Reflections of riding the Irish Sea Cycle Route.
From Preston Dock, I head north leaving behind the town with its post-industrial landscape. I cross the Fylde, an area bound by the Rivers Ribble, to the south and Lune to the north, on rural lanes through Catforth to St Michaels on Wyre then Stake Pool. It’s here I sense the proximity of the Lune Estuary. These are pleasant lanes without any significant climbing, past Conder Green I take a single track lane through Aldcliffe and slip into the City of Lancaster, almost by a back door.
The Millenium Bridge is a modern pedestrian crossing over the Lune that leads to the A6 road north. Relief from the traffic comes through Hest Bank before the final approach to Carnforth. A coastal road skirts Carnforth, it’s almost a short-cut into the Arnside and Silverdale region. This designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) smothers the Lancashire-Cumbria border, our entry near Carnforth is Lancashire but our exit via Arnside is Cumbria, or Westmorland as some will remember.
There’s a change in the topography, rocky limestone features are abundant in the landscape, the local hills are bigger as the lanes wind through the landscape ‘kissing’ the coastline at every opportunity.
The Irish Sea Cycle Route passes through Arnside
From Arnside to Grange, keep an eye on the tide, a spring-tide with a following south-westerly may create a tidal-bore, about one and a half hours before high water. The Morecambe Bay Bore is an interesting, natural phenomena gifted by certain astronomical and climatic conditions. On a spring-tide, a single wave washes across the bay, its unfaltering progress sustained by the geometry of the bay. Wading birds flock inland while the progress of the bore wave is accompanied by a rushing noise that can be heard on the shore. Under the railway viaduct at Arnside are standing waves over a metre high as the water rushes through the narrow gap between the viaduct structures. It’s quite a spectacle.
Station Road, Arnside
Sandside and the Kent Estuary
On leaving Arnside village, the route follows the Kent Estuary crossing at Levens Bridge. In Levens village, the ISCR joins National Route 70 making a distinct turn west beneath Whitbarrow before heading for Grange Over Sands. I follow the road around the peninsula to Cark before heading north to Haverthwaite where I enjoy views into the southern reaches of the Lake District. The rock has changed, the limestone has given way to slate that forms the Coniston Fells, the route is now hillier but just as desirable.
River Leven, Haverthwaite
Quiet lanes lead to Bouth then Penny Bridge before a final climb and descent into Ulverston.
Places of Interest along the way
Lancaster Leighton Moss Rspb Reserve Arnside Levens Hall Cartmel Priory Steam Railway, Haverthwaite Ulverston