Date - 26th February 2020 Distance - 6.25 miles
Ascent -
Map - 296
Start point - Parking by Hest Bank level crossing (SD 4684 6658)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



It was Monday, and Dad was at Elaine's as usual.

Which of our pals have gone today?", asked Little Eric.

"Ally and Bramble, and our concert going pals Wayne and Crumble", replied Tetley.

Here are Dunstan, Bramble & Ally, at Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland in June 2011. Bramble was adopted in November 1996 from a shop called Cair Paraval in Amble, Northumberland. Ally was adopted in January 2004 at Alicante airport.

As for Dunstan, he was adopted in August 1992 from Deborah Hamilton who at the time, rescued bears in Northumberland. He is a long standing member of the Aln Valley Railway Trust. This is currently engaged in the reopening of the line from Alnwick to Alnmouth. As such, he is one of the group of railway bears in our Hug, who are all members of Heritage Railways.

So from the left -
Chuffer - member of Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway
Scooter - member of the Bluebell Railway
Dunstan - member of Aln Valley Railway
Dale - member of Wensleydale Railway
Higson - member of North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Here is Crumble and Wayne with their pal Marty donkey, taken outside the Sage Gateshead in September 2005, prior to them attending a concert given by the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Over the years Wayne and Crumble have been to many classical concerts, in Kendal and Manchester and other venues. Wayne was adopted on 17th October 1997 and attended his first concert that night at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester given by the organist Wayne Marshall, after who he is named. Crumble was adopted in May 2005 and days later went with Dad and Uncle Brian on their holiday to Croatia. Here he attended two concerts given by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra at the Rector's Palace. Since then he and Wayne have gone together to concerts.

So this diversion over, we turned our thoughts back to walking.

Allen said, "we had a nice time yesterday, but felt for Dad as he had forgotten his inhaler, so struggled to get his breath."

"I know", replied Shaun. "I am sure it is this weather that is exacerbating his asthma. I have never known a period where there has been so much rain and wind."

"Just one storm after another", said Southey. "With this in mind I doubt Dad will want to walk this week."

"I don't know", replied Allen. "He is off to Armathwaite Hall at the weekend, so perhaps he might take the chance to walk."

"If so, somewhere nearby with little drive to the start", suggested Grizzly. "We have a few, what I would call stock walks, that we have done a few times and are very local. We could suggest the one starting at the level crossing at Hest Bank and taking the Lancashire Coastal Path, then back along the canal."

"That's a good idea", agreed Tetley.

So that evening Allen went to ask Dad what his intentions were about walking this week. He told Allen that Wednesday seemed to be a day where there was a window of calm weather, and that our suggestion was fine.

Having done this walk a few times before, the plan was to just use the previous story from 2015, to recount our adventure. However, as will be seen below, due to a section being inaccessible, we have decided write a new story.



The Walk

So on a cold day with a biting wind and sunshine and showers, we got settled in the car. The drive is about ten minutes from home to the level crossing where the barriers were down.

This is on the main West Coast railway line. We sat and sat. There were two cars in front and one turned round. "I wonder how long they have been waiting", mused Grizzly.

Then an express passed by. "Good to go now?", voiced Southey.

But no, the barriers remained down. After a few minutes a freight train trundled slowly by. "Surely that's it", said Tetley.

But no, we had to wait for a Northern Rail train to pass heading north. Then the lights went out and the barriers rose. "Hallelujah", cheered Southey. "At last"

Dad quickly got ready as we hunkered down in the rucksack, all the time looking at the view across the bay.

"Wow", called out Little Eric. "It is magnificent with the Lakeland Fells covered in snow." Then pointing, "that's the Coniston Fells with Grange over Sands in the foreground."

So we strode off along the shore, being joined for a little way by a lady walking her dog. She pointed, "look how the foreshore and path has been eroded. This has happened since the recent storms. The foreshore used to extend much further out."

"The path has been completely washed away", agreed Dad. "We really need to see the back of this stormy and unsettled weather."

"Yes." Then she said, I'm taking by dog out towards the sea. So nice to have met you. Enjoy your walk."

"Thanks. Nice to have met you too."

Approaching Red Bank, we met a gentleman with this dog and Dad had a few minutes chat with him about the recent weather and the impact it is having on the shore and the how it will affect the area generally in the future. They both agreed that we will probably be dead before the full effects of climate change are felt. This though is of little comfort to young people.

So climbing the stile Dad paddled his way up the wet field of Red Bank.

Seeing the trig point, Shaun said, "can we have our picture taken again sitting on top."

