Saturday, 12 April 2014
This is part of the vast expanse of Morecambe Bay, a huge area of intertidal mudflats and sand, formed by the estuaries of several rivers that flow into it. On the northwest coast of England, just south of the Lake District, it is an important wildlife site with abundant bird life. Traditionally the bay is also harvested for cockles (shellfish). Being so flat, the tide goes out a long way and then rushes in unpredictably (as fast as a horse can gallop, they say). The bay is also full of quicksands and can be a very dangerous place. In 2004, a group of illegal Chinese immigrants, harvesting cockles for a pittance, were cut off by the incoming tide and at least 21 men, women and children drowned. It was a terrible tragedy, very sad. It seemed they didn't understand the dangers and had misjudged the tides.
There has been an official post of 'Queen's Guide to the Sands' for centuries, since the lack of transport and the inaccessibility of the surrounding area meant people used to need to walk across the bay. They had to be guided by someone with intimate local knowledge. Nowadays the guides accompany people walking the bay to raise money for charity.
My photo is taken from the north shore looking southeast. Through the haze you can just see the village of Arnside (see here) across the bay (below the flying geese).