We had arrived in Morecambe and identified the car parking area that was recommended in Park4night, however, the car park proper, had notices saying that overnight parking was prohibited. The entry in the app had said that the actual area was right at the end, and there was indeed a small area beyond the car park where a camper was ensconced. I enquired of the elderly gentleman occupant whether he was intending to park there overnight and if this area was ok, he informed that he had just spent the day there and the previous night had parked along the esplanade, and intended to do the same tonight as the area in question was actually an emergency access area. We followed his advice and drove further along the sea front and found a nice large space amongst the other campers who were already there. On consulting with Park4night, the reviews were ok, saying that although it is along the road, after about 23.00hrs it is quiet, and sure enough though there was some traffic and parked cars playing music early on, come the stated hour it was indeed quiet, and we passed a surprisingly peaceful night.
We woke to glorious sunshine, and after our morning routines, Mr V went for a little walk whilst I had some private time for my own morning constitutional! He returned, checking the coast was clear and suggested that we move back down to the original car park as the daily rate was extremely reasonable and we could dispose of rubbish etc in the bins there. Once we had cleared up and tidied the van having secured a prime parking spot, Twolula was assembled and we set off for a gentle peddle along the sea front, firstly down to the nearest end and then back past Sam so that we could do end to end.
When we had decided to alight upon Morecambe, it was because there were a number of cycle routes around and we had never been to the area; we were not quite sure what to expect, though thought that like many British seaside towns it would be a little down at heel. There were in truth, some spots that were a little shabby, but we were pleasantly surprised by the seafront area, which was clean and well maintained; the blue skies and warm sunshine did of course show if off at it’s best. Morecambe bay itself is shallow so when the tide goes out it seems to go out for miles, however, when the tide comes in again, it can do so at alarming alacrity, making it perilous. It is quite lovely, as you look out over the bay you are able to see clearly the outline of the high fells of the Lake District, and though I took pictures, they really do not do it justice.
As we peddled along, we took a short detour down the Stone Jetty. This used to be the wharf and rail terminal for passengers and cargo, but now houses public art installations, with the former station/lighthouse serving coffees and tempting snacks.
About half way along the seafront, we sought out the statue of Eric Morcambe, who took his name after the town. It is a delightful piece which brings a smile with it’s whimsy.
Once we had completed our end to end jaunt we headed back to the van, for a cup of tea and some lunch. Today was an easy day and we had some leisurely time to spend before moving on as our next stop of Kendal was only about 45 minutes away. We were visiting a friend, who had not only offered a meal, but also hot showers so Mr V took the opportunity to go for a little run to test out his hamstring which he has been resting for a few days as it has been playing up. Whilst he did that, I packed up all our clothes that could do with a wash and walked to the nearby Morrison’s supermarket which we had been reliably informed had public washing machines. This facility is great for those like us, who are moving around and alternative camping.
Once we had finished the washing we spent a restful afternoon in the sunshine reading/snoozing, though were driven into the van for this as the wind had got up later in the afternoon, we packed up and set off Northward.
We had arranged to call on our friend Julia at around 18.30hrs so set off in time to check out our intended parking spot (BritStop at Kendal Cricket Club) before our supper date. We had not seen Julia for a number of years, since she had moved back up to the area, and had intended to call in on her on route when we peddled up to Orkney a couple of years ago. We had booked into her supper club Heathen Vegan, however, best laid plans and all that meant that we were not able to peddle the Lakes and had let the train take the strain so missed out on our visit to her. This year though she was more than generous, offering the use of her shower as well as feeding us with a delicious supper, and we spent a lovely evening together. This was all the more appreciated when we realised that Heathen Vegan had now grown beyond the supper club (which during lockdown became food delivery) and she was catering for a number of large events, which Covid circumstances had concertinaed into a short window of time, and indeed she was currently in the middle of providing the food for hundreds of endurance runners, and still found the time to entertain us!
We left Julia, who still had to deliver the cyclists’ meals for the next day, and wended our way back to the cricket club, which clearly makes a tidy little sum from allowing campers to stay on their property overnight, as there were about 5-6 others parked up, all of us paying/donating the reasonable sum of £5.
We had arranged to meet up with another dear friend the next day at Brathay Lodge in Ambleside, so set off to arrive before 10.00am. The day was overcast, with not a glimmer of the warm sunshine of yesterday, however there was no wind and the temperature was relatively warm; perfect for the planned paddle on Windermere. It was so lovely to catch up with Paul, who has known us both since before we were even a couple, indeed I used to babysit for his and Susie’s children, the eldest of which is now approaching 40. Tempus really does fugit!
We had secured two canoes together as a raft so that we could paddle side by side and chat. It really is a balm for the soul to paddle out into a calm lake and just talk.
We headed back to the boathouse after a couple of hours and we readied Twolula for a ride along the cycle path that runs beside the lake. Despite the day being misty and grey this was a lovely ride, though a little more off-roady than we had anticipated. We did realise that we had gone a little off course though when we commented that the short section of road on the route, seemed so much longer on the way back, and that we seemed to be making a lot more height. On consultation with the Ranger App we saw we were heading for High Wray rather than the lakeside so had to work out a route back on course.
Once we got back to Ambleside and packed up, we had arranged to see Paul to bid him farewell before we departed and had the lovely surprise of his wife Susie being there too. She had already made arrangements with her cousin who was visiting, but serendipitously for us, these had not worked out as planned so they were both going for a little afternoon paddle with Paul. After bidding all a fond farewell, we were on the road again, noting as we drove through Ambleside that all the guest houses had notices of ‘no vacancies’.
We have stopped for the night in a lovely park in Carlisle, a route peddling along some of the course of Hadrian’s wall planned for tomorrow, as well as picking up the new step from the convenient Amazon locker, which it was necessary to order after Mr V trod too heavily on the last one!