My second ever coastal walk is lovely, mixing dunes, countryside, and beaches. It can’t get much better than this!
I drive to Formby and park as close to the beach as possible, which isn’t very close at all really, then walk to the station and get a train down the coast to Crosby Blundellsands Station where I finished yesterday’s walk. The train pulls in seconds after I buy my ticket, lucky since the next train is not for another hour. In 20 minutes or so I’m back in the dunes in Crosby. I turn right, and start heading north. There’s been a bit of rain overnight!
A rainbow appears where I will be walking and it cheers me up, I’m walking towards the rainbow’s end. Poetic, but then it occurs to me that rainbows mean rain. Oh well.
Out to sea two cargo ships are about to cross, in front of the huge windfarm in the background. I wonder whether this Seatruck ship was the same one I saw yesterday in dock in Liverpool – the “Panorama”, but it’s too far away to see its name. I think again of my childhood urge to go to sea on a cargo ship, sailing all over the world, the romanticism of it….. but this ship is only going to Dublin it turns out. Nice but not so romantic. More like a cross channel ferry for containers, which isn’t very romantic at all really. The thought rapidly fades from my mind…..
Eventually the promenade comes to an end, and I come across millions of bricks dumped on the beach. They all came from houses that had been destroyed in the Liverpool blitz (and some from later slum clearances). Recently an archaeology student pieced together the story of the Liverpool buildings devastated in the May 1941 Blitz by sorting through the beach rubble. I find some bricks with writing on them, but nothing that means much to me.
Beyond the brick beach is a nice sandy beach, with another rainbow ending right on it. If I had a shovel I could dig for gold when I got over there, but I haven’t got a shovel and I’m not sure I’d find any gold. I did once find a pound coin on a beach while metal detecting, but I don’t think that counts.
Just to my right is an ugly brick building. I’ve no idea what it’s for but it has a garage door, so maybe it’s for coastguard vehicles or something. It’s covered in poor quality graffiti, except for a cute panda on the side, which is nice. I’ve come to like a lot of graffiti – or rather “Street Art” – after living in Ancoats, near the Northern Quarter in Manchester, where there is so much fantastic street art, including lots by my favourite street artist Akse.
The path leads down onto the beach, which suits my rule 2 (stick as close to the sea as possible), and round a headland, I come into a small bay which apparently is the location of an ancient submerged forest, that succumbed to the sea. There are still a few relics of old trees in the water.
At the far end of the bay is a concrete slipway, and on it painted the words “Jen I love you so much”. Lucky Jen.
Ahead I can hear the sound of gunshots, as I approach the Altcar Firing Range. There are red flags up today which means I can’t go through, and I have to skirt around it inland. Just before I get there I see lots of ducks ahead and several flying overhead. I never thought that ducks would go in the sea, but as I get nearer I realise that I’ve come to the River Alt, and they’re in the freshwater above the beach. The sound of the gunshots is getting really loud now, but the ducks don’t seem to worry as much about that as I do.
The firing range is protected by watchtowers, and I can see a guy in there staring down at me disapprovingly as I take photographs, but he doesn’t go so far as to shoot at me. That’s nice of him.
I follow a long path with the firing range on my left and eventually a railway line joins me on the right.
After a mile or so the railway line and I both cross the River Alt together, and I turn left down a pretty little path through the trees, while the railway line continues straight on.
At the end of this path, another left turn takes me on a sandy path heading back towards the coast, past Cabin Hill National Nature Reserve, and then a steep climb up a couple of sand dunes. I remember as a youngster doing athletics training by sprinting up sand dunes in Cornwall. 35 years later these seem so much harder!
I arrive on a vast open beach and turn right. The beach is covered in razor shells, and I wonder what happened to all those shellfish. There’s even a baby razor shell lying next to its mum and dad razor shells…. how sad.
It’s a lovely walk along the beach – perfect. The sea is a long long way out, and the sand stretches for miles, interrupted only by this lonely log.
Several horses gallop along the beach enjoying themselves, maybe as much as me. I’m not galloping but I am enjoying myself.
A mile or so up the beach I reach my turn off onto Lifeboat Road, and make my way back to my car.
This walk was completed on Jan 12th 2020 and was about 6.7 miles long. Here’s the real-time recorded map of my actual route, which you can pan and zoom around…