Notices like this went up around the village in the early days of the virus. With the twenty-twenty vision which hindsight provides, and in light of the clarification subsequently issued to police forces, it’s easy to see that the notice is not entirely correct. But it’s not my intention to criticise: the Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Watch were simply doing their best to interpret instructions which were clear in their intent but completely lacking in detail. To some extent, we’ve all had to make our own decisions about exactly what constitutes ‘staying at home’, when, in fact, we don’t actually have to stay at home all the time.
Apparently, my Dad tells me, one of my second cousins was stopped by the police, only this week, and told that cycling isn’t exercise and that he should go home.
It’s not only the police who have at times been over-zealous however, and there seems to be quite an inclination, in conversation and online, to find fault with other people’s choices. Usually, online at least, swiftly followed by a second wave of condemnation heaped on the whoever dared to criticise and so on.
The ‘other’ Holgates caravan park at Far Arnside – it looks far bigger from the Bay than it does when you walk through it.
There’s been quite a bit of discussion, in local Faceache forums, about whether it’s acceptable or not to cross Parish Boundaries whilst exercising. Some of it, it’s fair to say, was tongue-in-cheek, but I think it at least echoed the kind of conversations many people have been having.
So, it’s possible that on this walk, and I suppose on a handful of others, I went a little too far?
Initially I walked out into the bay until some dark lines off to my right attracted my attention and I turned in that direction. They turned out to be the far bank of a broad channel…
Morecambe Bay – the tiny dots on the horizon are Heysham Nuclear Power Plant.
I turned and followed the edge of the channel back towards the shore north of Far Arnside.
Eventually, I was forced to deviate somewhat in order to cross a meandering side-stream..
Shelducks and Mallards. Grange-over-Sands promenade behind.
Closer to shore the channel held a lot more water and was evidently quite deep.
The bank was crumbling and clearly unstable.
Although the channel eventually ran quite close to the cliffs, it was still possible to keep following it round towards Arnside.
I was a bit nonplussed when I rounded Park Point and saw that the channel simply petered out…
From this point there’s always a view of part of the Eastern Fells of the Lakes. You’ll struggle to see it in the photo above, but I thought I could pick out some remnants of snow up there. Fortunately, with the magic of the superzoom….
I could confirm my suspicion.
I keep changing my mind about which hills are visible from Park Point, but my current thinking is that this looks like a view of Fairfield and the western half of the horseshoe.
Just around the point, I was struck by the sudden profusion of shells…
I assume that it’s to do with how the tides flow around the point, perhaps creating eddies or a lull and hence causing shells carried by the currents to be deposited.
I followed the estuary up towards Arnside.
Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers.
Not a great photo, I know. They were on the far side of the river. But I’m never entirely confident about the difference between Mergansers and Goosanders, so I’m hoping that, if I make some brief notes here, then the details might stick for future reference. That often seems to work.
The male Merganser, on the right, has a wispy crest, a white neck-band and an orange-brown breast. The female is quite dark, with no clear delineation between the plumage on her head and neck.
Here’s a pair of Goosanders which I watched as they fished just a little further upriver.
The male doesn’t have the crest, has a white breast and far more white generally. The female has a very obvious dividing line between the colours of her neck and head.
Lesser Black-backed Gull, who was every bit as interested in the Goosanders as I was. Whilst I’m making notes – the yellow legs distinguish this from a Great Black-backed Gull.
Scurvy-grass. Packed with vitamin C apparently.
Train crossing the viaduct – I couldn’t tell whether it had any passengers or not.
In Arnside I stuck to the edge of the estuary, rather than walking along the Prom. I couldn’t avoid a short road-walk and passing through the railway station however and if I transgressed then I suppose this is where, not that I was ever closer than the stipulated two metres away from any residents of Arnside.
It looked like the old bridge had been closed off for repairs and replaced with a temporary, scaffolding bridge…
Which was high enough to give a good view along the Kent Estuary…
I walked along the old rail embankment which borders the estuary here, eventually turning off to cross Arnside Moss and then follow Black Dyke and the railway line back towards Eaves Wood.
In the fields by Black Dyke which were flooded for several weeks in the winter, there was a fair assembly of Shelduck, Lapwings, Canada geese, Greylag geese, and Herons, almost as if all of these waterfowl were loyal to the erstwhile lake even now that it had drained away.
Hart’s Tongue Fern.
New leaves emerging.
Willow catkins – with, I think, a honey bee, thoroughly dusted in yellow pollen.
Ginger thorax, black abdomen, white tail: a Tree Bumblebee. A species which is a comparatively recent arrival in Britain.
I’d been thinking that it was about time that I saw some Coltsfoot flowering, and sure enough, there it was beneath the willows.
A different willow catkin, or possibly the same species at an earlier stage – but I’m inclined to the former. Willows are a tad confusing.
A section of Eaves Wood, where most of the trees had been felled, was resplendent with Primroses, which is, I think, exactly the point – flowers of this sort, which seem to prefer open woodland, violets, primroses etc are important food-plants for various butterflies, some of them rare.
And so, a tune: it has to be Little Richard. A has been practising a dance to ‘Long Tall Sally’ and who can resist that? Or ‘Tutti Frutti’ and it’s opening ‘a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom’, a vocalisation, apparently, of the driving drum beat which Richard wanted for the song. However, I’ve gone for something a bit less obvious, which you might not have heard before, Freedom Blues: