GREAT FEARKLA, HEYSHAM & MORECAMBE

 


Summary

Date - 18th August 2016 Distance - 10.5 miles
Ascent -
450ft
Map - 296 Start point - Hayfell Ave, Morecambe (SD 4406 6328)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Great Fearkla 56 17 SD 4437 6214

 

Preface

Tetley came in with magazines in paw. "Your Lake District magazine has arrived, Southey."

"Ooh thanks. Can't wait to get to reading it."

"I have Allen's too", he Tetley went on. "Do you know were he is?"

"No pal", said Southey. "I've not seen him for a little while."

It was then that Shaun, Grizzly, & Little Eric arrived with the tea and cakes.

"Just the ticket", said Tetley. Then letting out a laugh he said, "and to use Allen's line, I'm gasping for a cuppa."

He and Southey went off to get the plates and mugs, and then helping Shaun, we all soon had steaming mugs in paw.

"What's the cake today?". asked Southey.

Little Eric replied, "Grizzly has made scones. There are two to choose from. Cherry & ginger or sultana. There is butter and jam too."

"Scrumptious", replied Southey.

"There's more", said Grizzly, "Little Eric has done chocolate caramel shortbread."

"We are well and truly spoilt for choice", cheered Shaun. "I'll have a scone to start. One of the cherry and ginger."

"Caramel shortbread for me", called out Tetley.

"And for me too, to start with", said Southey.

Tetley was just about to take a bite, when he said again, "where is Allen? I have his magazine, and more so it is totally unlike him to miss out on tea."

Shaun replied laughing, "He can smell tea a mile off. He'll be here very soon, I am sure."

How right he was too as just half a minute later he came dashing in. "Ooh tea, great", he called out. Then saying, "thanks", as he accepted the steaming mug and helping himself to a scone. After taking a bite he said, "delicious Grizzly."

"As is the caramel shortbread, Little Eric", went on Southey

"So where have you been?", asked Tetley, handing him magazine."

"Thanks pal. I have been chatting with Dad. This week is going to be busy for him and also he feels that his back in not yet right, so while he is happy to take us walking on Thursday, it will have to be a gentle one and perhaps not too far to go to the start."

"Well then, what we need to do is work out a walk from home", said Shaun. "I don't know how many times when he has driven along Mellishaw Lane, that Dad has commented on the very modest hump called the Great Fearkla and his desire to climb it. So now's the chance."

"Good idea", agreed Grizzly. "I love the name too and have often wondered at its origin."

"It certainly is a name to conjure with", said Little Eric.

Allen meanwhile had got the map. "Here it is. There is a footpath that goes round the bottom, so just a short diversion to the top."

Grizzly went on, "the path will eventually lead us to the houses at Heysham, and we can make our way to the main road, and then down to the shore."

"Fine agreed", Tetley. "Then it will be a lovely stroll along Sandylands Promenade and Morecambe Promenade. We can then either return along the cycle track from Morrisons, or continue via the Broadway and Westgate, depending on how Dad feels."

"Sounds like a good plan", said Southey.

Draining his mug, Allen went off to see what Dad thought. He was soon back. "Dad thinks our idea is great. Finally getting the Great Fearkla done, and he said that it is years and years since he walked along Sandylands Promenade. And, no driving too."

"Yippee", cheered Little Eric, "roll on Thursday."

 

The Walk

It was a nice summer day with quite a lot of sunshine and warm, so Dad was able to walk in shorts and t-shirt. The downside to this however was that the views were rather hazy and we could not see our beloved Lakeland Fells across the bay.

No early start was needed today, and it was about 10:00, when Dad strode up the drive, with us tucked in his rucksack.

No directions were needed from Shaun, as walked to Westgate, crossing to go along Banbury Road and then right on White Lund Road to its junction with Mellishaw Lane. Crossing carefully we then went left.

Pointing Shaun called out, "there's the Great Fearkla." Dad stood by the entrance to White Lund Farm to get the shot.

The road was busy with traffic, so we were thankful that we did not have to walk too far, to the signed footpath on the right.

"Could do with repainting", remarked Southey.

This was wide and grassy, with the Great Fearkla in front. At a point where the track turned right, Grizzly said, "that gate in front is our access to the hill."

Strictly this is not access land and even though only 56ft in height, we felt exposed, but no one challenged us and we were only seen by the cows that were grazing on its slopes.

The top is wide and flat with a pool surrounded by trees.

In this view the far side is where we had made our ascent, and is the highest point. It is unmarked, so we just sat on the grass where we deemed the summit to be for our picture.

Tetley commented, "I looked this up on the Trigpointing website, and acording to Teasel, there is a buried trig point somewhere."

"I guess the fact that it is buried, is why the OS map does not show it", replied Shaun.

Settled again, Dad returned to the gate, and we continued on the wide hedged track via gates, that skirted the Great Fearkla, to a surfaced cross track.

"We go right", said Shaun, "although that really goes without saying."

Through a gate the track led on to where two sets of gates and hurdles had been tied up across by farmer.

"Climbing time", said Dad who was soon past these obstacles.

This then brought us to North Farm, where Allen called out, "look at those young cows."

Shortly we passed this securely padlocked gate. "Definitely not going anywhere near that", said Little Eric. "The aroma is quite enough to put us off anyway."

Our route was through the buildings to the road, here turning right to walk to Downlands Farm.

There it was left then right past the house and trees. "We now go straight ahead across the pasture, by the fence on right, to that waymarked footbridge", instructed Shaun.

The crossing of this was made a bit more complicated for Dad, by the presence of nettles. "The hazards of wearing shorts", remarked Allen.

