Thursday, 3 May 2012

Thursday Tour - today is A for Arnside.

As promised, following my ‘tour’ of the Lake District during the April A-Z blogging challenge, I’m extending the tour to cover other interesting places in North West England. It’ll be another A-Z tour, but with a new one each week, rather than each day! So hope you’ll join me on my ‘Thursday Tour’ of this part of England.

We start today at Arnside, a small seaside village in South Cumbria, where the wide estuary of the River Kent enters Morecambe Bay. From the promenade, with its small shops, you can look across the bay to the Lakeland hills.

When I was a child, we had several holidays at a guest house at Arnside. It operated on a ‘house-party’ basis, with a ‘host’ who arranged social activities during the day and informal entertainment in the evening. Often the same people came each year, and so we renewed friendships each summer. One summer, my parents acted as hosts for the week, and I felt very important when they let me give out quiz sheets, or when I was given a part to play in an evening concert.

I used to love playing on the beach and paddling, buying ice-cream at one of the small shops on the seafront, and watching the fishermen on the small stone pier.
It was exciting, too, to watch the steam trains (this was in the 1950’s) going along the stone viaduct across the Kent estuary. The viaduct, built in 1857, is over 500 yards long and has 51 arches. The trains always travelled slowly as there used to be a 30 mile per hour speed limit on the viaduct because of the danger of wind tunnels into the river valley.   

We used to go for guided walks during the day, often in the woods on Arnside Knott, a 520ft flat-topped wooded hill which overlooked the village. If the weather was clear, the view was fantastic.

One walk also took us to the ‘Fairy Steps’ where legend says that if you can get up or down the steps without touching the sides, the fairies will grant your wish. As the steps are so narrow at the top, I doubt the fairies have to grant very many wishes!

The tide comes in very fast from the bay into the river, and sirens go off before high tide each day. Sometimes, if there was a very high tide, especially in spring, we saw a spectacular tidal bore coming up the river.


  1. Oh wow!! A to Z again--thankfully not everyday...still a lot to share with us I'm sure. Arnside-- I would love to see the high tide come in there!! I'm such a water person!

    Cheers, Jenn

  2. The tidal bore is quite spectacular sometimes, Jenn - evidently it can travel at about 10 mph and is sometimes about 3 ft high.

  3. Another must see on my are really making me want to come to England. The flight is miserable though. Maybe a nice cruise? Hummmm

  4. Jo, the flight is boring, but it's worth it! I quite fancy a lesiurely trans-Atlantic cruise though :-D

  5. Another must see on my are really making me want to come to England. The flight is miserable though. Maybe a nice cruise? Hummmm ♥