Changing trains at Preston, I ride on one of the few remaining branch lines. Once past Kirkman and Wesham, the track diverts from the West Coast main line and the train goes along a single track to Moss Side, Lytham, Fairhaven Lake (Ansdell), Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Blackpool South. Alighting at Lytham, I make my way to the promenade and walk along the shore towards St Annes.
There is always something slightly bleak about estuaries but, looking east, the Ribble Estuary is rather beautiful, and, on a clear day such as this, I can make out the hills that overlook my own small town: Winter Hill and Rivington Pike with their distinctive shapes in the distance.
As I walk past the Easter Monday strollers, I look out over the Estuary cold, grey and clear. A group of people launch a small boat from a short wooden pier. As I move further away from Lytham's central promenade, I see a group of redshanks scuttling up and down the rich silted muddy sand in search of rich pickings.
Reaching the outer edge of Fairhaven Lake, the sun breaks through bringing sudden warmth which cuts through the sharp cool breeze. I stop and sit on a bench and soak it up for some minutes before walking on past the beacon and cutting down to the rough silt and stone path that leads between the sand dunes and the marshy grass to the more seaside oriented St Annes, where I stop for tea and a hot steak sandwich. Unfortunately, enjoying the sunshine sitting on the decking, below which a number of children spin around inside clear plastic globes, I forget to keep my eye on the train times. When I do check, I discover that the next train involves three changes, one of which requires me going back on myself and adding unnecessary time to my journey. Better to catch the next one but what to do with myself meantime? I reluctantly accept that I will need to wait in the busy but rather souless new build pub near the station, when I spot a board directing people's attention to No 10, where fine beers, ciders and wines are to be had.
Number 10 turns out to be a micro brewery bar in a disused shop premises, where a large glass of Shiraz can be purchased for less than a fiver. With an hour an half to fill, I consume two. The clientele are pleasant and the staff friendly without being intrusive. I attract the attention of a lone gentleman, whose gaze I avoid by playing with my phone and reading a book. Still, at my age, I am flattered.
It is nearly time to leave for the station, when a man drives into the bar on a motorcycle. This causes much joviality amongst the regulars, of whom, I assume the biker is one.
'Another glass of wine following that?' says the gentleman.
'Time for my train,' I say putting on my emerald green coat. '
' Where are you travelling to?'
'Horwich Parkway. '
The man frowns, as if this is long way from St Annes.
'Good place to wait for a train,' I say 'Better than the place by the station.'
'Make sure you put us on Facebook,' shouts a man sitting across the way.
'I already have and on Twitter. ' It's not everyday a man on a vintage motor bike drives into a bar.
On the train, bouyed and made mellow by the wine, I listen to Stornoway on my headphones, my walk by the sea having blown away the cobwebs.
Stornoway - Get Low
Related post. Arnside 2007