Today’s big surprise: the sun is shining! The wind is still blowing a gale off the sea but at least the rain has gone for now. We hurried over breakfast and made it to the station in time for the 8:29 York train which will take us to Preston, the inevitable nexus from which most of our routes depart.
Today we start by heading for Windermere. It was our intention to go there but we were waiting for good weather. Today’s sunshine provides our only chance this trip. The train was late departing but as there is an interval of over half an hour between trains at Preston, we should make the connection without difficulty.
For now, it’s a matter of sitting back and enjoying the novelty of sunlit landscape on the way to Preston.
On arriving at Windermere, we took refreshments then boarded an open-top bus which took us to Grasmere where we had lunch at Miller Howe Cafe. Needless to say, the views were spectacular, especially the ever-changing pattern of light and shade from the sun and the clouds moving majestically across the fells.
Travelling on the upper deck of an open-top bus was a good way to see the landscape but not such a good way to take photos as the bus bounced and jolted along the roads.
After lunch we took a bus back to Windermere and joined the train. Despite the sun, the weather was distinctly cold, especially in the wind, and it was pleasant to sit in the train and warm up!
We thus visited the picturesque town of Kendal. There was much to see here and I think we shall have to pay it another visit and spend more time there. Here are just a few of the photos I took while exploring.
It would have been easy to stay a lot longer but we moved on again, this time to Lancaster, where we arrived after changing at Oxenholme. Lancaster also deserves a longer visit and much more attention than we have time to pay it.
On returning to Lancaster station we spied a train for Morecambe sitting there with its doors invitingly open. As we had wanted to pay a visit to that town, this seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so we went aboard and sat down.
However, Tigger, studying the timetable realized that the last train for Blackpool would leave Morecambe minutes after we arrived so there was little point in going there. We made a hasty exit from the train and settled down to wait for the Manchester Airport train that would deliver us to Preston where we could change for Blackpool.
The Manchester train was crowded but we were lucky enough to find two reserved seats without occupants.
When we reached Blackpool, there was still a gale blowing off the sea as we walked down towards the seafront and our hotel.
“Do you fancy going on the North Pier before going back to the hotel?” asked Tigger.
Well, why not? Blackpool has three piers and we haven’t been on any of them. However, I have to admit that it was almost a relief to find the pier closed. We were free to go back to the hotel and make tea.
Apart from the evening we arrived, Blackpool has not fitted the archetypal image of the sun drenched holiday resort packed with crowds of visitors bent on having a good time. It has been wind-swept, rain-swept and cold.
Our time here is ended and tomorrow we return to London. Will we come back to Blackpool? Probably, but next time we will perhaps base ourselves in Preston or Lancaster and travel out from there. We may then even spend the day in Blackpool but if so, let it be a day of sun and gentle breezes, not of rain and gales.