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Finally! The pair of us escaped the confines of the house and the Calder Valley on a day when we were blessed with glorious sunshine – although that did dictate where we ended up. Originally, we’d planned to drive over to the East coast and visit Robin Hood’s bay in North Yorkshire as Dawn was keen for some fresh sea air, but on checking the forecast this morning we found the area was covered in cloud which led to a rethink. The Met Office website showed parts of the West coast were graced with clear blue skies so we changed our plans at the last minute and headed to somewhere I’ve not visited for Donkey’s years – Formby Point between Liverpool and Southport.

Despite the round trip involving a triumvirate of motorways (M62, M57 and M6) it wasn’t a bad journey as traffic was mercifully light which meant we arrived at the National Trust car-park at Formby point just in time for high-tide which left a narrow strip of sand available to walk along if you didn’t fancy the strenuous trudge up and down the sandhills. With the wind whipping up muddy waves and ships slipping out of the Mersey estuary past wind turbines it was quite a sight.

Try as I might by flicking through various websites and lists I can’t identify this ship leaving the Mersey today…

Walking Northwards we headed up the beach as far as Freshfield, which is famous for its pinewoods which are a refuge for the Red Squirrel. Last time I was here the woods were full of the critters but they’ve suffered from the devastating impact of the squirrel pox virus. An outbreak in 2008 saw 80% of the population wiped out. Apparently, the population has now increased to almost 90% of the pre-pox numbers but the little buggers must have been having a day off today as we didn’t see a single one – which means I’m having to use an old picture I took on my last visit in 1994 to show you what you *could* see…

By the time we got fought our way up and down the sandhills back to the beach the tide had receded at a pace. The beach is shallow so it doesn’t take long for large patches of sand to be exposed – as you can see from this picture.

The pair of us really enjoyed being back at the seaside, getting the cobwebs blown away. Lovely as it is living up in the Pennines there’s something about beaches – even when they’re bloody freezing!

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