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Friday, 9 December 2016

Wyre Way in sections - 7

Wednesday 7th December '16

Fifty yards after parking at Fleetwood we found ourselves bent into wind and rain looking forlornly into distance down the diminishing vanishing points of the promenade, glistening with surface water and portentously deserted - not a soul to be seen anywhere. That last point causes one to wonder if one is embarked on folly.

But, I had the advantage of being with the ever optimistic BC with good cheer and new anecdotes about his recent trip to Austria and then pioneering an apparently non existent finish to the GR 131 accross theTenerife section of this GR which traverses the various Canary islands.

Within quarter of an hour the rain had stopped, but visibility was poor, and then the promenade was barred by active flood defence work. A drop off the wall onto the beach would have been suicidal and the wall on the landward side was too high to climb. We retraced our steps to find a ladder-stile over the landward wall where it would have been helpful to have a diversion sign.

Rossall public school  appeared, silent and gloomy - Bradford Grammar was not so good but it was better than going to boarding school.

Further down the western promenade we cut back east across the celebrated Blackpool/Fleetwood tramway to pick up a riverside footpath, now down the western banks of the Wyre. The tide was half out revealing mud flats glistening in the now improved sunlight, squirming and snaking like Barbara Hepworth sculptures.

Soon the path was bordered by large diameter pipes emanating from the ICI works. There was no indication what might be flowing through, but the vegetation around still seemed to be in natural colours.

As one who has had a fair go at DIY plumbing wrestling with15mm copper which tries to take its own path rather than the one you have planned, I was awestruck with the vast scale and multitude of intricate structures of  exposed pipework with many variations of diameter and connections. How on earth does something like that come into being, and is there any one person who has a global knowledge of how it all goes together and works?

At Stanah there were ramshackle jetties thrown together with random posts and stakes of wood in higgledy piggledy fashion in marked contrast to the regimentation of the ICI piping. These jetties provided moorings for mostly sorry looking boats which one would guess had long since taken their last trip to sea.

By now the skies had cleared, the sun was shining but as we approach the shortest day light soon fades, but that provided us with atmospheric views back to the Shard Bridge which we had crossed to finish the Wyre Way and a ride back to Fleetwood in BC's car.

BC photos fisherman's family anxiously awaiting his return. I don't think there is any fishing still operating out of Fleetwood

The deserted promenade - for the brave only, or the stupid in this inclement weather

Fleetwood lookout station - briefly from the website :

Wyre Borough Council acquired funds from the EU, and from local business champion, Doreen Lofthouse, of 
Fishermans Friend Fame, to develop the sea front at Fleetwood, including the Marine Hall and Gardens and Rossall Tower. Work started at the Marine Hall in early 2011. Work started on Rossall Tower in December, 2011.

This guy was blowing in the wind waving his arms acting like a drunken sailor much to BC's and my amusement

The Blackpool/Fleetwood tramway

Back to Fleetwood (left) and Knott End (right). click to enlarge to see the red ferry crossing


Anybody know a good plumber?

Close up of one of the oversize pylons carrying electricity across the Wyre.

I thought the OS maps depicted pylons at their exact location, but the map shows one in the middle of the river which is not there - I intend to check my possibly incorrect assumption when I am out and about again

See next photo...

Atmospheric end to a  more than usually interesting walk.
Both of us were somewhat dismissive about this  debatably odd extension to the Wyre Way but it certainly proved to be worthwhile.


Anonymous said...

That looks a good trip out with lots of interest, wish I'd been there.

Roderick Robinson said...

You made a couple of references to ICI and these awakened dim memories of the business pages. I checked with Google and, yes, despite being Britain's largest manufacturer and despite the prominence of its ex-executive (do you remember Sir John Harvey-Jones on telly telling Morgan, the car company, it was time they retired their tin snips) it became defunct in 2009, acquired by the Dutch company AkzoNobel and scattered to the four winds. Whereas Morgan with its two-year waiting list for new cars is still in operation.

