A circular walk around Maryport harbour, taking in a busy harbour that once had huge strategic importance, this is a walk by the sea with a difference which will appeal to all ages.

Colourful boats, harbours, an historic lighthouse and a magnificent stretch of the Solway and estuary provide interest at every twist and turn of this stroll around Maryport.

There is a recently established and very busy marina, usually full with modern pleasure craft.

Look out, too, for the Golden Lion Hotel which was where George Stephenson lived during his construction of the railways in 1835.

There are also literary connections because Charles Dickens, who worked as a journalist, and Wilkie Collins both stayed at the Golden Lion.

The latter based a novel called The Woman in White at Ewanrigg Hall on the outskirts of Maryport.

This belonged to a family called Christian, whose mose infamous relative was Fletcher Christian, who led the Mutiny on the Bounty.

Other famous family connections at Maryport include Lord Lister who lived at Withens Yard and who became the first surgeon to use anaesthetics.

Thomas Ismay was born at Maryport and went on to make his fortune by establishing the White Star Shipping Line, which included the Titanic among its fleet of liners.

Close to the town hall lived Robert Adair, who published the early works of William Wordsworth and more recently LS Lowry.

As one would expect in a small port, there are good fish and chip shops and the cafe at the Marine Aquarium is far better than many similar establishments.

It is possible to enjoy the gift shop and the cafe without entering the aquarium but it would be a real shame to miss this fascinating place which suggests areas where rock pools can be safely visited on the seaward side of the harbour.

The Walk From the aquarium bear left along the harbour road and pass the adventure playground called Shivver me Timbers on the left. Youngsters may want to climb aboard pirate ships and in and out of the rigging before continuing. Pass some flats on the left.

Turn right across a footbridge over Elizabeth Dock. Look for the small stone buildings on each side of the bridge. In the days when the harbour was busy these buildings controlled the sluice gates which allowed vessels in and out of the harbour. After the bridge turn sharp right and follow the harbour road with buildings and a wall on the left.

On the left is a fresh fish shop called Catch, from which excellent fish, crabs and shrimps can be purchased along with kippers, cockles and prawns, the latter which can be eaten on the spot.

This is run by Maryport and Solway Fishing Co-operative so the mariners are therefore their own bosses. You can be sure that the fish on sale is fresh. Skirt around the Catch and sweep left and past the fish dock and processing area often chock full of ice.

Pass the Inshore Rescue building to the left and a memorial to a tame dolphin called Marra which remained around the harbour for several years. Marra is a local dialect word meaning friend.

Cross over a footbridge over the splendid Maryport marina and watch the boats before bearing right and crossing the road and continue to the lighthouse.

This was built in 1846 and is one of the oldest of its type to be found in Britain.

Climb a set of stone steps (these can be negotiated by pushchairs) and turn left along the sea wall. Here are the remains of the old harbour office, Customs House and a Second World War watch house. Continue along the sea wall.

Turn left down a set of stone steps and look out for the remains of the old railway line which once served the docks until around 1920.

Enjoy the stroll through an area of rich vegetation and pass Elizabeth Dock on the left.

At the dockway road turn left and return to the starting point.