It has been a glorious summer in the UK but here in the north west of England we have seen the first hints of the arrival of autumn. The central heating has been on several times this week as wind and driving rain have brought a significant drop in temperature.
A few weeks ago, under an azure sky, I enjoyed a blissful walk by the estuary of the river Kent in the charming Cumbrian town of Arnside.
I had passed by dozens of times previously when journeying by train northward along the rugged Cumbrian coast line, but I had never before disembarked there. Friends had gushed about Arnside’s beautiful coastal paths which even very humble amblers such as I could enjoy before partaking of afternoon tea with a view over the water. It sounded like my kind of place.
A short walk down from the station brought into view the most prominent local landmark, the Kent Viaduct which was built by the Ulverston and Lancaster Railway in 1857 to carry the railway over the estuary, connecting Barrow-in-Furness to Lancaster. With 50 piers and at 522 yards long, it was a feat of engineering in its day
A grassy area seemed to serve as both car park and picnic spot where sun lovers had set up their deck chairs and were tucking into chippy lunches, the tang of the vinegar lingering temptingly in the salty sea air.
I resolved to resist and walked further along the promenade to see more of Arnside.
It is impossible to see from the window of a train passing over the viaduct the genteel façade of Arnside prom with its classy collection of quirky gift shops, luxury ice cream parlour, two excellent cafes and very interesting restaurant to which I will be returning to sample the impressive vegan options on the ‘east-meets-west’ fusion menu.
I was surprised to find an award-winning 5* bed & breakfast establishment amongst the other handsome private and hospitality residences lining the impressive promenade. Any guest would be delighted to stay in a room with such a view.
At high tide, the sea returns rapidly as elsewhere around Morecambe Bay. A siren is sounded by the coast guard at regular intervals to warn unsuspecting beach-combers of the incoming danger, but I was quite safe to enjoy my stroll along the rocky track, headed in the direction of Silverdale to the south.
The fells of the south Lake District rose in the distance to meet the sky; across the bay, Grange-over-Sands glittered above the water.
My strappy sandals were not the best choice of footwear for the terrain and I decided after a mile or so to head back. Next time I’ll have to wear my trainers so I can explore further.
The old county of Westmorland (now Cumbria) erected 139 cast iron Fingerposts between 1894 and 1905. They were made by Joseph Bowerbank at the Victoria Foundry in Penrith. Of the 30 that are still in existence, one on Arnside beach points the way to Silverdale.
On the walk back, I passed a drinking fountain with a sad story attached.
A memorial to little Richard Moberly Clayton Grosvenor who died in 1903, aged 4, it was commissioned in commemoration by his grandparents. I didn’t fancy imbibing the rather ferrous looking water so decided instead on a pot of tea at the Ramblers Café as I congratulated myself on discovering yet another Cumbrian haven.