A Canadian Abroad Pt 4 - Morecambe Bay Walk

A Canadian Abroad Pt 4

Morecambe Bay

Morecambe Bay

A few months ago, Michelle Mellor our Director sent an e-mail around work promoting a walk across Morecambe Bay for charity. I’d never heard of Morecambe Bay but it was a four to four and a half hour trek across an acclaimed natural wonder of England.  The walk could be dangerous as the bay is well known for its deadly traps of quicksand and fast moving tides; in 2004, twenty-three Chinese cockle pickers drowned as the tide came rushing in.  For our safety, the walk was conducted by The Queen’s Guide to the Sands, and Cedric, aged 80, has held the official title of “The Queen’s Guide to the Kent Sands” since 1963.

From work, Alice, Michelle, and Richard were going, and seizing another opportunity to explore and count this as my gym work out, I tagged along too. Together we departed for the seaside community Grange-over-Sands where we would catch a train to the village Arnside.  We had an hour to kill when we arrived and estimated that there were about three hundred people going on this walk – there are over forty tours offered throughout the year.  There were plenty of people supporting various groups in brightly coloured t-shirts, people with dogs, and even one family with a ferret on a leash! I can’t understand why anyone would take a ferret on a four hour walk, especially when there was a river crossing involved.  Eventually the crowd began to wander elsewhere and like cattle we followed.  At the sound of a whistle, people began to move and while we assumed it was Cedric leading the way, one woman quipped, “It could be anybody blowing that whistle; we might not even be following Cedric!”  It turned out she was right but I wouldn’t know that until much later.

Alice and I stuck together which was nice and good for bonding and we ended up walking a long distance before arriving at the bay itself.  The bay appeared desert like, an endless land of sand that stretched father than I could see.  How much scarier the threat of tides seemed when I realized that even in a place that big there was no time to flee and nowhere to run; I couldn’t even imagine water moving that fast.  We did hit a couple patches of water, including the biggest puddle on Earth that I foolishly assumed was the river we were supposed to cross.  Before we even hit that half-worthy pond my shoes were soaked through and my feet were caked in mud.  The scenery changed when we finally reached the river.

Kristina & Alice

Kristina & Alice

Crossing that large body of water felt weird at first and there was definite mental resistance happening.  The water was knife-cuttingly cold and I’ve only experienced an even more uncomfortable chill when I stood in the frigid mountain waters of Lake Louise back home.  Though it was unpleasant, it became a great challenge and as we pressed on, the waters rose higher until it touched the tops of my thighs.  As we waded through, Alice finally blurted, “Aren’t you freezing?” because I hadn’t said a word, my focus completely on the other side.  “Yup!” I agreed.  “Just keep moving towards that shore.

 

Coming out on to dry land was instantly warming and a short distance ahead of us, the landscape shifted again.  A bed of seashells stretched out before us with black flies hovering around.  Soon we were back on the sands and it was on this leg of the journey that I overheard someone ask the guide – who was easily recognizable in a bright orange vest – if he was Cedric.  The man replied no, Cedric had fallen on some rocks the day before and ended up in the hospital but he was following us on a tractor today.  I noticed this tractor on the other side of the river when we first crossed but didn’t make much of it.  The final stretch of the journey was probably the hardest; we left the sands behind and now trekked across mucky salt marshes.  Mini chasms broke up the ground and we were forced to jump across or find another way around it.  Most people jumped and one older gentleman actually caught his food on the edge and fell forward; he was all right but it was still worrisome.  Not wanting to risk twisting an ankle this close to the end, I began to find other routes around these gaps in the ground and the homestretch was across a rocky portion if you wanted to avoid the marsh which I did.  I saw a woman peel off one of her rubber boots and reveal a bloody foot – poor thing – but that’s why the website warned us not to wear wellies!

Kristina & Cedric

Kristina & Cedric

Out of the four of us, Michelle completed the walk first, followed by Alice and me, followed by Richard and Charlie.  Waiting at the top was Cedric and his wife who were selling copies of Cedric’s autobiography and certificates  for completing the Morecambe Bay trek.  Michelle gave Alice and me one of these while Richard stopped to introduce me to Cedric.  “I’d like to introduce you to Kristina; she came all the way from Canada to meet you.”  At which Cedric exclaimed, “To meet me?”  He was so adorable I had to agree and we got a picture together and I was introduced to his wife who was equally sweet.  Instead of waiting an hour for the train, we decided to walk the extra two miles back to the car and took a picturesque stroll along the promenade where Alice and I listened to Richard recount tales of his grandmother; I could tell immediately that she’s been one of the major influences in his life.  Along the way we paused at a cafe and sat down for coffee and a bite to eat – I chose crumpets and tea, although part of me still wishes I’d gone for that homemade rum and raisin ice cream.  Once we made it to the car, it was a quiet drive back – everyone was tired.  We’d all had such a fun day, even though it was disappointing that the sun came out after we’d completed the walk.  I was also pleased to see that all of the dogs that joined us were well behaved.  I would recommend Morecambe Bay to anyone; it’s a flat walk, easy to do, and great day out.  I wonder how far that ferret got…

 

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