Day 179 Beautiful Views around Morecambe Bay

Thursday 1 October 2015

Barrow-in-Furness to Grange-Over-Sands

12 miles

Colin Mortlock’s house

After breakfast Nicola offered to drive me the first part of today’s walk, out of Barrow town, past the docks (where the submarines are launched from) and along the road to Roa Island. From here it is possible to get a ferry to Piel Island, the tiny island in Piel Channel between the mainland and Walney Island.  

Looking at Piel Island from Roa Island
 This is the island with not much more than a castle and a pub, and the pub landlord is the King of Piel. Unfortunately the ferries stop running at the end of September and, despite my best efforts, I could not find anyone to give me a lift over, nor could I get hold of anyone at the pub. It would have been nice to have camped there for a night but it wasn’t to be. According to Conrad, people around here are a bit funny and he wasn’t surprised the pub didn’t answer its phone. I was regaled with many stories last night of people from Walney not mixing with people from Barrow; apparently it is common for locals never to leave their own patch. In their whole life. A strange place.  

A house built when chimneys were a sign of wealth!
A tower in Morecambe Bay near Roa Island
 Nicola dropped me off at Aldingham, where the road leaves the coast a bit. From here I picked up the coast path and had a very enjoyable walk along the shoreline of Morecambe Bay.   
Looking back along the shoreline towards Aldingham


The view towards the River Leven and Ulverston
  The tide was out and the sand/mud stretched for miles. The sun was shining and the sky was brilliant blue; this meant that there was a bit of a haze so, unusually, it was not possible to see Morecambe and Heysham across the Bay.  

The tide was out across Morecambe Bay
A wonderful light even though too hazy to see Morecambe
 I walked past a wonderful house next to the beach (called Beach House) that was the site of a landscape arts project. There were lots of sculptures arranged in a garden made on the stony beach. It looked incredible.  

A beach garden full of sculptures and whirlygigs
Beach House
Oystercatchers and an elk made of willow and beach debris
 Just after Conishead Priory Buddhist Temple I turned inland to Ulverston, the birth place of Stan Laurel and home of Sir John Barrow, famous Arctic explorer.  

Approaching Ulverston, the Lake District still dominating
 There is a huge monument to Sir John on the hill overlooking the town.  

The monument on the hill
 I caught the train from Ulverston, one stop across the Leven Viaduct, to Cark. Around here the train lines are the most coastal routes across the rivers. 

A great place for a quick coffee and cake outside the train station
 Several people had recommended that I visit Cartmel, a rather quaint village built around a mediaeval Priory. So instead of walking the coastal way I headed inland slightly, along the Cistercian Way, to Cartmel. The Priory was indeed quite magnificent; it was built by William Marshall who is generally thought to have been instrumental in enforcing the Magna Carta after King John died.  

Cartmel Priory
 I stopped for a quick ice cream on a hot, sunny day and headed over Hampsfell into Grange-Over-Sands. The views from the top were excellent, all across Morecambe Bay from one end to the other and of the Lake District mountains inland.  

The view back to Cartmel and the Bay from Hampsfell
And there is Morecambe in the distance, beyond the trees of Silverdale
As I descended the hill into Grange I was debating whether to stop at a campsite here or carry on. My thoughts were interrupted by an older gentleman (he’s almost 80) who was walking (shuffling) up the hill and was using walking poles. He informed me I had the wrong poles. This started a conversation, the outcome of which was an invite to stay in his flat, albeit I would have to camp on the living room floor. I accepted the invite on the basis that it would be warmer and easier than camping and I was intrigued by Colin. It hadn’t taken him long to tell me he was a world authority on nature, an adventurer and published author. All of this from a man who despises ego! It was an interesting evening. I have genuine admiration for Colin’s desire to change the world, starting with Grange-Over-Sands; however, it seems a little unlikely. (Grange is known for being a retirement town.) His flat was littered with books and papers, and he was very interesting to talk to. He has spent a lifetime as an adventurer, working in the industry and completing his own (mainly solo) expeditions. He is a highly accomplished climber and kayaker.

I bought us both takeaway fish and chips and had one of the stranger evenings of my trip. 

A heron fishing near Ulverston

4 thoughts on “Day 179 Beautiful Views around Morecambe Bay

  1. chris frazer October 7, 2015 / 11:18 am

    People’s kindness is boundless…so is, it appears, the blue skies you were enjoying…awesome pics well done Juice….on on.


  2. Val K October 7, 2015 / 12:53 pm

    Sounds like a good day. How fortuitous to have met Colin, was hoping for a photo of him! Val x


  3. Donna Munday October 8, 2015 / 12:04 am

    Luc, it all looks fabulous. You are totally making me re-live my student days (you know Jo and I both went to Lancaster Uni I think?) – we used to escape revision in the library on Friday afternoons and drive to all the places you have been, to walk in the hills, see the coast and swim in the lakes.
    Maybe I won’t tell you all about my days protesting about the nuclear submarines when I was a CND activist!
    If you end up in Morecambe tomorrow, you can stand on the dock and think of me and my mates being very miserable and drowning our sorrows in that spot on election night 1992, when Labour failed to win.
    And if you trek into Lancaster, make sure you visit the Whale Tail cafe – famous vegetarian cafe that we spent much time at.
    Loving the North-Western leg. Don’t forget to give me a heads up of a few days when you are near Runcorn so I can alert Ivor.
    Donna xxx


  4. jomunday99 October 8, 2015 / 9:46 pm

    Sleeping on Colin’s floor?!? Bizarre! If my memory is serving me correctly we used to go to Grange over Sands in my student days and we’d muck about in the sinking sand – very foolish but we thought it was fun – not so much for the cockle pickers! Looking forward to your views on morecambe itself – no offence to the good people of that town but what a dump! I lived there in an extremely grotty student flat in 87/88. Highlight – the Carlton night club! I wonder if it’s still standing?


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