HEATON with OXCLIFFE

 


Summary

Date - 5th January 2017 Distance - 9 miles
Ascent -
190ft
Map - 296 Start point - Hayfell Ave, Morecambe (SD 4406 6328)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

The tea and cakes had arrived.

"Ooh great", cheered Southey, who with Allen went and got the mugs and plates.

"What are the cakes?", asked Tetley.

"Fruit scones with butter and jam from me", replied Grizzly.

"And I have done peach and apricot slice", went on Little Eric.

"I love that", said Allen. "It is a little while since we had it."

Southey gave Shaun a paw to pour the tea and pass the mugs round. "Thanks pal", said Shaun.

Meanwhile Allen had taken a bite of the peach slice. "It's deeelicious, pal"

"Glad you like it", responded Little Eric.

"Love these scones too", said Shaun. "Scrumptious."

Our thoughts now turned to walks, and getting our 2017 campaign under way.

The mood now was a little sombre, Shaun voicing our thoughts. "Dad has not been too well lately, having a bout of the anxiety and stress that seems to afflict him during the winter times. I am sure Dad would agree that getting out for a walk will help him, but it is a case of where to suggest?"

Being practical Grizzly said, "not having to drive too far would be a good idea."

"Not having to drive at all would be even better", went on Allen. "So, how about we redo the walk that starts from home over the Heaton with Oxcliffe area."

"I think that's a good idea", agreed Tetley. "It was 2010 when we last did it, and despite us having covered some of the walk when we climbed the Great Fearkla, last year, most of it will be different."

"New for me", said Southey, "as that was before I was adopted."

Tetley then gave Shaun a hand getting the walks binder down, while Allen booted the laptop. He then opened the walks spreadsheet and scanning down, said, "the reference number is 55."

Allen then drained his mug and with the sheet in paw said, "I'll go and see what Dad thinks."

Southey looked very worried, but Little Eric putting a comforting paw on his shoulder said, "it'll be fine pal, I feel sure Dad will be more than happy to get out in the fresh air."

And so it was, as we saw Allen's face wreathed in smiles, as he trotted back into the room. "It's on!", was all he needed to say.


There is already an account of this walk from 2010, and the original plan had been just to use this to describe our outing today. Rather surprisingly however Dad took more pictures than we had expected. So, it had been decided to write separate story of today's adventure.

 

The Walk

We woke to cloudless skies. It was to be a cold day, but there was little wind to chill us further.

"What's Dad doing about lunch?", asked Grizzly.

"Either going to the cafe in Asda or getting a sandwich to take out.", replied Tetley.

"OK then, Little Eric and I will pack a few sandwiches and cakes."

"Fine pal, we can always eat them while in the rucksack, as Dad strolls along."

So once ready and us safely tucked in the rucksack, we were waved off by Uncle Brian and our pal Gladly, who were busy doing the Telegraph crossword. The frost on the roof and grass is clear evidence of how cold it had been last night.

Reaching the main road Westgate, we turned left, Dad opting to walk along the residential Glentworth Road that runs parallel. This brought us to the bridge over the long closed railway, that is now a cycleway, which we joined at the signposted junction.

"More for Southey's sake Shaun said, "our route is that signed to Morecambe."

This shortly brought us to a path junction. "This is known as Duck Pond Corner", said Allen.

"And we go left", instructed Shaun.

Southey looked about saying, "I don't see any duck pond."

"Well I can only suppose that there was at one time", replied Allen.

For Southey's benefit again, Grizzly said, "this was once the track bed of the railway line, between Morecambe and Lancaster that opened on Whit Monday 1848. When the North Western Railway was absorbed by the Midland Railway in 1874, they then built the station on the promenade, that opened in 1907. In 1957 the only intermediate station at Scale Hall was opened to serve the new housing estate and the following year a section of the line either side was used for experiments in connection with the subsequent electrification of the West Coast Main Line. The line was eventually closed in 1966."

"Thanks pal", said Southey. Then he asked, "does this path junction have any significance relating to the railway."

"Yes", replied Grizzly. "This was where the spur went off to Heysham for direct trains to and from Lancaster. It then joined with another track to and from Morecambe, which incidentally still exists, effectively forming a triangular junction."

Dad strolled on Tetley pointing, "look pals there's a seat. Picture time I think?"

"But it's covered with frost", complained Shaun.

"No problem", replied Dad, "you can sit on the map case."

"Seeing the dedication plaque, Little Eric mused, "I wonder who Peter is?

There was silence from us and Dad, and even a search of the Internet revealed nothing, so it remains one of life's little mysteries.

Coming to Outmoss Lane, Shaun said, "we go left then take the right fork."

This took us past the end of Hampsfell Drive, Southey saying, "why did we not come along there as it joins Hayfell Avenue where we live?"

"Because the walk as published walk actually starts in Lancaster, so to do as much of it we had to join the route at Westgate Bridge", replied Shaun.

