Thursday, 23 August 2012

Storms at Sea, Fylde Coast - Tuesday 14th August


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Coming right at ya!

Very late in posting these as other outings took precedence and to be honest, I took so many snaps of the storm coming in and the North Pier illuminated in the foreground, that it’s taken a while to sort them and get rid of as many as possible.  Well worth a look at a few more of this amazing natural phenomenon – just happened to be there to capture some of its beauty.  Anyway a bit of research came up with some of the fascinating history of Fleetwood, so skip to the pics if this holds no interest.

Fleetwood’s strategic position on the Fylde coast close to the mouth of the River Wyre provided a natural sheltered harbour recognised through the ages.  An Iron Age settlement was discovered at Bourne Hill, just south of present-day Fleetwood, suggesting the area was populated in pre-Roman times.  This was probably a tribe known as the Setantii.   These people were recorded in Ptolemy's Geographia in the 2nd century AD, living in what is believed to be present-day West Lancashire, and a seaport built by the Romans called PORTVS SETANTIORVM ('the port of the Setantii') abutting Moricambe Aestuarium (Morecambe Bay). There is also evidence of a Roman road running from Ribchester to Kirkham (12 miles southeast of Fleetwood) which then makes a sharp turn to the northwest. Together, these suggest that Fleetwood may well have been the location of this Roman port.

There is evidence that the eastern side of the River Wyre was occupied during the Danish invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries, and by the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, the land on which Fleetwood now stands was part of the Hundred of Amounderness.

A manor house at present-day Rossall, in the southwest of the town, was in the possession of the Allen family by the time of Henry VIII. The Allens were prominent Roman Catholics, and Henry VIII repossessed the land. Cardinal William Allen was born at the manor house in 1532. It was ultimately sold to Thomas Fleetwood, comptroller of the Royal Mint, whose son Edmund, expanded the house into Rossall Hall. The land remained in the Fleetwood family for 300 years.

the 19th century saw the coming of the railways and development of tourism alongside the busy port.  Fleetwood is the only town in the United Kingdom to possess three lighthouses dating back to 1840.  The two within the town itself remain fully operational.  The Upper Lighthouse, in the main street of the town is usually referred to as the Pharos (after the Pharos of Alexandria in Egypt), and can be seen for 13 miles, and Beach Lighthouse is visible for 9 miles.  An offshore lighthouse, Wyre Light has now fallen into a state of disrepair, but was the first screw pile lighthouse to be built in Great Britain.

Today Fleetwood is linked by the only original main street tramway in Britain which runs along the coast to Blackpool and Lytham St Annes.  The promenade and attractions still bring in families and its modern Marina makes good use of the inner docklands area.   It’s the home of the world famous 'Fisherman's Friend' lozenges.   It also has a reasonable retail outlet village based around the Marina which is where Julie and I found ourselves looking for a bit of retail therapy and a spot of lunch, before continuing my sister’s quest for walking opportunities in her continuing journey back to fitness.

Anyway these are some of the pics that made the cut for a variety of reasons

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One of the few working fishing boats left at Fleetwood – I think they’d seen the weather forecast!

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Blackpool Tower from Bispham – all quiet on the Western Front!

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Black Coombe, from Bispham

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Incoming tide in the sunshine

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… but look at the storm beginning to build out to sea

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A feast for the waders

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Amazing to see the black storm clouds, with patches of sunlight illuminating the sea

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Meanwhile, all looks pretty calm at the North Pier

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… and anyone on Black Coombe is still enjoying the rays!

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As we retreated back towards the car the storm was coming in quickly

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Here it is – I fancy I can see the face of the storm blowing its way across the bay with Black Coombe in its sights

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The tramway at Bispham leading to Fleetwood

We almost made it back to the car, well anyway before the big one hit, which made driving home fairly entertaining!

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Exhilarating day at the seaside – definitely one to remember Smile

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