The Coast

It was only suppose be a shopping trip to the supermarket, but it ended up at the coast in the little town of Arnside.

I love Arnside. So does my dog. It sits on the edge of the River Kent, at the mouth of estuary which flows into Morecambe Bay. We often walk along the edge of the river towards the Bay but today, sans dog, I wandered around at my leisure.

It’s quite overcast today and the colours are very muted. Arnside overlooks the Southern Lake District and on a sunny day, the surrounding countryside is stunning. My photos looked drab and uninspiring and so amused myself looking for other things to photo.

It all started when I spied this sign on the way to Arnside. No wording – just a circle and an arrow. I followed it which took me through some roadworks in a small village (which I thought it would of diverted me from). I thought it was an one off, but they appeared periodically all the way to Arnside. What it was for I don’t know. I have seen these signs before – some have black squares, others triangles and they are, in my world, one of the mysteries of British life.

I parked up overlooking the estuary and walked a short distance to the river front shops. It was here that I noticed a lot of elderly people just sitting in their cars, admiring the view. I don’t blame them on one level, but the weather was positively balmy and tropical at a heady 7 degrees rather than minus 7 of last week and there’s plenty to investigate. I left them to their peering between windscreen, wipers and a steel fence which stops motorists from plunging six foot onto the beach and checked out Arnside on a pleasant March afternoon.

This sign is at the top of a causeway looking towards the mouth of the estuary. Arnside has its very own bore, similar to the Severn Bore in Avon. Only yesterday I learnt that it only happens if the tide is over 9 metres when it comes in or/and there’s a spring tide. Many years ago, I did witness it happening by pure chance and it is quite a spectacle and equally scary as it rushes up the river. It’s just another force of nature to be wary of in these parts. Apparently, if a bore is due, sirens are sounded to alert people to be aware of its coming. It’s quite spooky really with the wailing enveloping the town. There’s usually a half hour warning and then a 10 minute warning. Morecambe Bay is also renowned for its quicksands and many people have lost their lives over the years. It is advised to use a local guide before attempting to cross.

Aren’t some people so clever with words. I’m just hopeless at such things.

I wandered down towards the railway line and bridge that crosses the River Kent, taking those so inclined to let the train take the strain to the Lakes and beyond. Spotting a lone man sporting a camera around his neck and a keen eye studying the far riverside, I wondered if a majestic steam train was heading our way. Hearing a rumble behind me, I turned to see a huge locomotive spewing black diesel smoke out of its roof, tugging what I thought was some form of cargo. It trailed three trailers behind it, each one with a big cream steel crate and as it levelled with me, it dawned on me that it looked very much like containers for nuclear waste. It was fairly non-descript as it hurtled past at speed, giving no sign of its cargo. I shivered as I thought it would most likely come from the Sellafield nuclear plant on the west coast of the Lake District. No wonder it wasn’t hanging around and the grim realisation that this stuff gets moved around on the regular railways and we hardly ever note it. Where was it going (China probably), what was in those containers and what was going to happen to it. It was quite a scary thought the more I pondered, but then a cafe loomed into view and the thought of a hot latte and a sticky bun overtook my thoughts of a railway apocalypse and I headed towards its steamy warmth.

Silly Sign No 2: I don’t know why but this caught my eye and thought it was quite a strange notice. But then, who says that Mr Icecream Van hasn’t driven onto the mudflats to sell his wares and got hideously bogged down in the gloop and needed rescuing while his pride and joy sunk without trace, sucked into the jaws of the murky mud. I’ve watched that Kevin Bacon film, “Tremors” too many times……..

I love reading these kind of signs, giving you a history of that particular monument, trough, stone edifice etc. I liked the way that this little trough is stranded in brick paving and it was originally moved for a pavement . Now it’s stuck on the promenade surrounded by 21st Century gentrification. But I’m pleased that has survived all that trauma.

The same with the little pier. The community spirit to keep it there and resurrect it despite its calamities. Would it be rebuilt today? Would they just let it slip into the river quietly and put a sign up to say “if you squint and peer closely, you might be able to just see a brick sticking out of the mud”. I doubt a council would buy it today like back in 1964 and anyway it would take them years to decide, so it would slip into the mud anyway.

It was time for me to head back, passing the same elderly people staring out into the far distance in their cars. As I drove I lamented this time of year, spring is just around the corner, but yet to show an appearance apart a from the odd clutch of daffodils, awake far too early, by the roadside, slapped in the face by passing vehicles. The roadsides are muddy, dirty and brown from the last week’s melted slush and it needs a good wash. Alas to add to this grubbiness, was the plethora of rubbish as careless drivers and their passengers (and anybody else who uses the roads) lob their unwanted rubbish out of their window. It’s my annual rant – the disgusting state of our verges, clogged with plastic and for a better word, crap. I won’t bore you or put you off my blog with my venting, but lack of cash prevents councils resourcing into clearance and though a few good hearted souls do clean up, why should they risk their lives clearing up after thoughtless people. What’s the problem with keeping your filth within the confines of your vehicle until you a) see a litter bin b) get home and put it in your own dustbin. I can manage that, so why can’t a certain group of humans? A topic we may return to later.

Little parcels of snow still hug roadsides and behind dry stone walls, lying in streaks down the fells and peaks of Yorkshire. Pretty but unable to capture on camera due to the low cloud and mist and also I’m driving on narrow roads without an opportunity to stop. I also spot lambs in fields and utter a squeal of delight at the sight. I love this time of year when everything is so fresh and new life appears. I just wish it would hurry up though!

A lovely afternoon spent wandering and nosing around. Hopefully more tomorrow!

Author: apathtosomewhere

Come with me and my dog on my meanderings around northern England and further afield, encountering all walks of life and everything in between!

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