Friday, 9 December 2016

Wyre Way in sections - 7

Wednesday 7th December '16

Fifty yards after parking at Fleetwood we found ourselves bent into wind and rain looking forlornly into distance down the diminishing vanishing points of the promenade, glistening with surface water and portentously deserted - not a soul to be seen anywhere. That last point causes one to wonder if one is embarked on folly.

But, I had the advantage of being with the ever optimistic BC with good cheer and new anecdotes about his recent trip to Austria and then pioneering an apparently non existent finish to the GR 131 accross theTenerife section of this GR which traverses the various Canary islands.

Within quarter of an hour the rain had stopped, but visibility was poor, and then the promenade was barred by active flood defence work. A drop off the wall onto the beach would have been suicidal and the wall on the landward side was too high to climb. We retraced our steps to find a ladder-stile over the landward wall where it would have been helpful to have a diversion sign.

Rossall public school  appeared, silent and gloomy - Bradford Grammar was not so good but it was better than going to boarding school.

Further down the western promenade we cut back east across the celebrated Blackpool/Fleetwood tramway to pick up a riverside footpath, now down the western banks of the Wyre. The tide was half out revealing mud flats glistening in the now improved sunlight, squirming and snaking like Barbara Hepworth sculptures.

Soon the path was bordered by large diameter pipes emanating from the ICI works. There was no indication what might be flowing through, but the vegetation around still seemed to be in natural colours.

As one who has had a fair go at DIY plumbing wrestling with15mm copper which tries to take its own path rather than the one you have planned, I was awestruck with the vast scale and multitude of intricate structures of  exposed pipework with many variations of diameter and connections. How on earth does something like that come into being, and is there any one person who has a global knowledge of how it all goes together and works?

At Stanah there were ramshackle jetties thrown together with random posts and stakes of wood in higgledy piggledy fashion in marked contrast to the regimentation of the ICI piping. These jetties provided moorings for mostly sorry looking boats which one would guess had long since taken their last trip to sea.

By now the skies had cleared, the sun was shining but as we approach the shortest day light soon fades, but that provided us with atmospheric views back to the Shard Bridge which we had crossed to finish the Wyre Way and a ride back to Fleetwood in BC's car.

BC photos fisherman's family anxiously awaiting his return. I don't think there is any fishing still operating out of Fleetwood

The deserted promenade - for the brave only, or the stupid in this inclement weather

Fleetwood lookout station - briefly from the website :

Wyre Borough Council acquired funds from the EU, and from local business champion, Doreen Lofthouse, of 
Fishermans Friend Fame, to develop the sea front at Fleetwood, including the Marine Hall and Gardens and Rossall Tower. Work started at the Marine Hall in early 2011. Work started on Rossall Tower in December, 2011.

This guy was blowing in the wind waving his arms acting like a drunken sailor much to BC's and my amusement

The Blackpool/Fleetwood tramway

Back to Fleetwood (left) and Knott End (right). click to enlarge to see the red ferry crossing


Anybody know a good plumber?

Close up of one of the oversize pylons carrying electricity across the Wyre.

I thought the OS maps depicted pylons at their exact location, but the map shows one in the middle of the river which is not there - I intend to check my possibly incorrect assumption when I am out and about again

See next photo...

Atmospheric end to a  more than usually interesting walk.
Both of us were somewhat dismissive about this  debatably odd extension to the Wyre Way but it certainly proved to be worthwhile.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Wyre Way in sections - 6

Saturday 3rd December '16

Green from Hambleton - across ferry to Fleetwood, then back and return via pink.
On the Fleetwood side the rest of the Wyre Way is the green and the pink my proposed return from the finish at Shard Bridge. That may be done in one or split into two

There was more of interest to see on this section compared with the frequent mud baths on the previous one.

That set me thinking about the difference between these country/urban walks and what I consider to  be the more uplifting forays into the hills, but they both have such different merits.

Compare with photos below, this photo from the wilds of Scotland, obviously taken after achieving a good height on the hill rather than a roadside snap, therefore hinting at that achievement and demonstrating the resulting reward.

Please click to enlarge

The huge pylons carrying electricity from Heysham Power Station across the Wyre - note the far one way in the background on the other side of the estuary - click to enlarge

ICI (I think) across the Wyre

Back down the Wyre salt marshes

The ferry from Knott End goes across the narrower gap to Fleetwood before the widening of the estuary.

Knott End is an insignificant cut off sort of place, but this is their impressive golf clubhouse

See below

Click to enlage

The ferry is on the way across - these guys were beating a retreat from their fishing

Aboard the ferry
I had to wait an hour for the return - time for a tea and bacon butty

The ferry boat, looking back across to Knott End

Lancaster Canal and Kia Soul

Thursday 1st December '16

My Thursday walking day with Pete started earlier than usual so I could pick up the new Kia Soul. When I first saw this car in the showroom my initial thoughts were that it looked quirky and a bit like an ambulance, but after a few days it is growing on me, and overall I am satisfied and do not regret the purchase because of the major benefits I have outlined earlier on this blog, but there are a couple of niggles.

I am a bit disappointed with the MPG. I knew this was not going to be as good as the Yeti, but it is petrol. After 50 miles or so it is only showing about 35mpg on the computer gismo, but that doesn't seem to stack up with the apparently slower movement on the fuel gauge,  perhaps it is doing more?The car has only done 2300 miles so maybe it will settle down a bit - I was hoping it would do about 40. In lieu of audible reversing sensors there is a camera - I've  quickly found out that the lens becomes dirty in poor weather so you are looking through a thick fog. I much prefer the audible system.

