MORECAMBE, HEST BANK & LANCASTER CANAL

 


Summary

Date - 31st March 2020, 11th April 2020,
10th January 2021 & 28th January 2022

 

Distance - 9.5 miles (9 miles - January 2021/22)
Ascent -
200 ft
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, so we were all content and happy.

"Mmm, the blueberry slice is quite delicious, Little Eric", said Allen.

"So I see. That's your third piece."

"Just keeping up with Southey. He's on his third piece too."

"I am, and the chocolate coconut and cherry slice, is delicious too, Grizzly."

"You two", laughed Tetley. "Cakes stuffers to a tee. Just like Dad."

"We don't mind, as long as our efforts are enjoyed", replied Grizzly.

"They certainly are and we never take them for granted", said Allen.

Meanwhile Shaun had had his face buried in the iPad. "What are you looking at?", asked Little Eric.

"A potential new walk from home. I have found a path from the far end of the promenade that links across to the Lancaster Canal. So here is what I propose. We walk to Trimpell, then take the main cycleway across the railway and out to the promenade by the Midland Hotel. Then along the prom and to the buildings that used to be the VVV Health Club. Here a path takes us to a bridge over the railway and then to the road. Here another takes us to the canal. We can follow this to the Bay Gateway and then along this to Morecambe Road and so home."

"Phew", said Southey. "It sounds a long way! But interesting too."

"Worth suggesting to Dad", said Tetley, looking at Allen.

"I know", he sighed. "I am the most persuasive." He took the iPad, and called out as he left the room. "Please re-fill my mug."

"Such a tea belly too", laughed Shaun.

It was not long before he returned. "Thanks pal" he said taking the steaming mug from Shaun. "Dad likes the idea, as it will involve quite a bit of new paths. So it's on for Tuesday."


 

11th April 2020
With the different options for walking from home becoming limited, we repeated this walk. Dad did not take the camera today, so all the pictures that follow are from 31st March. The day was similar with some sun and mild temperatures, but such was the haze that it was not even possible to see Grange across the bay never mind the Lakeland Fells.

10th January 2021
Once again we are in lockdown, so we are limited as to how far we can drive to walk. So, we decided to repeat this walk again. The day was overcast and dull but milder than the last few days with no overnight frost. Like April last year, the views across the bay were limited, just about being able to make out Grange. We used a more direct track to Trimpell so accounting for the slightly shorter distance. Sitting for a break by the canal, two ladies, Margie and Rebecca, noticed us, so Dad explained, and about our website. Dad caught them up, and keeping socially distant, walked with them until leaving the canal. They talked about walks and were interested to know if it was possible to follow the Northern Reaches to Kendal, so Dad was able to give some explanation. It was lovely to have met them, and we hope that they get enjoyment from looking at some of our stories.

28th January 2022
Dad having driven to take us out just a couple of days earlier, and the fact that the day was dull and overcast with poor visibility and drizzle at times, we decided to repeat this walk starting from home. For Dad it was quite a social walk as after we had again taken in the stone jetty, and as we came to the Lifeboat station, Southey said, "we need a new notebook for recording the details of non published walks." So we went in to get one. Dad got into conversation with volunteers Alan and we think his daughter. We got introduced too. It came out that Dad had worked at the shop at the Inshore station, and Alan told him they were looking for volunteers. Along the promenade he then met friends Chris and Mike Burrow, who he had not seen for ages, so another quite lengthy chat ensued! By now we had only walked 2.5 miles, so with a long way still to go, Dad stepped up the pace a bit.

 

The Walk

So we awoke to a bright sunny day with light winds, but it was to cloud over later.

"Shorts and t-shirt then Dad", said Allen.

"Yes lad, but I'm taking a jumper I will probably need it later." He did too and later in the afternoon it got really cold.

So from our Bear home...

... we walked along the avenue then right and left to the end of Altham Road where we joined the cycleway.

"Look" pointed Little Eric. "A postbox. I know I seem to have got a bit of an obsession with these lately, but it will make a nice colourful picture."

Turning left took us to Out Moss Lane, not before Dad had stopped to chat a little while with a couple,

Right then to pass Trimpell Sports Club and then left on the main path all the way to come out by Morrisons and on our to the promenade, passing the art deco Midland Hotel, that was built by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and opened in 1933. During the time Dad has lived here the hotel closed and fell into serious disrepair. Commencing in 2006 Urban Splash restored the building and it reopened in 2008. It is managed by English Lakes Hotels. In 1989 it was used for the filming of some episodes of TV series Poirot, starring David Suchet.

"Can we have a walk along the stone jetty?", asked Tetley.

This was originally built around 1853 for the 'Little' North Western Railway Company as a wharf and rail terminal for both passenger and cargo transport. The former station building and lighthouse, is used as a cafe. During 1994/95 it was rebuilt and extended as part of the coastal defence work to combine a series of circular pavement features incorporating pavement games.

Immediately by the above that is a seat, is a maze.

Another feature are plaques of birds that inhabit Morecambe Bay. Indeed the bay is one of the most important such areas in the country for sea birds. Here are four examples. Cormorant, Grebe, Oystercatcher and Curlew.

