Thursday, October 27, 2005

Windy Lytham

An old boat rusting in the mudflats

For some reason the weather (which I haven't mentioned for a while) went crazy today - sunny all day with temperatures of 21C even in Northern Scotland, setting all kinds of UK records. Apparently the Highlands of Scotland were warmer than most of the Caribbean - albeit a hurricane-lashed Caribbean - which is still fairly impressive. So taking advantage of the evils of climate change, I headed off for a day out somewhere random. Not entirely random, but I got to the train station and had a look at the departure screen to pick somewhere to go. Ironically the first destination on the monitor was Edinburgh - I should have been there today but for a mild problem with finding somewhere to stay until after the weekend. After that came Blackpool North (Blackpool has three railway stations - as far as I know only London has more in the UK)* but of course I was there only the other day. Next up, proving my point, was Blackpool South - but on the way the train was calling at a variety of small coastal towns that sounded a decent bet, so I chanced my arm and hopped on that one.

I got off at Lytham, which together with it's close neighbour St Annes forms another of the old-style resorts on the Lancashire coastline from Southport through to Blackpool, Morecambe and beyond. Once again the memories of childhood days out came back to me - and I'm not that old - but the front at Lytham was exactly as I remember. Maybe the whole of the Lancashire coast is marooned in the bountiful tourist days of the past. Having said that, the combination of a nice day and half-term school holidays meant there were people everywhere. Unfortunately there was also a screeching wind, that fair ripped off the mudflats and over the coastal path. Lytham sits on the Ribble Estuary, the river that flows through Preston, and is at the mercy of the onshore winds that tend to buffet the casual visitor on a regular basis. It was good news for some though, and a couple of hardy kite surfers were out on the narrow channel hurtling along behind lofty crescents of coloured material. Birds were taking advantage too, and I watched as a grey kestrel hung almost motionless in the fierce wind, scanning the reed banks for small animals, before quickening my pace and heading back for the shelter of the station.

*feel free to prove me wrong, enthusiasts...