We had a short walk from Hest Bank south towards Lancaster on the Lancaster Canal. Within the last few weeks a new link road from Morecambe to the M6 has been opened after a long period of construction and amongst many other major engineering features it has involved a bridge over the canal which you do not see when driving, but we were able to view from the canal. Whilst there was no escaping a  larger structure than a traditional canal bridge a good effort has been made to sympathise with canal architecture.

An interesting array of colours under the old canal bridge. The Lancaster Canal was completed in 1826 and these old bridges have stood the test of time, even with modern day traffic rumbling across them

The new bridge carrying the Morecambe/M6 link which is motorway in all but name. When the stone weathers it will  become a decent attempt at harmonising with the canal vernacular

Looking north from Hest Bank - not sure what the distant snow covered hill is (It was shining more brightly than the photo depicts)- probably the Shap fells, but it looks closer than that - these things are so difficult to identify.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Wyre Way in sections (5)

Sunday 27th November '16

It's a struggle getting up early on these cold, dark mornings, but it means I can be back home by mid afternoon to enjoy a hot bath, a good meal, and an evening of lowbrow entertainment on the tele.
The Wyre Way seems to become less inspiring as I squelch across muddy fields, and further on stumble over plastic bottles, driftwood and other detritus as the river becomes tidal.

Squelchy fields...

...and more squelchy fields (different colour this time)

We've got a funny chimmney

Back to the Wyre, now tidal - I was puzzled because it was flowing the wrong way - tide coming in

Jungle - many plastic bottles underfoot

And more squelch - if you really want to enhance your experience, click to enlarge

Shard Bridge.
 The walk will eventually finish at the lefthand end after continuing up this right bank to Knott End and crossing on the ferry to come back down the other side

Massive pylons take electricity across the Wyre

From Wikipedia:
Out Rawcliffe is a village and civil parish on the north bank of the River Wyre in the Over Wyre area of the Fylde in Lancashire, England... 
... The village has one Anglican church, Out Rawcliffe St John Church, built in 1838 in the Romanesque style by John Deerhurst, the year after he had designed Preston Prison.

I think he must have been suffering from depression after the prison experience - this is one of the ugliest buildings I have seen for a while - (Grade 2 listed)

Click to enlarge - I walked anticlockwise on the Wyre Way (green) from Ratten Row to Hambleton and back on the blue route. The eventual finish and proposed return can be seen arriving at the other side of Shard Bridge

Friday, 25 November 2016

Wyre Way in sections (4), and Thursday "walk" with Pete

Wednesday 23rd November

Just for the record:  a pleasant but muddy walk starting from my last finishing point in Garstang and finishing at Great Eccleston - I caught the bus back to Garstang from there.

Approaching Lancaster Canal aqueduct from Garstang. The canal is carried over the River Wyre here.

What a superb construction that has lasted for over 200 years, and carrying water at that - unbelievable!
My route went across the aqueduct and up the canal for a hundred yards or so before branching off to follow the river again on the opposite bank

Right of way blocked. There is a huge housing development underway here on the outskirts of Garstang. 
I managed to squeeze through the metal fencing to the left and...

...continued to walk awkwardly - the way was slippery and muddy and obstructed by trees further along

St Michael's church

Toll bridge back over the Wyre to Great Eccleston and my finish - free for pedestrians


Thursday 24th November
Sometimes the course of a day can be predicable. Not so this Thursday.

Daughter Jill had phoned me last night to say her car had croaked and could she have a lift to school at Barrow so I was off at 7:00 am.

On the way back the warning lights came on Yeti again after I had only picked it up on Tuesday having payed the £780 bill - oh dear! Well, my actual unspoken language was a bit stronger than that.

I phoned Skoda at Morecambe and drove there with my Thursday walking day with Pete now under threat - It was 9:00 am - I usually pick Pete up about 10:30. I was given a horrid little Skoda Citigo courtesy car, but at least I was mobile and drove back to Arnside for Pete. We set off driving to walk on Scout Scar south of Kendal, but on the way my mobile chirped and  Skoda informed me that they had only needed to re-set the warning light system and Yeti was ready again so we turned and drove back to Morecambe.

By now I was beginning to feel disenchanted with Skoda after my ten year relationship with them, and also after reading prophets of doom here on comments on my last post. A few hundred yards from Skoda we passed Rayrigg Motors and I said jokingly to Pete, "we'll call in there on the way back and waste time with one of the salesmen."

There was no way in the world that I thought I could afford to change the Yeti for a new car, but I had been wrestling with the dissatisfaction of having a car that was out of guarantee with the potential for further costly repairs. I was shown a Kia Soul Connect 1.6 petrol demonstrator that had only done 2300 miles reduced from an original retail cost of £16,000 to £11,995.

After several enjoyable rounds of haggling with the salesman going back and forth to his boss I  reduced his original offer to change by £1000 and including £400 worth of towbar to be fitted and six months road tax. That was a bit under the maximum amount I had in mind for changing the Yeti so I signed up.

OK, it is not 4 x 4 or automatic as I would have liked, BUT it has a seven year warranty and a good service plan and is well appointed - in particular, a rear view camera in lieu of reversing sensors and cruise control, and Bluetooth hands free mobile phone facility with voice command, and above all provision of peace of mind for a number of years.

πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš—πŸš— (mine is white not red)