"OK", said Dad, "but I think it really is too windy."

Well we tried, but after we had fallen off 3 or 4 times, Dad said, "enough!"

All this activity had attracted the attention of the flock of sheep in the field behind.

So defeated today, we have no alternative than to include our picture on a calmer day taken in 2015.

At the far end on the coast side stands this crouching statue that we had seen before.

"It's called the 'Praying Shell' and is by artist Anthony Padgett", said Tetley, reading the plaque. "There are also dates, 1994-2013."

Set in the breathtaking headland location the 'Praying Shell' combines themes from nature with the spiritual heritage of Morecambe Bay to create a potent symbol of reflection, renewal and environmental integration. The work is intended to provide a point of interest and inspiration for walkers along the coastal path. It's symbolism is intended to parallel humanity's openness to a larger dimension and the way cockle shells open as the tide comes in. (these are the words of the artist, who we hope, will not mind us using here)

A smaller version of the sculpture was created in 1994, but it was only in 2013 the full size version was placed on the headland.

Climbed the stile and dropped down to and through Red Bank Farm. Across the bay and to the south the sky was very dark and lowering. "Looks like we may get rained on", commented Southey. As it turned out we were just far enough north to avoid all but a very short shower.

As Dad strode on Wild Duck Hall...

...Allen called out, "what's that sculpture. It was not there last time we walked along here."

Looking at the information board below, Tetley said, "it is to illustrate the wading birds that use Morecambe Bay.

We did some research, and here is what we found out. This is one of seven sculptures of coastal birds, designed by Ulverston-based artist and metalworker Chris Bramall of CB Arts, with panels below which tell seven stories of the waders. Morecambe Bay is one of the top three places in the UK for wintering birds. This above is a Curlew.

At Wild Duck Hall, we skirted to the left and on along the road marked 'Private Road to Bolton Homes Farm', leading to a gate with an automatic barrier.

"To keep to the actual footpath, we need to walk on about another 100 yards to a gate", said Shaun.

This gave access to the huge caravan park owned by Holgates, where there are many permanent caravans. Walked through following the footpath signs and past the entrance barrier and up towards the A6.

"Just here we go left", called out Southey. "Over that stile by the gate."

This, as can be seen is a wide grassy hedged track that after a gate became open on the left, and revealed the extensive flooding below.

"Goodness me!", exclaimed Grizzly. "It's turned into the Lake District."

The route was by the fence to the left, to a gate in the distant cross fence, and then onto a footbridge and then to the distant houses at Crag Bank. Dad descended to the edge and explored the possibility of going round to the right.

"Whatever", said Tetley. "Progress here is clearly not an option, the water is far too deep."

"You are right lad", replied Dad.

So we backtracked to the caravan park then up to the A6, going left to cross this to a layby, below the canal, where a slope led up to the towpath by bridge 126. This is known as Barker's Bridge and is Grade II listed. The listing description is as follows. Large punched gritstone blocks. Single semi-elliptical arch with projecting keystone. String course under solid parapet with rounded coping.

Turning right this was followed via Bolton le Sands and on to Hest Bank.

After a little way, Tetley called out, "there's a seat. Now we can have our picture taken today."

"Too right", agreed Southey, scrambling out of the rucksack.

There were many people walking along here, lots with their dogs. Dad exchanged greetings with them as they passed by.

At Bolton le Sands, this concrete bridge with balustrades, known as Town End Bridge, bridge carries A6 bypass road over the canal. To alleviate traffic through Bolton le Sands village the bypass road was built in the 1920s. This new bridge was part of the scheme replacing the original single track stone bridge dating from 1797.

On and on we walked to leave the canal at the Hest Bank Hotel, and turn right down Station Road and over the level crossing.

"Look", called out Little Eric, pointing. "There's another of those bird sculptures."

This one depicts a Shelduck. Below is the information panel attached to this sculpture.

"Thank you Dad. That was a most enjoyable walk, and even though this is the fourth time, there have been new things to see", said Southey.

"We are so very lucky", went on Little Eric. "You truly are the best Dad in the world."

"You're welcome lads. It was good to get out for some fresh air and exercise."

"Refreshment time?", said Tetley.

"Yes pal. I had planned to go to the Shore Cafe over there, but as I suspected it is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. So instead I will go to Jo n Lees in the precinct on Westgate."

"That's fine Dad, we can have our picnic in the car, at the same time", said Allen, rubbing his tummy in anticipation.

"You're always hungry", laughed Dad.

Dad had a beef burger with chips then a piece of chocolate caramel shortbread, all washed down with a mug of tea.


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