Waiting for the first ferry of the morning from Fleetwood to Knott End on Sea I spent half an hour chatting to one of the crew; he explained that there is an astounding 30 foot difference in water level between high and low tides, and that we were now waiting for the incoming tide to float the ferry free of the sandbank it had come to rest on during the last low tide. At Fleetwood the flat endless sands of Morecambe Bay pile themselves up into high hump backed dunes in mid channel and give the alarming impression that the rising tide might drive them forwards to smother the little ferry as it plies back and forth across the narrow mouth of the River Wyre. Before we could disembark at Knott End the crew had to use a high velocity hose to blast off the thick covering of sand which remained on the landing slip after the previous tidal inundation.
Walking on from Knott End the coastal landscape changed imperceptibly from sand to water meadow to mudflats; from ochre to green to brown; from seashore to estuary to riverine. Dark clouds massed over Lancaster like some portent of doom. Eventually I reached Sunderland Point, rocky and lonely, which gave massive views of huge skies and towering cloudscapes. In two days walking I only met one other person: the skies had darkened again and the wind had risen; we talked for a while as best we could over the sound of the gale; with a wry smile he observed “it’s not very June the 18th, is it?”. Then we parted, buffeted by the wind, walking away in opposite directions along the same path. The view to the north changed too, as the ghostly outlines of Lakeland hills and fells appeared like a rolling massif in the mist.
I carried on through Heysham to Morecambe, and from there to the extremity of Lancashire and into Cumbria. Immediately north of Carnforth one crosses a frontier; still nominally Lancashire it is suddenly apparent that the world has changed: the flatlands are replaced by flurries of little hills, wooden fences give way to drystone walls, groups of single trees coalesce into woods, and sometimes on hilltops and pathways the soil is worn away to reveal expanses of rock. A line has been crossed, still in Lancashire the Lake District has begun.
© Nick Creagh-Osborne and manwalkstheworld.com 2015.