Monday, August 19, 2013

Southport Holiday

Sandpipers in sunshine

Vitalise Sandpipers

Windvane art

Promenade art

The smallest pub in Britain

A local attraction

For another summer break, we went up to Vitalise Sandpipers in Southport. The drive was not too bad -- A14/M6, finding that it's truly grim up north, as the signs around Birmingham were signing congestion, but it was no busier than the M11 normally is, and we never went much below 50mph. There was a little bit of shockwave around Stafford that brought us to a stop for a few minutes, but it was less stressful than the M25.

Windblown sand

Windblown sand

Sunday I chilled and went for a walk in what was quite a strong wind, blowing sand along the promenade; Monday we went to Ness Gardens, luckily dodging the rain; Tuesday we were less lucky with the weather and went to Walton Hall Gardens in the drizzle.

Ornament and flowers

Ness Gardens

Wednesday had the best forecast for the week, and there wasn't a trip going on, so I took advantage of the flat terrain and the plentiful facilities for cycling locally, and went to the cycle hire place at the Park and Ride I'd spotted on Sunday for a good amble, first up NCR62 until it peters out, and then further on for a loop, before heading back and following the Squirrel and Asparagus routes.

Cycle-friendly Southport

Cycle Friendly Southport

End of the road

Cycle Path gate

Fisherman's Path

Squirrel Route Offroad

View Sefton Cycling Wednesday in a larger map

Thursday we went off by ourselves to Rufford Old Hall as a local NT place

Hall exterior

Rufford Old Hall

and then went pot-luck for lunch, stopping at the first pub with parking that I could see to get to as we approached, the Bull and Dog at Burscough -- and the luck was good, an excellent cumin lamb burger and a chicken curry.

Friday the weather was even better (after heavy overnight rain), and the Southport Flower Show was on -- so Karen went to the Flower Show and I went for another cycle ride. This time I passed a Homebase, so picked up a spanner so I could fine-tune the saddle height for a much more comfortable ride.

View Sefton Cycling Friday in a larger map

Offshore Wind

Offshore Wind near Crosby

And Saturday was back again, with just some shockwave jamming near the M6 Toll. With stops, it's about 6 hours each way taking it easy, though the lunchtime services are better on the way up.

And a surprise 71 miles cycling. I shall have to remember to take proper cycling kit next time (tools, shoes, padded shorts) -- even though the bikes are heavy small wheel Pashleys with just a basket to carry things, and nothing issued in the way of repair kit.

The cycle provision was excellent -- most of the off-road routes marked on the local map that I took are tarmac, and the rest (Hightown end of the coast path, beach-to-beach past Formby and offroad north of Formby through the pines) are like the section of the squirrel route as in the picture above, hard packed and sandy/sandstone, so were mostly dry (I photo'd the very worst) even after heavy rain -- not like the local clay.

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