"But won't we just do it at the end, instead?"

Shaun cocked his head to one side and after a moment replied, "true."

Dad now intervened saying, "the repeat compensates for the section not walked to and from Lancaster."

"Oh I see", conceded Southey.

Onwards the path led past the school and out on to Westgate once again. Crossing and going right, Shaun then said, "just before Westcliffe Drive, we go left on the footpath between the caravan sites. There is a signpost for if I remember correctly."

Nearing this, Allen looked about and said, "the sign seems to have gone, pal."

Standing at the entrance we could see why. It has become overgrown, and despite Dad trying to make initial progress he soon realised that the effort would be fruitless, so instead we just walked along Westcliffe Drive, which we would have had to cross anyway.

As we neared its end, Shaun pointed, "we should take that path right between caravan parks."

After a while this swung left out on to Oxcliffe Road, where we turned right.

"It's some way, but just past Fanny House Farm, we go left", said Shaun.

Strolling and passing the farm, Tetley called out, "there's no missing the sign high up on that lamppost. I guess for walkers coming the opposite way over the railway bridge"

Via a kissing gate beside a locked gate, the wide tarmac track led arrow straight between fields, coming eventually to the point where it turned sharp right.

Remembering this, Allen said, "our route is on ahead a few yards, and then left over the stile."

On then by the hedge along the reinforced path and over the bridge, to go slightly left across the field to a wooden footbridge...

...and beyond by the fence to Downlands Farm, where inquisitive cows watched us pass by.

Through gates and passing the farmhouse, we then joined the access road to pass North Farm. Here Southey said, "last year we came through here and walked the reverse of the route to the track from Fanny House Farm."

Today we kept ahead to towards Moss Side Farm. Tempting fate Allen said, "so far we have managed to avoid any sheep pictures."

Well, that was his undoing, as suddenly Dad had the camera out to capture this shot.

Minutes later Grizzly said, "I like that warning sign."

Soon now we approached the Heysham to M6 link road, and Shaun said, "we have to get to the other side. To avoid physically crossing the road, we should go through this gate on the left and follow the track to a cattle creep under the road."

Here Allen's luck took further turn for the worse as Dad was quick to snap this shot.

"Darn", he cried. "That's the very sheep picture though for this story", he then said firmly.

At the far side of the road, it was left through a gate onto a broad grassy track, passing this communications station.

Beyond we soon came to the steps over the sea wall. "It's still freezing out of the sun", commented Tetley, seeing the frost still lying on the grass.

Down the other side, Grizzly said, "each time we have done this walk you have always taken our picture sitting on the steps. Will you do so today too?"

"Sure lad", replied Dad. "Get yourselves settled."

Snuggling down again in the rucksack, Dad strode off left along the road that runs by the River Lune and at high tide can be impassable. We had checked before setting off and knew it would not be high tide.

"Wow", said Southey, "that's a terrific view towards Lancaster with Ingleborough in the distance.

On the left, raised up, stands The Golden Ball public house.

"This is locally known as Snatchems", Grizzly said to Southey.

"Why is that?"

"Well, as that sign indicates, local legend has it that this part of the river was popular with press gangs, who took people, without their consent to serve on navy ships."

Southey looked about anxiously, Allen saying, "that was nearly 200 years ago. It does not go on now"

Grizzly went on, "there has been an inn here since about 1650, but it is open to conjecture whether the press gangs actually did come here."

The road led on to a roundabout where we kept ahead to eventually enter the car park of Asda. "I need to get a birthday card, and a sandwich for lunch", said Dad.

This was soon done and we sat in the bus shelter while Dad ate his sandwich. Then onto cycleway going left towards Morecambe.

In a few yards Dad stopped and cried, "I've left my woollen hat that Kim recently knitted for me. It must have dropped off the seat."

"Oh heck", said Little Eric, as Dad rushed back.

Fortunately it was their lying on the floor, a young lady commenting, "oh it's yours", as Dad retrieved it.

"Phew", said Tetley with relief in his voice.

So back to the cycleway, Dad pausing to take a shot unaware of the cyclist speeding past.

Pointing ahead, Allen laughed saying, "that could be Uncle Brian, speeding off on his mobility scooter."

Onwards the cycleway led, passing at one point these old gateposts, that we thought may be a relic of the railway.

After the third bridge we joined the outwards route, Dad saying, "by way of variation I intend to keep right at the fork to Trimpell Sports Club."

Here Dad turned left onto Outmoss Lane to where we had joined it earlier. Instead of keeping right, we went left, to then meander through the streets of the estate and so make it up 9 miles on arrival at home.

"Thanks for a lovely walk", said Southey.

"You're welcome lads. I have enjoyed it too and feel nice and relaxed."

"We are do glad about that", replied Tetley. "You are the very best Dad in the world.

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