Promenade looking over Morecambe Bay
Last day in this mini break which we have both really enjoyed. Such a treat to get away, explore a new area, have perfect weather and find some great cycling. So time for something different. We decided to drive down to the coast and do a loop from Grange-over-Sands, a fashionable seaside resort in the 19th century which still retains its charm today. As Mike said part way through our ride if we had not chosen to move to Conwy, this would have been an area equally as desirable to us on many levels – amenities, coastline, pretty town, gateway to the outdoors. So instead it will remain a holiday destination for the future!
We parked with easy access to the Promenade at the far end of town and enjoyed our ride along it before it became too busy. The views across Morecambe Bay were stunning in the early morning sunshine, lots of spring flowers out in the gardens lining the promenade and the promise of a couple of cafes to choose from when we returned later in the day. From the promenade we walked over a bridge to cross the railway line giving us more photo opportunities before heading inland past the golf course. We headed up a short climb through woodland before dropping back down to the tidal marshland flats and the ever-present sheep. A fair number of other cyclists were out enjoying a good road with minimal traffic. Really enjoyed this cycling, no wind, no traffic, flat, great surface and very different scenery.
Our route then took us in a loop round the Whitbarrow National Nature Reserve, where a large limestone outcrop with a long cliff face off our right shoulder (Whitbarrow Scar) dominated the landscape. We were fortunate to time our ride when the bluebells were at their best in the woodland and the damson trees (for which this area is famous) were in full blossom . A lot of our ride was through mixed woodland. A fun section with short steep ups and downs on winding narrow roads. Glad it was quiet, any cars we came upon were driving very considerately. Stopped just before Pool Bank for our peanut butter sarnie in a glade of bluebells and sat enjoying nature reflecting on how lucky we have been with the weather.
Once we reached the apex of our loop we had a short section on a fairly quiet A road before getting back onto quite country roads heading up to Howe. This was a great cut off as we had expansive views across to the East and the damson trees in this section were very pretty. Mike did suggest it as a good lunch spot but I poo poohed the idea, still feeling full from my earlier sarnie. Changed my mind but Mike was already off and I couldn’t catch him on the downhill section BACK TO THE A ROAD! Oh well it was a blessing in disguise as we soon came upon a good pub at Gilpin Bridge. Unlike yesterday we were able to get a table and Mike had his second beer of the year. We surreptitiously ate our sarnies and enjoyed being in a happy environment with other people, just listening to the overall buzz of conversation around us.
Enjoyable cycle back to Grange over Sands, quite a lot of it retracing our footsteps from this morning. Decided to put the bikes back on the car rack and then take the short walk down to the Promenade for a shared ice cream (very tasty Cherry Swirl) and coffee. Lovely sunny spot in the cafe gardens looking out to Bay and once again just enjoying being around other people.
Very glad that we were able to extend our trip by an extra day, the weather is changing later this week and it was very nice to visit Grange. Would be happy to return here another time. Just to cap our holiday we headed into Ambleside on Monday morning to look for some hiking shoes for Mike. Successful. Also had a great coffee and couple of muffins. Must admit much preferred where we had been staying to Ambleside / Windermere which felt very touristy and busy. Obviously lockdown has had an impact on me to think that small towns are too busy when I used to work in London, Tokyo and New York and enjoyed being in those environments! Maybe the expense account helped?