I’ve misled you already in the title. I didn’t actually walk from Hest Bank to Silverdale at all, I walked from Silverdale to Hest Bank. That’s backwards, from further on back to where I ended in the last section. It’s going anti-clockwise, which is just plain wrong. I wrote about this in the About section of my blog. It just feels wrong going round Britain that way. The sea should be on the left, there was never a book called “The sea on my right“. The majority of coastal walkers seem to go round clockwise, although there are a few exceptions.
One of my guidance rules states…
3. Start each stage at the exact same point where the previous stage finished.
so I’ve broken that rule already. The reason can be seen in this phone screen-grab…
Yeah, it’s lovely and sunny, but look at that wind… 28 mph gusting to 47 from the south west. Sod that for a game of soldiers. I’ve not done any cycling more than a couple of miles for 30 years, and I’m certainly not going to start now into a 50 mph headwind!
So I decided I’d drive to Hest Bank, cycle north-east with the wind behind me to Silverdale, then walk back. I don’t mind a head wind when I’m walking.
The cycle ride is pretty uneventful, actually quite pleasant as a couple of miles of it is along the pretty Lancaster canal, although to be honest I’ve had enough of canals for the time being after my lockdown exploits. I lock my bike up to a lampost and trudge off in an unfamiliar southerly direction.
From aerial images, it looks like it might be possible to follow the coast around the little promontory called Know End Point. I consider risking it, but I’m still feeling the “saddling” effects of the bike ride and don’t fancy having to double back right now! Besides, all the maps show the only route going inland, and every other coastal walker I’ve followed went inland, so I start along the road through the village. After a few hundred yards a footpath leads down the side of a garage and onto a narrow winding footpath, bringing me out onto Lindeth Road.
It’s a nice stroll along this shady lane in the sunshine, well shielded from the ferocious wind, and plenty of flowers dotted around decorate my way. Pansies, Endres Cranesbill, and Evergreen Bugloss… you know by now I had to look them up don’t you? Well, except the pansies, I’m not that much of a city boy! I’ve always loved that bugloss stuff, the blue is so vivid. This is the first time I’ve known what it’s called.
Just the other side of the gate is an old Lime Kiln with a sign showing how it worked….
Jack Scout is a lovely place, reminding me a bit of North Cornwall where I grew up. It’s only small, but the cliffs and gorse and views over the sea make it truly glorious.
Except in North Cornwall the rocks would be slate of course…
A tiny secluded pebble beach is accessed by a stile.
The cliffs get lower as I head south until the path is only just above the level of the sea.
The lane swings round to the east at Jenny Brown’s Point. Jenny was probably either Jennet Walling who married Robert Brown who’s old house is still here, or their daughter Jennet.
Shortly after the house is a chimney, the only remaining evidence of a short-lived attempt at copper mining in the 1780s.
The path here passes over limestone pavement and grassy expanses dotted with salt water pools.
The route takes a right turn along a raised bank called Quaker’s Stang which crosses over the salt marshes to Crag Foot.
A mildly interesting booklet about the features of this are can be found here.
The path passes under the railway…
…and emerges onto New Road, which looks like it might be a busy road, but is actually fairly quiet to stroll along.
That’s good because the next couple of miles is spent on this road. The Lancashire Coastal Way actually takes a higher route along a country lane running parallel to New Road, but this route is closer to the coast, and allows frequent views over the salt marsh and the sea which the lane doesn’t.
In the hedgerow, my favourite wild flower, the dog rose, smiles innocently in the May sunshine.
The railway line runs closer to the sea than any road or pathway along here. It’s a shame you can’t walk along down there, but the railway line is built on a bank of stone ballast to raise it above the marsh, so any path would be a very wet one.
Thankfully I’m reaching the end of the main road, and I turn right over the railway line and head down a cycle path, all the time overlooked by the imposing Warton Crag.
At the bottom of the short cycle path, a modern wooden footbridge spans the little River Keer. The route turns sharply right, and follows Shore Road towards the west, the sunshine, the sea, and a fierce headwind.
An old guy on a bike overtakes me at a snails pace, battling heroically into the headwind, amazingly balancing at such a slow pace and buffeting wind. I’m sure he’d use a fraction of the energy walking like I am, but his perseverance is awe-inspiring, and eventually he disappears round a corner. Perhaps he got off and pushed as soon as I was out of sight!
After a few hundred yards, the Lancashire Coastal Way splits from Shore Road, and an intimidating sign warns me of trouble to come!
Luckily I don’t sink in any quicksand (which is quite an achievement for me), but I do encounter a gang of thugs blocking my way….
I give them one of my threatening intense stares which works so well in inner city Manchester, and they take the hint and turn and flee, a lucky escape for me there! ?
Sheep possess a level of stupidity which frequently dumbfounds me. Quite how they manage to live from one day to the next is astonishing. As I walk behind them and they anxiously run off ahead of me, only occasionally do a couple randomly discover that if they move slightly to the right I walk past them. The remaining flock either don’t notice how successful this tactic is, or are just too stupid to learn it for themselves, and they continue to scamper away in precisely the same direction that I’m walking. It takes at least half a mile until one by one small groups accidentally stumble upon the amazing escape ploy, and I’m finally alone again.
For some reason it really annoys me that these sheep didn’t just walk to the side. They never got in my way or did anything to disturb my progress, but it just seems wrong that an animal can be that stupid! ?
The decaying bank to my left reveals its suffering under the impacts of past storms, which makes the path frequently so strewn with rocks that it’s hard to walk along.
I head further away from the bank onto softer ground, where I have to pick my way between the boggy pools. One thing that does help me plot a course is following the well-trodden paths of the sheep, which invariably avoid the soggy dead ends that I otherwise encounter. Maybe they do have some sense after all!
The trees are shaped into sculptured droplets, shying away from the persistent onslaught of wind and salt…
I attempt to take a selfie, balancing my camera on a pile of straw. Unfortunately the incessant strong wind has coated the camera lens with salty spray, and the picture, taken into the sunshine, is a bit of a smeary mess! ?
The path eventually joins a tarmacked road, and then rises up some steps onto a sea bank.
After a few hundred yards I reach my filthy car. My car looks fantastic when it’s clean and shiny, but unfortunately that’s only about twice a year. I promised myself when I bought it that this time, I really would take care of it, keep it maintained and shiny, but like all its predecessors, it’s succumbed to my laziness and disinterest in showing off!
It’s certainly nice to get out of the wind. Even though I was never cold, the incessant buffeting and noise becomes a strain after three and a half hours. Tomorrow the weather forecast predicts much gentler winds, and I intend to walk the next stage in the correct direction, clockwise. I drop down the roof of the car as the sun is shining, put some music on, and head back to Silverdale to pick up my bike, before the trip back to Manchester.
This walk was completed on 22nd May 2020, and was about 7.3 miles long. I’m now 134 miles into this 5,500 mile trek.
Here’s today’s map: