A life less complicated

Having reached a crossroads in my life I am choosing to step off the treadmill that is my busy life and take time out to travel.  On October 5th 2017 I set off with my Springer Poppy in our motorhome (subsequently swapped for a caravan) ‘freedombird’ initially to explore the remote beauty of the UK coastline and then – well let’s see……

For our earlier adventures in Cornwall from October 5th 2017 to February 10th 2018 click here Cornish times

A walk from Lytham to St Anne’s…..

A mostly dry day, a little spit spot here and there and very little sunshine but it is November! A bit of a trek (in the car) around the coast to Lytham and we parked up along the front. We were surprised to find that like Southport the area was mostly marshland.

I also didn’t realise that Lytham and St Anne’s are in fact two neighbouring towns rather than one town of Lytham St Anne’s – who knew that? Anyhow, we are in search of a beach, so we wandered towards St Anne’s, in between there are major works to improve the sea defences and so the coastal path diverts inland slightly – past some pretty impressive houses, it has to be said! We re-joined the coastal path over some low dunes and more marshland!

It didn’t take Poppydog long to find a nice muddy puddle!

Fortunately the marshland soon gave way to a wide expanse of sandy beach.

As you can see, pretty much deserted as we wandered past a row of well kept beach huts up on the promenade.

The sea was so far out, that you could barely make out where it started but we splooshed about in the seemingly miles of shallows.

Might be a bit of a nuisance if you are a keen swimmer but otherwise a nice beach.

The beach extends way beyond the pier to Blackpool but we have walked enough, so we will return another day.

As we headed back the way we came (a 9 mile round trip) the sun was almost out as it was making its way down for the day.

Two thoughts of the day:

We didn’t time this very well as we struggled to cross Preston during rush hour! Traffic! We don’t do traffic!

I wonder if the sea is ever blue here? It seems to have been brown and full of sand? since we left Wales.

An early start to see the Soldier in the Sand at Formby….

A drizzly morning but the sun came out in the afternoon. What a shame that it had started to rain as we left site this morning at about 8.30 to get parked up at Formby Point NT car park. We needn’t have worried too much, time wise, as there was not much of a queue and plenty of space. Anyhow, once parked up, as I imagined it would be quite busy on the beach towards Lifeboat Road end (south) we headed through the woodland in the opposite direction to get Poppydog a good run around off the lead.

Before we joined the beach and headed towards Lifeboat Road Beach where the NT where hosting an event to mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.

On 100 different beaches around the U.K. a huge picture of a soldier lost during WWI is being drawn (using a rake) in the sand along with many life size silhouettes of soldiers in action. As we approached the activity, the main picture was complete, though from ground level it was virtually impossible to make the picture out.

We clambered up onto the dunes to get a better look and after a bit I got it!

This was a picture of Joseph Aplin, who lost his life at the tender age of 19 in WWI. From our vantage point we could see the gradual formation of the soldiers in action, though unfortunately the rain was proving quite a hinderance!

Shame it is such a grey day as lovely views up and down the coast from here!

We moved on up the beach, away from the crowds so that Poppydog could have a good run around on the beach and through the dunes and watched the sky breaking over Liverpool.

Heading back to participate in the two minute silence at 11am.

This was followed by ‘The last post’ and reading of the poem ‘Wound in time’, specifically written by Carol Ann Duffy, for the occasion.

We watched the incoming tide as it approached the sand art before making our way back to the car, now almost dry but cold and desperately in need of a cup of tea.

Later, we wandered along the seafront in Southport, mainly to see if the beach looked more welcoming in the sunshine, it didn’t, the wet sand is dark and a bit muddy and the pier still closed!

Two thoughts of the day:

Why was the picture of the soldier not facing the dunes?

With our love of beaches and plans to visit them all – what a perfect way to mark the centenary of Armistice Day – ‘lest we forget’

Back to Formby, but this time to the Lifeboat Road Beach….

Quite wet and wild during the night but fortunately all blown through by the morning and though mostly cloudy, it was mild with a bit of sunshine throughout the rest of the day. We drove to the Lifeboat Road NT carpark and set off though the acres of dunes and trees towards Formby Point.

Surprisingly there didn’t seem to be many people about, so I was happy to let Poppydog ‘off road’ straight away as we wandered along the myriad of trails and paths.

