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President’s Blog 6th August 2020

President’s Blog 6th August 2020
August 6, 2020 Hilary Evans

‘Not many people choose to holiday in Lancashire’, I was told by a few people. Maybe not, but there are some interesting sites, and sights. We stayed in a very rural area not too far from Lancaster, and had several exploratory walks to the coast at Cockerham, and across fields to find the canal. The path for this one was not well marked, a stile was broken and unpassable, alongside it unfriendly fencing. So, we skirted the edge of the field to be within sight of the canal, only to find that the bridge across to reach the canal path was completely overgrown with nettles and brambles. We braved a field of cows after calling across to a couple on the canal path to find how far to the next bridge. This one was passable, and by breathing in we squeezed between two tall stones forming a local kind of stile and found the path. We had set out for a short ‘stroll’, having had a long walk earlier in the day, but ended up having a considerably longer and more challenging adventure. This area is largely flat and sustains a good many farms.

Not very far away however lies the Trough of Bowland where the hills rise to around 1500 feet above sea level. From around 1000 feet there are viewing places where one can see for miles. Blackpool Tower was on the horizon in the far distance. The road then undulated, dipping and weaving its mainly narrow way through the valleys and hills. It had been a while since I had driven roads like these, and I did enjoy it, teetering close to the edge at times where the road disappeared down a slope with a stream running alongside, as cars came in the opposite direction. The scenery was stunning in many places, rivalling many better know beauty spots. In fact I’m slightly hesitant to share about it, to keep it from becoming spoiled. Serious walkers can climb up and across the hills, as no roads exist there to accommodate vehicles.

I loved the local stone used for many of the buildings. Some had been there for several generations providing warmth and shelter, exuding a feeling of security, solidity and steadfastness. I wondered about the people who had built and worked in the mills of the past, who work the land and tend the animals now. We ventured into Cumbria, to Kirby Lonsdale, where the stone houses were a different, but very attractive, colour. I was fascinated by the range of homes just behind the main street in the back lanes. Some had obviously been adapted from businesses of an earlier era, the whole reminding me of the atmosphere in small French towns. We walked around the town taking in the views of nearby hills, glimpsed between some rows of houses, or opening out from higher up, above the winding river.

It was lovely to have a change of scene, to have time to appreciate the flat marshy coastline, the expanse of Morecambe Bay, the variety of hills and intimate valleys. A few days of refreshment.