Thursday 8th February 2023
A beautiful blue sky day today, even though we’re still in the midst of a cold spell which today provided us with a chill wind … and it turns out we were walking headlong into it the whole route.
We managed to park up in the village of Freckleton, which seemed to be the appropriate place to pick up the coastal path to lead us to Blackpool. It was a beautiful place … and bonus, there was free parking in the car park! There was, however, a complete lack of coastal path signs plus we were struggling to get a proper signal on our trusty Ordnance Survey app. So, we had to rely on Steve’s built-in ‘I think it might be this way’ system and choose a direction. Luckily it was bang on and we reached the estuary path pretty soon … but it was at least another mile before we saw any ‘Coast Path’ signs … and we always doubt ourselves until we do.
Despite little rain over the last few days, we found ourselves slipping and sliding in mud once again, along the lanes and across the farm fields, particularly near the gates and stiles. But this was nothing compared to the marshland that the path led us to after a couple of miles. The path was literally at the side of the estuary and was extremely wet and swampy for most of the two mile stretch. Scenically it was stunning but walking through it took great effort. Every time you put your foot down you had no idea how far it would sink in. It was a mud bath.
Some thoughtful people had provided balancing props in the worst spots – logs, boulders, planks, stones and even tyres. It’s weird though – Steve can seem to balance on a twig but, if I have to hop along a series of logs or stones, my brain just doesn’t seem to engage and it all turns into one big wobble. Think it might be psychological. Suffice to say it was an extremely messy exercise … and exhausting.
We hit a pretty stretch of woodland path after the marshy nightmare and, as we enjoyed the ease of walking, we met an elderly chap who was out on a jog. He had to be in his 70s if not 80s and he still had a great spring in his step. He was dressed from head to toe in black – wearing those elasticated black plimsolls that we used to wear in primary school. He was delighted to meet us and stood for 15 minutes animatedly chatting about the history of the area. He said he has run this route every day for the last 40 years! His family used to own land and property on this stretch but during WWII it was deemed necessary for an American Air Base to be built here … and all the properties were knocked down and families relocated. The airbase is still there today – now operated by BAE systems. He was so interesting and sweet … I could have listened to his stories all day.
And after this, the path eventually turned onto a sea defence wall – normally I dislike these as they seem endless … today I absolutely loved that wall.
And huge relief when we reached Lytham and walked our way to the promenade and the beautiful vision of the sea We sat, soaking in the views, enjoying a well-earned rest as we tucked into lunch. It was certainly a busy spot for walkers – we had moved from one extreme to the other. I naturally greet people as they walk by but one lady, walking with her partner, looked at me in horror as I said hello, as if to say “how dare you speak to me!” I was a bit put out but we just giggled … and then it dawned on me that perhaps she thought we were tramps – mud caked boots and trousers, windswept, little woolly hats on, huddled on a bench devouring our sandwiches … we’ll never know. BUT, we did take great delight as we energetically strolled past them about 10 minutes later …. we’ll never know!!
The walk from Lytham to Blackpool was a fair old stretch I have to say, even though it was easy promenade. I think the first 5 miles of muddiness had taken a toll on the legs, so the last few miles of what turned out to be a 12 and a half mile walk brought on the odd grumble or two! It was delightful to see the Starr Gate tram as we reached our destination …. then all we had to do was jump on a bus and get back to our car.
And then get home to wash all the mud off …. and look respectable again!
The joys of rambling!!