BLACKPOOL’S POSH SISTERS – Lytham and St. Annes.

Another beautiful morning, frosty, sunny with fresh snow on the Bowland Hills. So what am I doing in Lytham?  I could still walk, hobble, after my 10 miles along the Blackpool prom on Wednesday.  Having staggered downstairs this morning for a coffee I considered the options. Couldn’t stay in on such a sparkling day, couldn’t climb Parlick or walk the local fields so why not return to the Fylde Coast – lovely and flat.

I parked near the famous windmill alongside all the Christmas shopping ladies in their 4×4’s. A shot hop across the common and I was on the promenade with views across to Winter Hill and Southport.

The tide was well out. Dog walkers were pre-eminent and before I had gone a few hundred yards I witnessed a cyclist being pulled off his bike by an errant beast on a far too long lead. No serious damage.

Delta winged fighters were flying over from nearby Warton.

The windmill [1805] and adjacent former life boat house are suitable photographic subjects. I’ve just bought a new phone and was trying out the camera, will see if I can upload the results onto my computer. Took me some time working out how to even answer the thing when I test rung it. It will be known as ‘it’ from now on as I feel we’re developing an uneasy relationship.

The modern life boat station was next, Georgian Houses fronted the road across the way but busy Lytham lies behind. The prom was lined with smart memorial benches, hundreds of them. One particular one drew my attention with a plaque remembering cocklers. On the sands are improvised tractors used to launch their boats.

My photographer friend Pete lives here and has accomplished a remarkable study of the cocklers  –  his website is worth a visit.

The views across the bay continued to attract my attention as did the flocks of wading birds on the edge of the tide. There was a lovely shimmering light on the sands.

I walked round the seaward side of Fairhaven Lake, there were no pleasure boats today only a few swans.

You don’t realise you are in St. Anne’s until beach huts and the truncated Victorian pier appear.  Next to a boating lake is the very modern lifeboat station with its RNLI shop attached. Last night I was writing Xmas cards and as usual ran out so this was a perfect opportunity to buy a few more and support a worthwhile charity. As a bonus I had a close encounter with the lifeboat and its high tech launching tractor. Thank you Mrs Volunteer RNLIer.

Only walked a hundred yards and I was sat in an equally modern cafe overlooking the lake enjoying a decent coffee.                                                                                                                           An Edwardian Garden has been resurrected from the all invasive drifting sands and in  its centre is a statue of Les Dawson, not the best of likenesses but a homage to one of St. Anne’s  celebrities.

From here a road follows the coast hemmed in between sand dunes and a line of hotels, apartments and residential homes for the elderly. This elderly is striding out as fast as he can. I don’t venture into the dunes as I fear the going will be too soft and difficult for my hip but I soon get bored and found a path through the dunes onto the firmer sand. A whole new world opens up – miles of sand merging imperceptibly into the distant sea. The dunes have been fenced off and attempts made to stabilise them with old Xmas trees, attempts I always thing of as futile gestures against the forces of nature. Paradoxically there is a digger on the beach extracting sand presumably for commercial ventures. Dog walkers seem to be out at sea which now has a distinct roar to it as the tide comes in.

Ahead Black Combe looks close enough to touch but not to photograph, the pleasure beach and Blackpool Tower appear above the dunes and my short walk is at an end. Glad I didn’t miss this day.

A bus takes me back to Lytham past the largely defunct airport and new housing developments were formerly were holiday camps. How times change within a decade.

 

 

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