Not that I'm suggesting you confine your rambles to urban areas (Actually, that's not true; I have in the past done just that. But not recently.) but this walk does help make a point. This post is packed full of factual observations, cultural references (Barbara Hepworth, forsooth), new opinions, new speculations, new types of photographs and previously unused adjectives; you've obviously reacted to what you have seen. Whereas yet another passage through rural prettiness and it's hard to say anything new. Confirming the view of various travel writers that adversity and ugliness are to be embraced with relish, whereas the most enjoyable walks are not necessarily rich in good copy. Unless you become a poet, perhaps.

Which is a good way of losing friends.

Sir Hugh said...

BC - that must have been a ghost I was walking wit, but good company anyway.

RR - For a long time i have shied away from descriptive boring step by step descriptions and/or purple passages, but as you say there was more ammunition here and I was conscious of creating a whole new approach. The difficulty, as you suggest is maintaining that concept for walks that do not provide "blogger's gifts" but I feel I have found a different framework which may help in future.

Phreerunner said...

Hi Conrad
I've caught up again - the evening has flown past. Thanks for your Leyburn comments, and I've enjoyed catching up with your bagging exploits and some historical stuff that has me (inter alia) rummaging for old photos of Cow Green.
Interesting Skoda comments. I'm finding Sue's latest Fabia much harder to drive than my 9 year old Polo, which quite happily potters along in 5th gear at anything over 20mph and seems to survive with occasional oil changes, new wipers, and a cam belt a couple of years ago. I think I'll just hang on to's the longest I've ever had a car, by far.
Sounds like the Wyre Way is suitable as a summer walk in dry weather when the cloud is low enough to discourage hill bagging. I enjoyed the 'Breath of Fresh Air' route in conditions like that.

Sir Hugh said...

Phreerunner - You have my appreciation for ploughing through all that lot in one go. I looked back at your "Breath of Fresh Air."

Quite a walk in proximity to my Wyre Way, all familiar territory for me, and you, presumably, home in time to cook for Sue, or were you?

I wondered what I was up to and looked back - I had seen the surgeon Mr. Patel about arthroscopies etc (that was before the eventual knee replacement) and had been heartened by his encouragement for my walking so I was off into the hills on the Sunday prior to your Monday walk:

"Yesterday, on account of a brilliant Saturday forecast I shunned the overcrowded Lake District and headed for the Bowland Hills. Walking commenced at 11:00am (SD 544 617), and finished at 6:00pm after the round of Grit Fell and Ward’s Stone returning via Salter Fell.

Mr Patel had banished my negative thoughts - this was a round of 17.3 miles with 2801 ft of ascent. Although the knee niggles it is not enough to spoil the pleasure of a grand walk in remote surroundings. The peat was dry, and a pleasure to walk on and my feet were not wet even though I was only wearing approach shoes.

I felt fit and strong arriving at the finish by no means exhausted."

gimmer said...

Industrial plumbing - nowadays there will be a computer based 3D iteration of the system with myriads of sensors providing feedback for automatic process control - rather more than a big combi boiler, perhaps.
I think this plant makes fluorochemicals and is now owned by a Japanese company - no surprises -
I endorse RR's view of the causes of the demise of ICI and the British-owned chemical industry - a cosy complacency, arrogance, pusillanimity and, crucially, a post-imperial sense of entitlement - fuelled by failure of 'the City' to invest in industry for the long term - compared with Germany, Japan etc etc.
It brings to mind a dinner I went to at my old college in 1987 - even then, the senior scholar sitting next to me, who had just gained a 1st in Chemistry, shocked me when I asked what he was going to do next: 'become a merchant banker' - already, unqualified, going to a job with a wage twice that offered by the chemical industry. I hope he used his science to give insight into investment decisions , but I doubt it - the degree course would hardly have galvanised him with a passion for industry and its needs.
I too enjoy visiting sites of former industry - modern plant is rather dull to the casual observer as it is impossible to know what is happening inside all those pipes and reactors , even if one could get near: even in quite early childhood, I was much more interested in the old mine workings of the Pennines and Lakes hills than actually slogging up some shapeless endless 'are we at the top yet?' slope ! Inborn idleness may have played a part in this, of course.