As I came off the motorway my car radio was tuned into Radio Lancashire but as I approached Milnthorpe it automatically retuned to Radio Cumbria. This used to be Lancashire, today Arnside is in Cumbria [South Lakeland] whereas Silverdale is still in Lancashire. All very confusing and not very logical geographically. Poor old Westmorland disappeared altogether.
I was greeted with a cup of coffee and a custard pie from the local bakery on arrival at Sir Hugh’s house. It had been my suggestion that we walk around the coast from Arnside to Silverdale and back by Arnside Tower and Knott. It would be a good chance to catch up on recent trips and news.
We started on the promenade by The Albion where there is a ‘drinking’ fountain erected in memory of a Richard Moberly Clayton Grosvenor by his grandparents. Aged 4yrs sadly appendicitis killed him in 1903. In the background is the railway viaduct over The Kent.
This is a walk I did on past occasions with my young family and friends usually having lunch in the pub on the shore road in Silverdale. It all seemed different today, the coast has changed and where there were sand and grass there is now mud, and where there were a few caravans there is now a caravan metropolis. The first caravan park at New Barns seemed rather ramshackle but we found a way through, possibly not the most direct, We kept seeing the coast, the tide was out, as we followed woodland paths that came out onto small limestone cliffs. The slippery limestone was unnerving at times but I followed my guide as he sped off into the mist and rain. At one point we came out onto White Creek, a bay with grassy foreshore. The path through the woods was good and we eventually emerged into another far superior caravan park which went on forever. I reckon that the holiday site is larger than Silverdale itself, it has its own pool, gym, bowling, play areas, bar and shops etc so I wonder how much the Arnside/Silverdale area benefits.
The day had promised brightening skies but we had by now been walking in light rain for a couple of hours. We started to meet people out walking when we arrived in Silverdale, always a popular spot. A few streets later and we were heading back into fields towards Eaves Wood. As we entered the woods my local guide muttered that he [I wasn’t implicated] might not be able to find the Pepper Pot, a prominent landmark. We did and it was a good spot to stop for lunch whilst it was briefly dry giving good views south over Morecambe Bay and the fells to the east of the M6. The Pepper Pot was built in 1887 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, she must have more monuments to her name than any other royal. Also on the escarpment was a view indicator from our present Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, shame they didn’t build a salt cellar.
There were paths in all directions, many new to Sir Hugh, and we blundered northwards through trees to suddenly arrive at Arnside Tower one of the medieval Peel towers in the area. [The Scots liked raiding hereabouts] It looked in perilous condition and we gave it a wide birth. The nearby farm had one of the largest herds of cattle in one field that I’ve ever seen.
Back into the woods and we make our way slowly up Arnside Knott. Nearing the top there is a seat with the best views northwards over to Grange and the Lakeland hills if they had been clear of cloud. We made an obligatory visit to the trig point, one that has been adopted by Arnside Ramblers and given an unusual paint job. There are too many trees up here for views. We found an open field to drop back into Arnside.
It wasn’t that bad but I need to return when the sun is shining.
Despite the dreich weather I did enjoy the outing.
It is always a shock to return to a favourite place after many years and find changes for the worse. These static caravan parks are a real nuisance around our coasts. I am sure things would appear better in the sunshine.
The problem with Morecambe Bay is that the tides change their flows and the channels move around so some places get literally washed away. So instead of sand or grass you get mud.
I only get upset about coastal caravan parks if they try to prevent you walking the coastal path. Will we ever have one round Britain?
Wouldn’t that be great!