Then this below, the words round the sculpture reading - Swallows skimming over sunbeams and shadows.

Finally one of the dominant features is the sculpture called Mythical Bird by Gordon Young. "I call him Sam", said Dad, "after the eagle in the Muppets."

Grizzly pointed, "the views across the bay to our beloved Lakeland Fells are quite good, if a little hazy." Here are the Coniston range.

At the shore end of the jetty we turned left passing almost immediately one of the two RNLI stations in Morecambe.

Our Dad is a great supporter of the RNLI, and indeed for many years volunteered in the shop to raise funds. He said, "this station houses the hovercraft H002 named the Hurley Flyer. This is in honour of a Mrs Hurley who donated the money to purchase the craft. The prototype was tried out here as the bay is a perfect area for its operation. Following that designs were updated and the Hurley Flyer became the first operational hovercraft in the RNLI fleet. At first there was no actual station building for it. The local Lifeboat Association held many fundraising events to help fund this building. It became operational in 2009."

"Did you work at this shop?", asked Southey.

"No, I worked at the one at the inshore lifeboat station, which we will see later."

Further on we came to the Eric Morecambe statue, that honours Eric Bartholomew, who was part of the famous comedy duo Morecambe and Wise.

We smiled seeing him suitably attired for defence against COVID-19. The statue stands at the top of a flight of steps. Around below are some of the many sayings from the shows and names of the many famous people who appeared, such as Shirley Bassey, Andre Previn etc. Their Christmas show was so popular such that in 1977, 28,835,000 people tuned in. This was over half the population of the UK!

Soon we reached the Inshore Lifeboat Station. This became operational in October 1998.

"There's the shop where I used to work, Southey", said Dad.

At the end of the car park beyond is the Seahorse rock.

"Come on", called out Little Eric. "Let's have our picture taken sitting on it."

We got settled again, and then Dad strode on coming to this structure on legs that is the Morecambe Sailing Club race office.

The promenade was quite busy with walkers and cyclists and Dad made sure to keep the requisite 2 metres distance apart under the social distancing rules.

At the end we passed this sculpture 'The Most Beautiful Of Absolute Disasters', popularly known as 'Venus and Cupid', by Shane A Johnstone. It depicts a seated woman, facing out to sea, holding the hands of a child who is suspended in the air extending horizontally from her arms, as if being swung round. It is covered in multi coloured mosaic. It was erected in 2005 on this site known as Scalestone Point, site of a former gun emplacement, between the coast road and the sea, and commemorates the 24 cockle-pickers who died in the bay in 2004.

As we sat looking at it Dad commented, "for some reason Uncle Brian never liked this sculpture. We did not know of the commemoration to the cockle-pickers who drowned on that February day. If so maybe he would have changed his mind."

After a few hundred yards the road swung right and up away from the shoreline. "This is where we take the left fork along that tarmac drive", directed Shaun.

This took us past buildings that over the years have had different uses. On the first occasion we mistakenly continued along the tarmac right before the buildings, but this only led to houses.

"Oh", said Allen. Then he pointed, "We can cut left across the rough ground to gain the shore again."

After crossing a rocky area a soil path materialised and at the fork it was right to the cross the bridge over the railway and follow the narrow path between houses to the main road.

"We cross and go a few yards left, to take that rising path right", called out Shaun.

This led between houses to a road that we crossed to follow the ongoing path and soon take the steps right down to the canal towpath.

"Nice reflections", commented Southey.

It was peaceful along here and when we stopped all we could here was the bird song. "So good for the soul", said Tetley.

"That seat with reference to horses that once towed the barges, will make another nice picture for the story", said Grizzly.

Further on we passed this newly installed missing milestone. 2019 was the bicentenary of the completion of the Lancaster Canal. As part of the bicentenary celebrations, the Canal and River Trust joined forces with the Lancaster Canal Trust and Lancaster sculptor Alan Ward to restore the missing canal milestones between Preston and Kendal. Milestones on a canal differ from those on the road in that they are intended to tell you how far you have travelled rather than the distance to your destination. So, in the case below travelling south this milestone shows you would have travelled 23 miles from Kendal. The purpose was to make sure the canal proprietors received from canal carriers the full toll they were owed. (We acknowledge the Canal and River Trust for this information)

The towpath was followed until we reached the impressive bridge that carries the Bay Gateway.

Passing under the bridge Dad then went right to join that foot/cycle path beside the dual carriageway. This is part of the link from Heysham to the M6 and was opened in 2016.

Allen said, "we have driven along here lots of times, but to walk is a new experience."

At the junction with Morecambe Road, we crossed when the green man showed, to then walk right along Morecambe Road, where these daffodils provided some spring colour...

...and on the opposite side this beautiful magnolia.

Then at the Shrimp roundabout we turned left onto Westgate and so home.

Shaun said, "it's 9.5 miles in total."

"Phew", said Dad, "no wonder my legs were saying that's enough for today."

"Oh Dad we say thank you as always for taking us out", said Southey. "We are truly blessed to have the best Dad in all the world."

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