Lancashire and Cumbria coast

Southport at midwinter



The sea: mighty, powerful, deep, dark, mysterious, salty, soothing, calm, as old as the world. I always feel as though I am taken in by its great gravitational pull. It seems to call out to me and I love to answer that call and be in it or near to it. I lose track of time when I sit on a seaweed- covered rock and become absorbed into the rhythm of the rolling waves and watch the majestic sea birds soar and swoop above the foam and into the rock pools. The hypnotic horizon where the sun sets into the depths tantalises the imagination with suggestions of mysteries beyond.

Southport, whilst not the greatest or most inspiring of coastal locations, is the nearest seaside resort to my home and I go there from time to time. I have very early childhood memories of playing on the beach with family and friends, the great expanse of sand seemingly endless. The sea never seemed to make an appearance on Southport beach and as a teenager I had come to believe it was an urban myth. My passion is for the water; I want to paddle in it and feel the waves lap around my legs. Southport never seemed to suggest more than the possibility of it, by way of marine offerings strewn across the damp sand: slimy seaweed; shiny shells, flotsam and jetsam deposited by the always absent waves. Over the years I lost patience and interest and for a long time I stayed away. However, I have learned that taking the trouble to consult tidal timetables produces wondrous results: the urban myth has been dispelled……..the sea, in all its glory, DOES grace Southport sands with its presence.


Southport seemed to lose interest in itself for a while, slipping into decline throughout the 1980s, ’90s and the early part of this century. The fairground closed and lurid yellow safety boards were, at one point, the brightest things to be seen along the front.

The town’s few shopping streets had always retained their elegance and been amongst its attractions, seemingly operating under a pulling power unconnected to the phases of the moon. Southport has always had a reputation for refinement and though this brooch of honour has slipped a little way down the town’s tailored lapel since its Victorian heyday, everybody knows that Southport has standards. Famously the one-time home of one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s descendants, who sojourned on Lord Street, it has always maintained a bourgeois air. Home to millionaire footballers and other celebrities, Southport and surrounding areas have status. Royal Birkdale, a short and pleasant trek along the sand dunes, is home to one of Britain’s most prestigious golfing tournaments.

The town holds its own amongst the better known and commercially more popular Irish Sea coast holiday resorts. A popular retirement destination and general desirable place of residence, this little town is synonymous with quality and class. It is commerce more than sandcastles which has kept Southport on the holiday map; it has succeeded where places such as Morecambe have declined. Massive investment in the promenade has injected new energy into Southport as a place to take a holiday, and it is now, happily, back on track.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It seemed fitting that on a grey afternoon at the end of the year I should visit the sea and contemplate the ebb and flow whilst considering what 2017 had brought and taken away.


Beyond the twinkling festive lights of Lord Street and the garish electric luminosity of the side-street amusement arcades and candyfloss kiosks, the lonely promenade was almost deserted. The heavens opened as I crossed the road in front of Silcock’s Funland, its flashing lights surreal in the winter gloom.

The heavens opened, sending down a sheets of rain, bouncing off the wooden board walk of the pier, adding to the strange atmosphere. As a moment in time it was quite beautiful.


The sunset could just about be seen behind the smoky grey clouds to the west, as millions of raindrops fell into the sea, adding to its vastness.


8 thoughts on “Southport at midwinter”

  1. It has been years since I have visited Southport. Hopefully 2018 will rectify that. This year I have got to the coast in Lancashire. Morecambe and also Cleveleys. Heres to more coastal days out soon!

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    1. The sea front a Cleveleys is lovely now that the improvements have been made, but again – it’s always very crowded. I’ve written a blog on one of my visits there ‘Fylde Coast Sea Magic’. Morecambe is also much nicer now than it was years ago – there is a kite festival there, some time in July, I think, I took photos when I visited but didn’t write anything….I feel a blog coming on, so thanks for the inspiration, Shazza :). Your little family members would probably enjoy a visit on ‘Kite’ day; they could even join in. My favourite Irish sea coastal spot by far is Heysham, at Half Moon Bay. There is a small stretch of ‘traditional’ beach which is quiet and peaceful and wonderful walks along the cliff tops near to the Viking barrow graves. The National Trust looks after it and the village is gorgeous. I have written a blog about it: ‘Heysham and St Patrick’s Chapel’. It’s a 10 minute bus ride outside Morecambe.


      1. Amanda great minds think alike. We have also visited Heysham and Half Moon bay this year. I totally forgot! Blogged about that too. I also like Lytham and st Annes, if you have been there? Looking at your posts I can see we go to lots of the same places. I live in Clitheroe, if you have heard of it. X

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      2. Yes, I have been to Lytham a few times and St Anne’s too, though I think the last time I went to either was about four or five years ago. I have loads of photographs of Lytham, but like to write about fresh(ish) experiences, so would probably go again before writing a blog. I went to Clitheroe a couple of times last year and had a look around the Castle, which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the photographs! I will definitely be returning at some point in 2018. The only other time I have visited the town was when I briefly stopped at the interchange on route to Sawley Abbey a couple of years ago.

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      3. Fab. I hope you get to do a Clitheroe post in 2018. The fact that I live here has probaby stopped me writing a post about Clitheroe though I have written about places to eat here and the Castle.

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