Walking into Summer

Anthony Gormley's Statues Beach Walking By the dunes Crosby Beach John tells a tale That way John? What can I say? Where's the sea?
Sefton Coastal Trail. Bank Holiday Monday May 30th 2011.

25 people – two dogs. 22 miles.

Ldr : John Bullen

I think we could count the Bank Holiday Monday experiment a success!!! To have such a large number out, and that despite the heavy morning rain, was very pleasing indeed. The idea of this walk was to allow people to choose their own distance and how they wanted to do it. This was possible as, after leaving Southport, the railway line runs parallel and just next to the route all the way to the finish.

Several of us were meeting at Crossens and walking the full 22. Kim was driving to Southport, bus out to Crossens but leaving early afternoon for a family commitment. Great plan but the busses were running Sunday hours (even though we had been assured they weren’t) so I had to nip into town and pick her up. This saw Norman take the leadership reins. Kim and I soon caught up and after the delights of the Marine Lake and the magnificent old hospital building which is now exclusive apartments (prices start at half a million) we arrived at the pier head to be met by the Lancaster “Naughty Girls” Mary, Ruth and Audrey, plus Lynn and one of our special guests for the day, Bev D’Arcy from Humberside who had travelled the day before and stayed overnight.

Off we went down through Victoria Park and on to the “Velvet Trail” which runs along the beach from Birkdale to Ainsdale. This is quite a delightful path through the habitat of the natterjack toad and two species of lizard. Our enjoyment of this was marred however by a dog off its lead savaging and killing a baby rabbit with its owners not fifty yards away and not uttering a word! Disgraceful.

Amazingly having been behind in Southport we got to Ainsdale well ahead of schedule. This meant a quick adjustment for the people meeting us there, Lenny, Helen and their friend and the ever-smiling Ferdis. After entertaining the ladies in the mobile refreshments van we headed off down the beach, the sea for once at Southport actually visible! Soon we spotted a figure in the distance waving and smiling, Ferdis, who picked up where she left off on her last walk by immediately insulting Norman! (Well Done Luv). Lenny and Helen were by Freshfield Forest and here we had lunch in the picnic area. Sadly we didn’t see any red squirrels.

Off we went down the beach again, entertained by Big Dave Evans running up and down each and every sand dune (those have got to be the longest legs in the LDWA). Vera stayed with us and was great company. I put everyone into a sharp military two-step to get beyond the Altcar army camp as quick as possible and sweating we emerged at the River Alt estuary and the superb views out to the Wirral, the Clwydians and in the distance the Great Orme and the Snowdonia range.

By now the rain had cleared and we had beautiful sunshine, real ice cream weather, which most of us took advantage of. The trek into Crosby is a stunner with the wind turbines out to sea and the sight of the “big ships” leaving the Mersey and Liverpool. Pretty soon we were at Anthony Gormley’s incredible naked man statues on the beach. Here Kim shot off to the railway station and we left Beverly and Lynn who for some reason wanted to photograph all 150 naked men!

We got to Waterloo station just as the train arrived and to our delight found out it was half price travel with it being a Bank Holiday! Thirty minutes to Southport and fifteen on the bus out to Crossens and we were on our way home before six.

Thank you to everyone who came along and especially to Andy Dobney for his superb photos. And Helen who has promised us free range eggs next time she comes along!

John Bullen

Wednesday June 8.

“Grim and Desolate it isn’t”.

17 walkers. 15 miles from Barden Bridge. Leader: June Reeder.

Leaving Barden Bridge we followed the Wharfe downstream through pasture and woodlands to Waterfall Cottage. From here began the long, steady climb up through the Valley of Desolation, a wood and over Barden Fell to reach our coffee stop at the gritstone outcrop of Simon’s Seat with its spectacular long distance views. After a steep descent to Dalehead Farm we donned waterproofs before crossing the valley to High Skyreholme under a passing shower.

Next to Dry Gill by way of Black Hill Road track to join the B6265 for a short stretch. A path through fields led us to a late lunch at Grimworth Reservoir car park complete with toilets and picnic tables. Another short shower had us on the move to cross the B6265 at Dibbles Bridge.

We climbed up through several fields before dropping down to the small but popular village of Appletreewick. A lovely stretch on The Dales Way alongside the Wharfe in bright sunshine took us all too soon to Barden Bridge.
Smiles from the Group