is joined to the peninsula by a causeway on the edge of which the ship is beached; and, the nature reserve of Foulney Island located at the end of the causeway seen in the photograph going off to the right behind the abandoned vessel.  Further west up the Walney Channel is an additional island, Barrow Island, the encircling northern channel of which was converted to a dock system to be used, amongst other things in modern times, as part of the ship and submarine construction industry which is currently operated by BAE Systems Ltd.  The original tiny hamlet of Barrow was located at the end of the peninsula on the edge of this latter and former channel which separates Barrow Island from the mainland, and at that time was very much a rural entity at the tip of a rural peninsula.  The world scale mining of haematite ore on the Furness peninsula changed all of that and in the nineteenth century this tiny hamlet expanded at a phenominal rate to become the industrial town that it remains today.  The extinction of rurality at the tip of the peninsula has continued to progress northwards ever since.  A further consequence of the discovery of haematite ore deposits was the development of a gradually expanding rail network in the area which included a line that ran along the foreground causeway in the above photograph terminating at Piel peer on Roa Island.  It is understood that that line and station closed in 1936.  A road now runs along the causeway.

Back to top