It’s another dull morning. From Marsh Lane I rejoin the Lancashire Coastal Way and walk through low-lying fields, full of sheep, past Pattys Farm (nice name) towards Bank End. The path curves around what might have once been a beach.
The path becomes a track. A delivery driver in a white van (just visible in the photo above) stops and asks if I know where ‘The Nook’ is. Just his luck to ask the one person who doesn’t know. Sorry mate.
I pass a fine-looking ram. His harness will be charged with special paint so that the farmer can identify the ewes who’ve been serviced. Most of the ewes are marked. The ram looks pleased with himself.
Another car comes to a stop beside me. Do I know the way to Bank End caravan park? Well, Bank End is just ahead, so I suggest they keep going.
The footpath continues, now running on top of the raised bank. The views over the marsh are great – full of space and light – despite the gloomy weather. In the far distance is the shore I walked along yesterday.
I’m still having trouble with my camera. The lens has developed a mind of its own and will only focus on certain things. So taking a photograph of the marsh (above) is tricky, but capturing these two bird watchers (below) is much easier.
I walk past several caravan parks. Flocks of birds (starlings I think) wheel around.
Ahead is a collection of buildings – Bank Houses, according to my map. And a small car park where a group of walkers are assembling.
They must be even slower than I am (is that possible?) because I soon catch up with them. The reason for their slow pace is due to constant stops for photographs. I offer to take a group photograph, but the guy with a camera says there’s no need. Perhaps he thinks I’ll run off with it?
Ahead is Cockersand Abbey, as mentioned by my elderly friend yesterday. Not much remains of it. Shame.
Just out to sea is the lighthouse, Plover Scar, the one that my elderly friend said had been damaged by a boat. It’s a stubby little thing and no wonder we couldn’t see it yesterday. [If you look closely at the base in the photograph below, you’ll notice it looks asymmetrical.]
Onwards along the bank, which now runs beside the water. This is the mouth of the River Lune.
I pass a fenced off portacabin with tractors and other machinery standing nearby. This is the construction hub for the Plover Scar lighthouse repairs. No sign of activity at the moment. I guess they can only work on the lighthouse when the tide is out.
Further along and I see the sign: ‘DANGER. Quicksand.’ I hope the contractors know what they’re doing.
I really enjoy this section along the bank, and it’s a great shame the path has to turn inland, yet again, when I reach Crook Farm.
I walk down a very muddy farm track…
… and then over a series of marshy fields. At least the path is well signed.
I join a sunken lane, just before yet another caravan park. This lane is called ‘Marsh Lane’ too. There is a pragmatic practicality about the naming system around here.
My sunken lane joins a proper road and I puff up Tithe Barn Hill to reach a spot marked as a viewpoint on my map. It’s only 20 metres above sea level, but high enough to give a commanding view over the flat stretches of marsh below.
There’s the River Lune. And beyond is Sunderland Point. It looks so close! But I have a long way to go up the river to reach the nearest bridge in order to get there.
I walk down the road and into Glasson, also known as Glasson Dock. This used to be a busy place, as it was once the official port for the city of Lancaster, saving boats from making the longer journey up the shallow River Lune. Now it’s much quieter and pretty…
… although still an active dock, with no-nonsense working ships moored up alongside the pleasure yachts.
I stop at a rather rundown pub for an excellent lunch, a meat pie. At my request, the cook provides some vegetables to go with it instead of the usual chips. Very kind. The resident springer spaniel comes and sits by my knee, looking lovingly at me and my pie. I’m afraid I’m hungry and eat the lot, so her patience is unrewarded.
From Glasson I’m following cycle route number 6 towards Lancaster. (When finished, this long-distance cycle route will connect London and Cumbria, but this particular section seems to come to a dead-end at Glasson. I’ve already walked another section of this cycle way, down near Northampton.)
The path/cycle way leads to Conder Green, where a bridge crosses over one of the tributaries of the River Lune. It’s odd to see a sailing boat sitting, stranded, on the grassy marsh.
Beyond Conder Green I walk along the edge of the marsh for a while, meeting a few dog walkers, before climbing up the bank and rejoining the cycle way. It follows, I think, the track of an old railway line, but is nicely overgrown with trees and not boring in the way old lines often are.
The sun has decided to come out, at last. Hooray! But the good weather has brought out the cyclists, and lycra-clad speeders are constantly either whizzing past me or coming towards me. Despite the busy traffic, I manage to take a self-portrait.
After a while my path splits off from the cycle way, taking a rough route along the edge of the marsh.
I meet some brightly marked sheep. Wow! What a colour, ladies.
The going is tough. High tides have washed up driftwood and other debris, so the ground is uneven and covered in obstacles.
Hoping for an easier path, I climb up onto the bank. Clearly others have had the same idea, as there is rough path – although very overgrown – running along the top. I’m not sure if it’s easier walking, but the views are better.
To my right is an area of small lakes, called Aldcliffe Marsh. The cycle way runs on the other side of these patches of water. It’s late afternoon and the colours of the grasses are warm and wonderful. I spot a heron.
Further out, across the fields, I can see the outskirts of Lancaster.
My bank curves around, following the course of the river, and at the apex of the curve I’m opposite a pub. It looks very enticing. I can see people sitting out in the sunshine on the terrace.
I decide I must visit that pub when I continue my walk along the opposite bank of the river. But it’s out of reach at the moment.
Onwards, I’m heading eastwards along the River Lune, and I know Lancaster is only a mile or so away, but for the moment I seem to be in the middle of nowhere. On my left, a raised mound runs along the opposite side of the river, and my map indicates it might be a covered rubbish tip.
On my right are fields and cows. Or are they bullocks? The nearest one starts to walk towards me, but I’m safe behind a fence.
Further along I come to a sign telling me this area is called Freeman’s Pools. The sun is low behind me, bobbing in and out of clouds, and creating dramatic lighting effects across the landscape.
I would have taken far more photographs, but find I’m constantly struggling with my jammed camera. Sometimes it shoots. More often it doesn’t. I’m coming to the sad realisation the lens focusing mechanism is damaged, almost certainly due to the sand that flew in a couple of days ago (thank you Blackpool). And it doesn’t look as if it’s going to cure itself.
Onwards. This walk is lovely, especially as the river is high – nice to see water instead of mud – but the path is quite overgrown and doesn’t look much used.
After a while, I join a road on the edge of Lancaster where a new housing estate is going up alongside an area of light industry. The houses by the road have great views over the River Lune and seem to be selling well.
Mums are walking back from school, with young children and pushchairs. This new estate already has an established feel to it.
The road takes me along the old wharf area, a place called St George’s Quay, which has a strange mix of decrepit warehouses and newly developed residential properties. I see the railway bridge ahead. This would be my first crossing point over the River Lune…
… but I’m staying in a hotel just beyond the bridge. Tomorrow, I’ll be going over the river, but my walk today is over.
- You can read about the history of Cockersand Abbey on British History Online.
- The planned repair to the Plover Scar lighthouse sounds like a large and complicated job. Details on the Thurnham Parish website.
Walked today = 12 miles
Total distance around coast = 2,734.5 miles