It’s been over a year since I last slept under the stars and I had an overwhelming desire to get back to it, the fact that the weather forecast was looking amazing helped.
So I packed light, then repacked even lighter, just a bivvy bag, a sleeping mat, a pillow and a quilt, spare socks (because) a good book, stove for coffee and my camera and I was off.
I’ve been looking at route along the coast to one of the nicer areas of Morecambe Bay for a few years now, it seemed that this would be the perfect opportunity, heading out across land reclaimed from the sea seemed a good start, with some ‘primo’ #grassupthemiddle till I hit the coastal path. The good weather of late had made this trail hard packed, a pleasure to ride along when its normally boggy, the free falling parachutists caught my attention for a few minutes at the big chair.
Its been odd that I’ve only been to the big chair on my own so far this year, its usually full of hairy (and not so hairy) legs, a quick slug of water and off again, the next bit of path I generally miss out as its not strictly somewhere bikes should go but today there was no one around, the trails were in perfect condition so I went for it, only the bemused cows for company.
Another bench (mark) was reached and now on legal ground again I made my way to Lancaster via a fried breakfast and a pot of tea, soon enough between the two bridges I stopped and watched for the otter I’d seen a few days earlier, no luck today.
Sunderland Point came into view, the ride across the causeway is a favourite and I rode slowly to savour it, the large number of Curlews surprised me, their distinctive call always a pleasure.
I headed towards the Horizon Line Chamber, a (newish) piece of land art by Chris Drury.
Ten minutes inside the camera obscura allowed my eyes to adjust to the projected image, even though its upside down its still captivating, the building itself is a beautiful thing, the local stonemason Andrew Mason had done the area proud with his skilful work.
From here it was now along the beach, hugging the shoreline to Middelton Sands then onto the promenade at Morecambe…
Dodging the day trippers and dog walkers I jumped onto the Lancaster Canal at Hest Bank, through towards Carnforth then towards Silverdale for tea (beer and pizza)
I found a grand spot to bivvy, overlooking the bay and settled down for the night, watching the amazing sunset across a mil pond sea, exchanging text messages with my mate Dave who was on the other side of the bay carrying out a bat survey.
A clear but warm night but with little sleep due to the brightness of the moon, even listening to David Sedaris on the I player wasn’t enough to knock me out but no problem, the moonlit view was fabulous to watch, the two tawny owls who kept buzzing me (and I think were trying to talk to me) kept me alert until the early hours.
Sleep did eventually come, about fifteen minutes before a deer came crashing through the undergrowth, I’m not sure who was the more startled, it was now half past four and the sun was coming up so I got up and made coffee, the cold remains of last night pizza were consumed and camp was officially broken.
Everything was slightly damp, but packed away and the bike reloaded, a quick check around to make certain I’d not left any rubbish and apart from the flattened grass you’d never know I’d been there.
My intention was to essentially retrace my steps from yesterday but because of the early start the tide would have been over the causeway at Sunderland Point, more garage coffee at Carnforth confirmed that I was far too early to get any hot food anywhere so I headed back towards Lancaster, even here no where open so I found a bench and promptly fell asleep.
An hours powernap doesn’t half feel good, plus it meant that by now there was another fried breakfast with my name on it at the infamous Cafe d’Lune, more coffee and also tea, and more toast….. an hour later and I’m back at base, literally twenty three hours and eighty three miles later, a successful Sub twenty four hour overnighter completed.
Words and pictures – Steve Makin