Day 128: Heysham to Arnside
Distance: 18.97 miles
Ascent: 1538 feet
Weather: Overcast, Rain Towards End
Accommodation: Arnside Independent hostel
It was a very dewy and damp (though not raining) type of morning, and I depitched ready for the day. The forecast was for rain this afternoon but unlike for the rest of the week I had not seen any areas with significant issues when plotting today.
My first issue though was getting out of the nature reserve which I had assumed had an entrance roughly in the direction I was going but it didn’t, so I had a little scramble over the fence with my backpack on. From here I headed through the edge of an industrial area and on reaching Half Moon Bay the route joined the low cliffs and my first real (though still small) incline for a while. The path passed the remains of St Patricks Chapel, before dropping down to Heysham Village. This appeared to be a lovely little village based on the part I went though, more reminiscent of something you would find in the rural countryside rather than on the coast.
I had now reached the long Morecambe Promenade which made for speedy progress. The promenade was quite nice, though the beach did not look like one you would swim from and a lot of the buildings (mostly B&BS and hotels) were not in a great state making for a quite drab frontage to the town. I passed the Eric Morecambe statue who due to my age I do not know much about beyond the Christmas specials that get shown most years. About halfway along the promenade I diverted into a Morrisons with a café both to use the Wi-Fi to write yesterdays diary, have a cup of tea and stock up on supplies. This all took me almost 2 hours and I was back on my way around 11.
The promenade ended at the golf course and I decided to drop down onto the beach rather than the actual path. The beach was sort of a mix of mud and sand, but firm enough and flat so that it made for relatively easy walking. I managed about 2 miles of easy walking like this passing Bolton-le=Sands, before it started to become more semi grassed mud flats with little channels some quite deep which would be uncrossable. But there appeared to be a little track so I continued and was making good progress until suddenly there was a channel 3 or 4 meters across that due to the mud I would not be able to safely cross (you could actually see someone’s attempt to cross and they had made it only a meter before turning back presumably covered in mud.) From here it was not easy but after a bit of faff I made it through the maze of channels back to where the path now was.
In fact the path crossed the same terrain and was not overly easy going, with quite a few little channels but shallow and narrow enough with mud not to deep to just about walk across. This part made for slow progress though not unenjoyable and I was soon heading up the River Keer. I crossed over the footbridge next to the railway and then had a spell of roads for the next couple of miles. I took the lower road and it turned out to be a mistake as it was far busier and far quicker cars than I had expected so after a mile or so where I could I diverted up via a little path onto the other road only a couple hundred meters inland which was far less busy though the cars that were on it were still going very fast.
At Crag Foot I was back on quiet paths and after negotiating the worst stiles ever, just a wobbly bit of wood and then just 2 layers of barb wire that you had to precariously swing your leg over, I was down onto the foreshore. Whilst rounding Jenny Brown’s Point I passed a lovely old chimney and then a spectacular house on the low bank. The path became a small track/road and it was funny to see how many different variants of private this house had on its gate, I counted 8 though the only unclear one was the small one with an arrow showing where the path went.
The track took me up and past Gibraltar Farm which was the first farm on my walk I have come across that has a raw milk vending machine, so people can just turn up with a bottle and fill it up for a very reasonable cost. From here I was soon in Silverdale where I took a short break, both to rest and decide where would finish today. At that moment it looked like I was camping for 5 nights this week and all of them could possibly be wild so I investigated if there were any options that would enable me to charge things up (in fact my camera had run out as I stupidly forgot to charge on my rest day) and then noticed a hostel in Arnside which could work for tonight so I emailed it and set of knowing I would be there in a couple of hours tops.
I joined the beach again though this time all flat and no channels. The Lancashire Coast Path actually stops at Cove Well and as Cumbria has decommissioned its coast path stupidly there technically is no onward route, but down on the beach I was fine. I continued on the beach all he way down and round Arnside Park Point. Unfortunately it started to rain at this point (though fortunately 4 hours later than forecast) so I ducked onto the little path that headed just inside the woodland.
From here I was soon in Arnside and arrived at the very impressive building which housed the independent hostel (ex Youth Hostel.) They had space in a dorm room, and kindly gave a small reduction. In fact, I had the dorm room to myself which was perfect.
A surprisingly hard day, due to a mixture of terrain and probably inherent fatigue from yesterday.