Just over 3 years ago, together with my daughter Nicola, I undertook a charity walk across Morecambe Bay. The walk started at Silverdale and went across the bay to Flookburgh. Today I would be closing that gap, but mindful that it was going to be a long day and long distance between Lancaster and Silverdale.
I parked my car close by to Gibraltar Farm, where you can actually buy raw fresh milk out of a machine. The area is not served well by buses, however, there is a train station some 2 miles away. So I had brought my push bike to cycle that distance to the station, lock my bike up and catch the 10:07 train to Lancaster. Being a Sunday this was the earliest train I could get and meant I did not begin walking until 10:30. I followed a footpath from the station down a quiet road towards the main rail bridge that crosses the River Lune. The bridge also carries a footpath which offers a good view back over Lancaster.
I join a cycle way that passes through a sports ground and actually runs alongside a cycle race track. Eventually the cycle way emerges onto a road which runs down to The Golden Ball Pub. The road has obviously been covered by the tide, with debris and silt littering the road. In fact I am spurred on as after Overton, I must cross a marsh via road which is flooded at high tide. I check my watch and get a move on. Via a series of roads I enter the small village of Overton. I did contemplate heading straight for the road across Lades Marsh, but I did not want to miss out on going around Bazil Point. I head towards Ferry Cottage, but am stumped by a close gate with a notice saying ‘No Public Access’. I recheck my map, surely it cannot be wrong? Then I notice a way marker indicating the footpath some 10m away. The path leads me onto the foreshore and I round Bazil Point, noting the good views across the Lune estuary to Glasson Dock. I head back towards Overton along the shore and eventually arrive at the road across the Lades Marsh. I can see that the tide is coming in ……fast. I meet another walker coming the opposite way. we have a brief chat, he advises to get my skates on. I can see the hamlet of Sunderland some 400m away. I make safe ground with literally seconds to spare!! I stop, put my bag down and turn around. The road is virtually covered by water! Absolutely amazing the speed that the tide comes in. I have a quick-lunch break, watching the tide devour the road that I had just walked across.
I set off along a lane walking west to this small peninsular shoreline. I make a short detour to visit Sambo’s grave. This is a grave of a site of a dark-skinned cabin boy or slave, Sambo, who fell ill shortly after arriving at Sunderland. With no further concerns re: the tide I head north, passing Potts Corner, which has a public road coming down to the shore, where a number of cars are parked. I head on past these and straight towards the building that has dominated my views for the last couple of trips – Heysham Nuclear Power Station. I know I cannot walk around the power station so will turn right inland. However, there is a large caravan park in the way. I know there is waste ground sandwiched between the caravan park and the power station, but the high tide has meant I cannot continue along the shore. I enter the caravan park and walk around the periphery until I come to a hole in the fence which takes me down a footpath. I find a hole in the fence that leads across old MOD ground but parallel to the caravan park. However, my progress is brought to a short end when a large and high gate blocks my progress. I am forced further north until I break through some trees onto a golf course. Fortunately the golf course is quite quiet. I cut across the course and through some trees to emerge on the public road that leads towards Heysham. In retrospect I should have stayed in the caravan park and just walked to the exit.
I walk down past the ferry buildings and enclosure, before turning right and following road that takes me alongside Half Moon Bay and becomes a coast path. The path leads up to St Patrick’s Chapel, which is in ruins. The site offers fantastic view right across Morecambe Bay. I walk through a few narrow streets and find a little cabin selling coffee and tea and cake. I buy a mug of coffee and a large slice of carrot cake. After 20 minutes I get on my way. I am on now one large promenade which will carry me along for the next 5 miles.
I enter Morecambe, which is buzzing with many people taking the late summer sunshine. There is a large Vintage Fair going on and I pass many ladies beautifully dressed in period clothing. There is a classic car fair as well as a group performing. I like Morecambe and I draw a comparison with a Blackpool, which is far more tacky, in your face and loud. Morecambe has taken its role as a seaside destination more in keeping traditional values. everybody seems to be having a nice time. I try to get a close-up of the Eric Morecambe statue, but is surrounded by a large group of cyclists who with their bikes are getting their photos taken. I take a photo of the statue surrounded by the cyclists and move on. The crowds thin as I continue north towards Hest Bank where I move onto the shore and also where the main West Coast line comes within a stones throw of the Morecambe Bay.
I am now back on the Lancashire Coastal Path, as I continue along the shoreline towards Bolton Le Sands. I do enter Bolton le Sands or Carnforth but pass to the west and north, where I cross the River Keer by means of a wooden bridge. The afternoon seems to have disappeared as I approach the outskirts of Warton, which the LCP enters briefly before turning up hill towards Warton Crag, part of which is the result of an old quarry. I continue along a quiet B road for a few miles, before crossing under the railway line and some fields. I arrive just east of Jenny Browns Point and follow the road up to Gibraltar Farm. It’s now 7:30 in the evening and it has been a very long day, 27 miles is one of the longest distances I have ever walked in a single outing. My legs are tired but I am happy. I drive the few miles to pick my bicycle up at Silverdale train station. The walk has taken a tough 8.5 hours.
Distance today = 27 miles
Total distance = 2139 miles