Saturday 16 July 2022


No navigation today

We opted to drive up to Fleetwood today - neither of us had been here before - the only time that Mike had been to Blackpool was for one night in 1964. It turned out to be a bit longer drive than we had expected not helped by several road works - "We are working hard to improve your road" - and a long time behind a pack of committed road cyclists.

Eventually we found our way to the Promenade. Parking was free but at first it seemed as if it was all already occupied but then we spotted the car park at Marine Splash with plenty of room. We could hardly believe it when we saw signs Free Parking!

A well-run cafe was opened here in 2021 by two local people. It seems to aim to offer a range of snacks but doing it well. We enjoyed our coffee especially when they changed Christine's cake as the first slice was rather stale (end of yesterday's cake!) We also noticed that they did paninis, a possible for a late lunch.

We the strolled along the promenade to the main headland at the entrance to Fleetwood harbour. On the distant horizon we could see Barrow-on-Furness, Heysham power station as well as several very large wind farms, all too far away for us to photograph.

Information panels set out the history of the town which was created in 1830s by Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood, a local landowner with the aim of improving life for many ordinary people. he wanted the new town to be great for those living here permanently as well as those making the journey by train from as far afield as London. He commissioned a new hotel - North Euston - to attract those who could afford quality accommodation. It is said that Fleetwood was a holiday destination by train several years before Blackpool.

As the town developed it gained a large ICI chemical works alongside the estuary, its own power station and a substantial fishing fleet. Ferries started, taking passengers and later  vehicles across to Larne in Northern Ireland and to the Isle of Man. Of course much of this has now disappeared and the rail connection was lost in the 1960's. However, a local manufacturer still produces the world famous Fisherman;s Friend lozenges.

It was RNLI day - the lifeboat led a small flotilla of sailing yachts out from the harbour and around the buoys and back into harbour.

We spotted several sculptures and memorials to those whose lives were risked or lost in this area. Welcome Home depicts the feelings of the families relieved when a deep sea fisherman father returns safely - so many did not.

A helicopter crash in Morecambe bay in 2006 took the lives of 7 people involved in servicing gas platforms just offshore.

At the launch site there were various fund raising stalls and an excellent local singing group sang Sea Shanties. reminded us of the Fishermen's Friends group that come from Port Isaac near where we lived in Cornwall.

We walked back to the cafe we visited earlier and ordered a couple of paninis which were accompanied by a good helping of freshly fried chips.

We sat outside in a little patch of shade in the public gardens, reading and following social media as  as well as people watching. There was a good breeze which prevented the temperature rising to an oppressive level as in other parts of the country - although hotter is forecast for the next few days!

It was not easy to stir ourselves when four o'clock arrived but we still had the long drive back. We were pleased to have visited Fleetwood - it felt an unsophisticated but safe and welcoming place where people, families, children and oldies can simply enjoy themselves without spending inordinate amounts of money. We made the return even longer by coming back via Blackpool, following the road along the coastline.

We passed the three piers as well as the Tower and ballroom (of Strictly fame) and finally the Pleasure Beach and its enormous roller coaster. The central area was crowded with endless burger and chips outlets alongside sweets and candy floss. Other attractions sought to fleece customers through all sorts of slot machines. Horse or pony hauled fairy-tale carriages also seemed to be doing good business. It has to be admitted that neither the thrilling rides nor the shops tempted us to stop!

Eventually we were on the way out of town heading towards the motorway and passing Blackpool Airport. Christine found an alternative way back that took us through Burscough so that we could call at the supermarket - we did not fancy the full meal planned but something a little lighter.

No comments:

Post a Comment