We clambered over the last set of dunes and joined the beach at Formby Point (roughly were we left off on our last visit).

From here we headed south again (back the way we had come) to enjoy the Lifeboat Road section of beach.

There were a few people around but not enough to distract Poppydog from her game.

She even let this trio of gulls be!

The sun is so lovely and low at this time of year which of course can be an asset or not to taking photos, but I know what I saw!

We carried on south towards Little Altcar, as far as we could before the beach is closed off for military use.

And made our way back through the dunes, by this point we haven’t seen anyone for about an hour!

The sun was getting very low in the sky by this point and we were able to capture a P&O ferry in the middle of this halo of gold, with the silhouettes of the wind farm in the distance.

Two thoughts of the day:

Formby beaches, the dunes and wooded areas are right up there on our list of favourite places.

We are setting an alarm for the morning for the first time in this life, as we want to be back at Formby early to enjoy the ‘Pages of the Sea’ Armistice Day Centenary down on Lifeboat Road beach.

Today we went to Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’…

Quite wild out there, grey but still keeping dry, until now that is but we are tucked up in the warm, so fill your boots! We drove towards Liverpool to the very affluent village / suburb of Crosby, parking down on the front (it was P&D but I’d decided to cough up for a change but someone had kindly left a ticket with nearly two hours to run in the machine so who am I to argue!) in the car park clearly a popular feeding ground for gulls and starlings – though Poppydog soon shifted them! The tide was still quite high and our first encounter of an Iron Man was a rather haunting glimpse of a man ‘walking into the sea’.

There are 100 of these life size Iron Men scattered around the beach over an area of a couple of miles and stretching out some half a mile into the sea. Each weighs 650 kilos and are an exact caste of the sculptor Antony Gormley’s (Angel of the North) own naked body – though some of them have kindly been donated T shirts!

Poppydog wasn’t remotely interested, she us quite oblivious to beauty, art or culture unless it looks like a ball or can be thrown! Still she was happy to chase tennis balls as we wandered along the rapidly appearing sandy beach.

The beach was deserted apart from our silent companions, all staring moodily out to sea, but you couldn’t help a second look as they appeared in your line of vision.

Close up the weathering of the statues is quite how I imagine natural decay to be – quite unnerving really.

It was quite a surreal experience, the beach being so deserted and yet, each time you glanced out to sea, another head and shoulders was appearing.

I can’t help feeling that they would have been better placed somewhere much more remote and, for me personally, bunched closer together to heighten the impact.

Well worth a visit, on this cold blustery day, only 4 miles round trip but hey I’m happy.

And so was the hound!

Two thoughts of the day:

It works but what kind of mind wakes up in the morning and thinks ‘I know, I’ll make a life size cast of my naked body, or should I say a 100 and plant them on a beach’?

It is whipping up a treat out there tonight – glad we are warm and cosy inside.

Formby and miles of empty beach – we like!….

A bit of rain through the night but dry in the morning, grey and blustery but hey it is Autumn! Today we went to Formby, parking up in the NT car park, actually we did the same yesterday but I forgot to take my phone, so here we are doing it all over again just for you and atleast today it didn’t rain! The beach is just a short walk through the trees (red squirrel country but we didn’t see any) and over the dunes.

How fabulous are these trees all bent by the prevailing sea breeze – like natural sun umbrellas.

Over the last dune and a lovely sandy beach awaits.

Not a soul to be seen in either direction.

Poppydog free as a bird and enjoying a quick wallow.

Armed with a couple of tennis balls and the thrower it was a much more pleasurable walk today, yesterday Poppydog barked almost non stop as there were no stones on the beach to throw and I hadn’t brought the balls and thrower – oh yes and it was raining!

We walked for about three miles, towards Ainsdale and decided to do an about turn at this skeleton of a long submerged boat, still partially covered by the tide and just catch a weak glitter of late afternoon sun – beautiful!

For a change of scene, halfway back we left the beach via Fisherman’s Path and followed the Sefton Coastal Path back through the woods.

A good three and a half hours fresh air, 7.5 mile round trip for me and many, many more for Poppydog – ‘off roading’ all the way!

Two thoughts of the day:

Well I stand corrected – I really didn’t have high hopes for this stretch of coastline.

There are some seriously huge houses in both Southport and Formby – the Liverpool ‘haves’?