Gathering on Arnside Promenade, opposite The Albion.
From guidebooks to guides: every other weekend from the spring through to autumn, Cedric Robinson, the Queen’s Guide to the Sands, or the Morecambe Bay Sand Pilot, leads groups across the bay from Arnside to Kents Bank. The first such expedition this year was at the end of April. Two different charity groups had sponsored walks organised, one of which was The Friends of Chernobyl’s Children which has a very active local group in Silverdale. Consequently, many of our friends were joining this walk, and we decided to go too.
Before the Kent viaduct was built, cross sands routes were a very commonly used link between Furness and the rest of Lancashire, but shifting channels, speeding tides and the presence of quicksand made experienced guides a must. Hence the Queen’s Guide, an unpaid post which has existed since the sixteenth century.
As the gull flies, from Arnside to Kent’s Bank is not too far, but a suitable place to cross the Kent has to be found. To that end we walked downriver and through the caravan park to White Creek…
Where we stopped briefly to enjoy a last opportunity to get some shelter from the wind, to grab a snack and, for most people it seemed, to have a pee in the bushes.
Then we were off across the sands….
As you can see, the sun shone. But the wind was in the east and it was bitterly cold.
We seemed to walk…
…a long old way…
…getting further and further out into the bay, before we finally found a channel to cross.
It wasn’t too deep.
Quite easy in fact. What was all the fuss about?
It wasn’t the Kent! Just a channel left behind where the Kent ran last year.
Little S was finding the whole thing a bit of a trial. He was momentarily cheered by finding this tiny starfish however.
There’s an incredible feeling of space out in the bay and great views of the surrounding hills.
Eventually we reached the actual Kent channel. “No more than knee deep” we were told. I carried S across and in the process got wet far above my knees. I must have short legs. My friend the Adopted Yorkshire Woman did once tell me: “Your problem is that you’re too short for your height.”
Wading the Kent.
From there we headed not directly for Kents Bank, but more towards Humphrey Head, before finally following the foreshore around to the station at Kents Bank, where we’d left a car. The foreshore was muddy and slippery, and not made easier by the fact that I now had S on my shoulders most of the time.
Cedric Robinson MBE.
Looking towards Kents Bank and Grange.
The guide and his helpers did a great job. The route was marked with branches jammed into the sand, somebody must have been out the day before to do it, and I gather that there may have been more work for them to do on the Sunday too.
A and B enjoyed their walk. S, in retrospect, was probably a little on the young side. I’m not sure how far we walked, one of the organisers told the kids 12 miles near the end, but that was on a simple 4 hours at 3mph calculation, and I suspect wildly inaccurate. I’d definitely do it again, but I fancy a warm summer evening with a Morecambe Bay sunset and fish and chips in Grange thrown in.
If you feel inspired and fancy having a go at a Cross Bay walk there’s a directory of organised walks here:
If you’ve enjoyed reading the blog and feel moved to sponsor the kids (well you never know!) there’s an address for donations here: