Cross Bay Walk

Before the off

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.

Yewbarrow, Whitbarrow Scar, River Kent, Kent Viaduct 

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…

A brief pause 

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….

Crossing the sands 

As you can see, the sun shone. But the wind was in the east and it was bitterly cold.

Meathop Fell and Arnside Point 

We seemed to walk…

Looking towards the Forest of Bowland fells 

…a long old way…

Arnside Knott 

…getting further and further out into the bay, before we finally found a channel to cross.

B crossing first channel. Not cold, honest. 

It wasn’t too deep.

Reaching the far bank 

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.

A tiny star fish 

Little S was finding the whole thing a bit of a trial. He was momentarily cheered by finding this tiny starfish however.

Big space 

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 

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 

Cedric Robinson MBE.

Grange and Hampsfell

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:

http://www.yourguide2thelakedistrict.co.uk/morecambe-bay-walks-c1042.html

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:

http://www.focc.org.uk/FOCC_Pledge_An_Amount.html

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Cross Bay Walk

13 thoughts on “Cross Bay Walk

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Odd. I’m sure that I remember the mammoth cross bagging in that post, but not the Humphrey Head part. I think laurel branches were used when we did it, probably organised by the same people.

  1. Oh, now there’s an idea, With spending the first 11 years of my life in Urswick, our local beach was Baycliff or Bardsea (near Ulverston), I’ve always wanted to walk across Morcecambe Bay. We’re heading to Blackpool in June, so will check to see if we can fit in a walk before or after the event Neil is going to,

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      The thing is, that to get to the crossing point we walked way out into the Bay, for quite some time it seemed that we were walking directly away from our eventual destination.

  2. Hi Mark. This is a walk I’ve always wanted to do but, to be quite honest, have never had the guts. Being brought up on the Furness peninsula (at Askam), I’ve had stories about people, horses, and carriages full of travellers perishing on the sands drummed into me since an early age. It’s hard to imagine nowadays that at one time the main road to Furness went across the sands. But that’s how it was. One day I might have a crack at it – with Cedric of course. For now I’ll just sit back and read accounts like yours.
    Cheers, Alen McF

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Recent events have tragicly reaffirmed the Bay’s reputation as a potentially dangerous place. I never venture too far onto the sands on my own. Down near Bolton-le-Sands there’s a car half-buried in the sand – it still swallows things up. But with either of the two guides who lead parties, I think it’s worth a go.

  3. I did that walk some years ago with my ageing Springer Spaniel, Barney (sadly, no longer with me). I was worried about his ability, but at the outset there was a lady out in front with a small bitch on a lead that was just coming on heat. Barney got tucked in behind, and never missed a beat the whole way across.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I’ve known a few walkers over the years who suddenly found an extra turn of pace, and a spring in their step only in certain company.
      Then there was the time that my friend the Ginger Whinger cycled into Manchester slipstreaming a corporation bus which carried the object of his affections, but we won’t go into that…

        1. beatingthebounds says:

          I really like it. My Dad, with whom I did a Hest Bank to Grange walk years ago, told TBH that it was muddy, cold and unpleasant – so it’s not to everyone’s taste.

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