Here in the north west of England we are into day four of a very cold spell. Cold for us, that is. Temperatures have dipped below zero every day since Wednesday, and this freezing weather is set to continue for at least the next week. It’s unusual here to have such a succession of cold days , especially in early December, and English winters have been milder in recent years.
Being off work this week, and knowing that the weather change was imminent, I decided to take full advantage of a chilly but beautifully sunny Tuesday to jump on the train and head to Southport, the nearest coastal resort to my home town, just 33 minutes away along the West Lancashire line.
Arriving in the town I opted for the quickest route to the beach which took me up a side street, busier in the warmer months selling ice creams and confectionery to holiday makers, but eerily quiet in winter, empty and rather forlorn.
Reaching the promenade, I was glad to find it was low tide. I usually check in advance but not today. The golden sand looked inviting and was firm under foot, revealing a scattered sea-bed haul to the winter sun before the dark waves would reclaim it in the moonlight.
The mud flats are precarious along this part of the beach, so walking is limited to the short stretch of sand. That’s fine by me.
I sat and appreciated the views, glad of having the opportunity to be by the sea on such a lovely winter day.
Birds circled and swooped above the sea grasses and the mud pools, on the look-out for rich pickings.
Apart from the birds and the occasional cyclist whizzing past, my quiet little spot was my own for the most part. Zooming in with my camera, I spotted the familiar outline of Blackpool, further up the Lancashire coast, its famous Tower unmistakable and the white-knuckle roller coaster at the edge of the Pleasure Beach.
A friendly dog brought me out of my daydream, happy to be petted and complimented before rejoining his person and running off excitedly in the direction of the Pier. Elevated above the sand, a few folk walked the wooden boards, perhaps heading for the refreshments kiosk at the end that serves hot drinks in all weathers. Perfect.