Saturday, 11 June 2016

Bank Holiday In Fleetwood

Bank Holiday Monday, 30 May 2016. We had gone south of Blackpool to St Annes on the Sunday so today we head north and come to Fleetwood.

We head for a sunny Fleetwood to walk down from the boating lake to the ferry and back. For a change I decided to fit my telephoto lens to the camera and see what I could find to photograph with it. This is Fleetwood Mount, seen over the putting greens.

There's a model boating pond and a second boating lake where dingy sailing used to be taught. When I worked at the Nautical College in 1985-6 they used to use this lake and had an enclosed lifeboat on davits and a couple of large lifeboats on the water, which are still there. I've not seen them in use for a long time, so am not sure if they are still owned by the college or not.

As we got down onto the seafront near the "Lower" lighthouse, one of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's craft was speeding past Wyre Light out in the bay. The telephoto was at 300mm for this and there's quite a bit of heat haze messing up the image I'm afraid. Heat haze off the north west coast - who'd have thought...?

I've pulled back the zoom a bit on this one but even so, if you make out the tiny figures of fishermen on the first spit of land then you'll get an idea of just how far out Wyre Light is.

Dandelions are taking over the beach! They are intent on taking over my lawn too, come to think of it...

Another full zoom, looking across the broad expanse of the estuary and Pilling Sands to Heysham Power Station. The tide recedes two and a half miles here and comes in faster than you can run. The sandbanks are riddled with gullies that fill up even faster as the tide approaches and these can cut you off from land very quickly. Given that there can be over ten metres (32.5 feet) difference between low tide and high tide you can see why Morecambe Bay is one of the UK's most dangerous places to decide to amble out for a stroll...

Knott End ferry landing across the River Wyre. That sandbank is the reason that even when it is covered and looks to be just river, the ferries do a dog-leg manoeuvre to get to the landing!

Flowers. Don't ask, I don't know. They just looked nice! If I was pressed all I could offer would be: pink flowers...

Between the gardens and buildings of the Marine Park and the site where Fleetwood's pier used to be, a path leads down to follow the seafront which heads off at right angles as the River Wyre channel also bends to head out to sea. From the path we get another glimpse of Fleetwood Mount.

Fleetwood Beach Lighthouse. Designed by Decimus Burton and Captain H. M. Denham in 1839. It is partner to the much taller Pharos Lighthouse, a little farther inland. Known locally as the "upper and lower lights", ships coming into Fleetwood up the River Wyre estuary had to keep the lights directly one above the other to know they were safely in the deep water channel.

The squat building to the left, built on stilts over the beach is - or was, I'm not sure if it is still used - a radar training facility, part of what is now the Nautical Campus of Blackpool & The Fylde College.

Having taken the beach path we are now away from road traffic and in an area much favoured by walkers, holiday makers and cyclists. A row of beach huts adds a bit of colour to the scene.

I never got into the beach hut thing. My parents when I was a child would rather sit on the deck chairs on the beach, sometimes with a wind break if it was really rough and would happily force us to eat sandwiches (such an apt name) that were gritty with sand. Well, it did me no harm. Coffee or tea came from a stall on the Promenade and the only concession to the blowing sand was a saucer placed on top of any open jugs of water or milk. The cups just filled up and we tipped them upside down before pouring into them.

A general view of the beach between the Marine Hall and Rossall Point - the weirdly-shaped building in the far distance is Rossall Point Observation Tower. Open to the public it provides a viewpoint over Morecambe Bay. It is a facility of the National Coastwatch Institution.

Pleasure flights and pilot training flights from Blackpool Airport often pass over the town. The telephoto lens picks this one out nicely. I did this myself on my 40th birthday. Of course the plane then was more like Biggles would have been used to in World War One...

Finally we complete our round trip and arrive back at the boating lake and our car.

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