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 : http://www.ncirossallpoint.co.uk/the-tower/
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?|
|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.