Just for a change I thought that tonight I would do a more varying-in-terrain type of walk, one that would feature a bit of pavement, a bit of road, some grass and anything else that I happened to stumble over. So I headed over to the north west side of Southport – to one of my favourite places, Marshside.
I headed off up and along Queens Road and Preston New Road – calling in as usual at the Churchtown Spar for a bottle of their delicious Red Apple flavoured water (it’s really good!) and then turned left onto Marshside Road where I would be for the best part of another mile.
I had for some time wanted to walk up to the sand dunes on the northern side of Southport’s Coast Road comically referring to them as The Two Peaks…a little later on I was to discover that there are actually “Three Peaks” – you can imagine my joy given my two-year obsession with Yorkshire’s “Three Peaks”. Carefully crossing what is more or less an A-road I soon headed up the first (Southern) peak and was delighted to discover a trail leading to its’ tiny summit. Not only that but there was actual soil, earth, mud and grass constituting the path – this really did qualify this as a bonafide peak for me and not just a sand dune! Having spent a moment or two atop this smallest of all hills and taking some distant pictures on my camera-phone I then carefully descended the southern peak (go on call it a dune and break my heart!) at headed a hundred or so yards off to the northern peak (dune)!
This next little adventure was an altogether different type of challenge as this little summit (which I have dubbed “Sandy-Helvellyn” owing to is ridge!) is much more like a true sand dune than an hill. This little summit did afford even better views of just about everywhere than did the first dune (damn, I said it!) but the going was …going in all directions with every footstep! Getting down was reminiscent of running down the dunes at Presthaven Sands when I was a child (summer after summer, after summer…) with the added caution that age should impart upon us…the jury is still out on if I have more than my fair share or less!
Finally (for the expedition across these three micro mounds) I headed off to ascend the last peak which from a distance reminded me so much of dear old Pendle that I have now dubbed it “Sandy-Pendle”. The going underfoot was really rough with all sorts of marine weeds and builders debris scattered around the base of the mound. This forced me to take no shortcuts up the side and instead joined the tiny path up the dune (dammit I said that again) at its’ point of origin.
I probably spent in the region of half an hour ascending and descending these little summits. The good news for me was that I didn’t fall over on any of them – something of a rarity for me (although Sandy-Helvellyn was not easy to get off and remain in the vertical plane!).
I crossed back over the Coastal Road which didn’t seem anywhere near as busy as previous visits had been and spent a moment looking through one of the “Hides” across the marshes and taking bad photographs.
Next I retraced my steps somewhat to set off on something else that I had hoped to do for quite a while – the Southern section of the Marshside Trail. This meant again bidding farewell to the pavement (and in Southport, no matter where I am, that’s always a good thing!) in order to walk for roughly 3/4 of a mile across a green but sometimes sandy path leading through one of Southport’s municipal golf courses (I think!). Here, delightful views of the immediate vicinity were afforded to me as I marched past a lake, a number of Mallards and a pair of Llamas that were not close enough for me to A: distinguish them from Alpacas and B: get a decent photo of them.
This short stretch of the walk was as peaceful as I could never have imagined (forgive my sentance structure there!), the light was holding up quite well and the sky was a lovely shade of…sky blue! I had entered the trail not knowing quite where it would terminate although common sense dictated that it would run into Hesketh Road sooner or later. It was almost with regret that I culminated this section when the afore mentioned Hesketh Road appeared in front of me. Here I turned left (as is my way!) to begin the longer walk along Hesketh Road, over Queens Road and onto my second Hesketh of the night – Hesketh Drive. Readers of old will recall that Hesketh Drive is a road that I find myself traversing many times as it is part of a short and simple two miles practice walk that I take roughly every week.
At the junction of Hesketh Drive and the delightfully named Roe Lane I turned right and slowly meandered up and down a gentle gradient before reaching Leyland Road and heading for home after an enjoyable two and a quarter hours’ worth of walking and exploring…albeit on a semi-rural scale. For the future I must schedule in a crossing of the Northern Marshside Trail! 🙂
View 2nd of June Marshside walk in a larger map