It’s always good to receive an invite for some cycling on the North West coast with Steve, and soon after my “yes” I was driving down the M74/M6 anticipating the week ahead. A week fondly revisiting now familiar routes and places. And a particular cafe. More on that cafe another day.
An evening of catching up, beer and correcting the Internet preceded Monday morning’s blue skies. After breakfast rolls in Glasson Dock we headed along the Lancaster Cycleway which runs alongside the tidal Lune estuary. The tidal range is large here relative to the Firth of Forth back home, and the landscape is always changing. Boats on mooring buoys later beached on their keels as the water recedes out of sight. The casual observer couldn’t be blamed for wondering how they ever got there!
This is an understandably popular cycle path, yet the busyness is never an inconvenience here. Always warm smiles and friendly exchanges as muddy tyres cross paths or dog walkers hold their best friends to the side.
Into Lancaster and we cross a landmark foot/cycle bridge over the river. I’m not certain how old this bridge is… but turning towards Morecambe I wonder out loud how many ‘Millenium’ bridges we have in the UK.
In short time we arrive in Heysham, and take a turn up a leafy, steep but short climb passing St Peter’s church to reach the ruins of St Patrick’s Chapel, standing high above Morecambe Bay. There are tombs here cut in a stone slab which will be familiar to Black Sabbath fans. Hard to resist standing my bike in one for a photo, and as I apologise to other visitors with cameras they ask me to leave the bike for their photos too. “Are you looking after him?” a laughing lady asks Steve as he gives me ‘the look’.
Heading north along the coast we’re soon lazily cruising along Morecambe’s promenade. There’s a lot to take in; seabirds both living and sculpted, fountains, Victorian landmarks hinting at perhaps grander times, a Polo Mints column (yes, really), and even a statue of a famous entertainer. Try as hard as he might, Eric couldn’t hide his delight at seeing us.
The Lancaster Canal towpath returns us to its namesake. Following the meanders through sleepy, green countryside is quite a contrast to Morecambe’s bustling, urban seafront. Beautifully presented canal boats, overhanging trees, and stone bridges give way to an exploration of Lancaster in search of coffee, which is soon abandoned in favour of canal-side Hoegaardens.
Fortified we head for ‘home’, and as both end of ride and dusk approach a detour to the Wyre-Lune Wildfowl Sanctuary is rewarded with the geese making their evening sorties. We sit there content with our day’s work. Days like this are good. There will be more good days this week…
Words & pictures – Jason Liddell.
Gallery pictures – Steve Makin.