Once over we crossed the next field slightly left to a concrete bridge and then along the track by the hedge to stile by a gate. Here the track went right and then in yards to a junction.

It's left here", said Shaun.

As we strolled along, Southey said, "what's that on the left.

Looking closely, Tetley replied, "it's a solar farm."

Obviously it was securely fenced off so this was the best shot Dad could get. We researched this when we got home. It generates an annual output of 4,945MW, equivalent to the usage of 1,498 homes.

Soon now the path became narrow between hedges, to reach a stile on the right. Here we met a lady who was blackberrying and Dad chatted with her about this, the lady saying, "some of the juiciest are just out of reach."

"It is always the way" replied Dad.

They then chatted on about walking, before saying our goodbyes.

"We should go right over the stile", said Shaun.

Went straight ahead to skirt right of a slight rise and then bend left to cross the railway line and into a newish housing estate, where after a bit of wandering about we found the road out and to a junction. Crossed the road to take the footpath that led us out to Tarnbrook Road.

"We go left", said Shaun.

This brought us to Sugham Lane, where again Shaun instructed, "it's left again."

This led us to Heysham Road, across from the Strawberry Gardens public house.

Our way was down the side to the pub, along Knowlys Road, and then off to the right, where we could see our route towards Morecambe.

Reaching the coastal path Dad said "I'm going to stop by that seat. This is so that I can put the map away in the rucksack, and also phone Uncle Brian to check he is OK."

Meanwhile we sat facing the sea. To our left the path led to Heysham village, with St Peter's Church nestling amongst the trees.

Dad pointed saying, "see fenced level area on the right. Long ago that was a open air cafe, and I got to know the owners and quite often I went there and Uncle Brian too when he came on holiday. Must be over 25 years ago now."

Ready again, Dad strode off, the path descending at first. "Just look at that horse with its foal. Aww", said Southey.

"It is so many years since I walked along here, and it has changed quite a bit as a result of the flood defence works." said Dad We passed a green area to the right Dad saying, "that was once a pitch and putt course."

Further on the promenade had been built out for the use of fishermen. For children was this mini climbing wall.

For a stretch of about 1500m at intervals information plaques had been set in the tarmac. This one told us when the name Morecambe was first adopted for the town.

Others told us that there are 100 square miles of intertidal zone in Morecambe Bay and that the volume of water in one spring tide would take 10 days to flow over Niagara Falls.

"Wow", said Southey. "It really makes one realise how vast Morecambe Bay is."

Eventually we reached the Battery. Dad said "I'm going to have my lunch at the Beach Cafe."

"OK", said Allen. "We'll go and sit looking out to sea and have our sandwiches, cake and tea."

"OK lads, enjoy."

Dad had a tuna roll with salad, bakewell tart and pot of tea with extra hot water. "Quite nice", was his verdict, when we asked.

On a blackboard was their thought for the day. How appropriate for Dad and us!!

Dad came out and said, "time to get settled again lads."

"OK", replied Little Eric.

"What is that over there?", said Southey. "Let's go and have a look."

"Wow", said Allen, reading the plaque. "What an amazing person."

The promenade stretched away before us, the foreshore being enclosed at the far side by the stone jetty.

The large building at the shore end of the jetty is the iconic art deco Midland Hotel, originally built by the Midland Railway. During the time that Dad has lived here, it closed down and fell in to disrepair, almost become fit only for demolition. However it was saved and restored to its former glory and as we walked by we could see the guests sitting in the conservatory enjoying afternoon tea.

There were plenty of people on the promenade, and also on the beach as the tide was falling. There are two lifeboat stations in Morecambe this one housing the rescue hovercraft and a shop too which we visited.

Perhaps Morecambe's most famous resident was Eric Bartholomew, better known as Eric Morecambe of the famous comedy due Morecambe and Wise. He is commemorated by this wonderful statue.

In a setting surrounded by gardens, below the steps are the names of the many famous celebrities who appeared on their shows, and some of the sayings. Such as 'tell Peter Cushing the cheques in the post'. 'He's the one with the short fat hairy legs', referring to Ernie Wise. There is reference to their Christmas show in 1977, where just over 26 million people tuned in. A testament to their popularity.

A little further we came to the the second lifeboat station for the inshore rescue boat, and shop. This is where Dad used to work on Saturdays, and he popped in to see Jennifer, who runs it, for a chat. She kindly gave Dad the leaflet for Christmas cards, and he bought a credit card wallet for Dale to store his Wensleydale Railway membership cards, as the existing one had broken.

At the end of the next car park stands this seahorse shaped rock. "Please will you take our picture sitting on it", implored Grizzly.

"Of course", Dad replied.

Just a few yards further is this mosaic of Morecambe's town crest. Until recently it had stood outside the Arndale Shopping centre on and angled platform. "A shame they did not do the same when it was moved here", commented Tetley.

The motto is 'Beauty Surrounds Health Abounds'

Now we continued along the promenade as far as Broadway. "What a shame the Broadway Hotel was knocked down", said Dad. "It was always a feature that drew your eyes when approaching from Hest Bank."

"Just an empty eyesore now", went on Shaun.

"Retirement flats were planned to be built, but it all fell through", said Dad.

Broadway is a wide tree-lined boulevard that we followed to the roundabouts, where it was right along Westgate and so home.

"How nice the front garden looks", said Southey. "It is a real credit to you, Dad."

"Thanks for a lovely and interesting walk", said Little Eric. "We have all enjoyed it."

"So have I", replied Dad, "even if the pavements were a bit hard on the feet in the end."

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