A lovely dune walk from Ainsdale….

A frosty start to an otherwise mostly grey day though we did see a lovely late afternoon sun so all is good. I was planning to start packing up today, but in the end I just thought about and decided to enjoy a lovely walk through the dunes at Ainsdale instead!

There was not a puff of breeze and not a soul in sight on the beach, for an eerie moment, I wondered if I had missed something and shouldn’t actually be on the beach!

Apart from someone demanding some action!

Not so sweet now huh? I gave in and down onto the beach we went for some tennis ball throwing and chasing.

As the tide was a long way out the shipwreck of the Star of Hope was very exposed and we wandered out to take a closer look.

The Star of Hope ran aground in 1883 on her way, laden with cotton, to Liverpool. Fortunately her crew found refuge on the Crosby Lightship. The wreck has remained hidden by the sand banks until just before last Christmas, so we are lucky to have seen her.

We continued our walk back to Ainsdale along the beach, Poppydog chasing the ball and me, enjoying the lowering sun.

A now content and quiet hound!

Two thoughts of the day:

We are heading south on Sunday, to stay in landlocked Hertfordshire for a few weeks, visiting my Dad, brother and friends – we shall miss our beach walks!

Can you believe we have been away for 10 months? It has passed so quickly!

Back to Formby……

A mild, dry and grey day for us today. Didn’t fancy dealing with Friday afternoon traffic, so decided that Blackpool can wait until next week and headed to Formby instead. Parking up at the Formby Road NT carpark we set off into the woods.

This area is so large that you rarely bump into anyone else, you might hear distant conversation or a dog barking but otherwise it’s birdsong and rustling leaves – lovely. Poppydog had a ball, disturbing 3 pheasants, 2 rabbits and a squirrel – it’s a good job that she is no twinkle toes as she charges around the undergrowth as I would hate her to catch something!

After a happy couple of hours amble we returned via the beach.

Love this place!

Two thoughts of the day:

So now we have ‘early Black Friday’ sales – really? Should you wait for actual ‘Black Friday’ in case the deals are better? Fortunately with my simple life I don’t need anything, so it can be any colour it wants!!

Wow, we were out for four hours this afternoon and the site was maybe a quarter full – when we got back they were queuing out the gates to get in and it is now full! I guess the power of Christmas lights switch on, on Sunday?

A wander around Southport…..

A lovely sunny day all day, today. As I had promised, much to Poppydog’s disgust, we took a slow wander around the town of Southport. To be fair, nothing spectacular, but quite a pleasant, old fashioned but reasonably smart town. We started in Victoria Park, home to the famous Southport Flower Show, which actually runs along the back of the site and where we often take our morning stroll. I guess this is quite a feature during the show.

From here we wandered down the main street ‘Lord Street’, a wide avenue full of lovely old shops, set in tall Victorian ornate buildings.

Past the Christmas Tree in the centre of town- how can they call this a tree? Is it cost or are they being green?

Between the old high street and the newer precinct that runs parallel and houses all the more typical high street shops, are a series of little covered arcades.

Towards the end of the main high street is the Cenotaph and memorial gardens.

From here we wandered back down to the lakeside, past the ‘smallest’ pub in Britain, and back in time to watch the sun going down in Victoria Park.

A day off the beaches but a pleasant 4.5 mile walk nonetheless.

Two thoughts of the day:

The Victorian’s certainly knew how to build but were also very fond of open spaces to enjoy.

This site could be the setting for Watership Down – rabbits everywhere! It is driving Poppydog wild!

From Ainsdale Sands to Formby…..

Wet overnight again but dry and mostly cloudy with a little bit of sunshine at the end of the day. Didn’t feel like driving far today, so we popped a couple of miles down the road and parked up at Ainsdale Sands. This is a fabulous area for dog walking as there is a large area of dunes as well as the wide expanse of beach.

For the keen and fit you can pretty much walk from Southport to RAF Altcar along either the beach or through the dunes, which is the best part of 10 miles. We have now completed this but in stages!

After the first part of the beach, which we avoided by going through the dunes, there was no one about so it was ‘off roading’ for Poppydog all the way.

Poppydog’s sense of smell is pretty amazing, I have been using the thrower to lob the tennis ball in amongst the dunes and she comes back with it every time!

A lovely way to spend an afternoon don’t you think? 5.5 miles round trip for me and probably 100.5 miles for Poppydog – result!

Back to site in time for a spectacular sunset.

Two thoughts of the day:

Did a bit more planning for next year – very exciting but a lot of miles to cover and not that many sites!

Sand dunes, grasses, beach, sea and stunning sky – what more could you ask for?

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’