TO MORECAMBE FOR MANORLAND
The annual walk across Morecambe Bay organised by Shipley Support Group for Manorlands Hospice will take place this year on Sunday, September 3rd . The expedition will leave Arnside at 12.30pm and cross the Bay, under the expert leadership of Queen's Guide Cedric Robinson, to Kent's Bank.
To encourage Sentinel readers to take part, we asked our own experienced walker Roger Clarke to tell us about his own experience of crossing the bay the hard way.
You don't have to climb a mountain to experience the thrill of doing something out of the ordinary which leaves you with a real sense of achievement. It's a walk of 8 to 9 miles, which normally takes from 3 to 3 ½ hours. Our large group was spread out across the sands at the start. If we'd gone across in single file we'd soon sink! We all had our eyes fixed on Cedric, who led us on a meandering route across the sands, testing the firmness of the ground with his stick, avoiding the many patches of quicksand, and leaving laurel branch markers for the group to follow. No-one even thought of going in front of him! The water gradually deepened as we crossed minor channels cut in the sand, but the main event was to cross the channel of the River Kent, which is the depest part of the route. At this point the water is thigh deep (I'm 5 foot 8 inches tall), and you can certainly feel the tug of the current on your legs. It doesn't take long to cross, and everyone looked after everyone else, offering support when needed. When the shallower water was reached, all that remained was the walk to Hest Bank across the sand and mud flats. For anyone who tired and wanted to abandon the attempt, Cedric had organised a tractor and trailer to drive out onto the sands.
When you are out in the middle of the Bay, its vastness is the thing which impresses the most.
My hints about clothing include wearing a pair of old trainers, with socks if you're worried about blisters, or walk barefoot. (Trainers will be very muddy by the end of the walk.) Boots and wellingtons are not advisable. Wear shorts or swimming costume under a short skirt. Do not try to cross in jeans which become heavy when wet. Long trousers in a light cotton or man-made material would be fine. I found shorts were best. Depending on the time of year, wear layers of clothing and have a windproof layer. If it's cold, wear a hat. Use plenty of sun cream because there's no shade out there. Take some food and drink. Think about what you will need at the end. Have a change of clothes in the car; and some more food unless you hope to find a cafe or pub. People of all ages complete the walk, and there were children and over 60s on mine. Children under 6 are not recommended to try it, but anyone else with a reasonable level of fitness should be fine. There were a couple of dogs along too. You just have to think about how they will manage the Kent Channel.
Anyone interested in taking part, please contact Amy Booth, T. 01535 273979
Peter Chamberlain, T. 01274 583769.
Last year's event raised £3000 for the Sue Ryder hospice at Oxenhope.