I loved New Zealand but I am also really enjoying revisiting places closer to home and appreciating the seasons (well I do when it is cold and bright, perhaps not so much when it is wet and cloudy). Arnside is too far from home to be a really regular haunt but we had an errand in Lancaster and the Rock and Run sale near Milnthorpe so a run would fill most of the gap nicely.
We did not plan to stick together but knew that with circuits of a fairly small area we were likely to see each other. The sun was out, there was almost no wind and the ground was a bit muddy but not too bad. The limestone sections were dodgy and I treated them with due caution. I managed 3-4 big loops with almost no repetition of routes or paths.
After a lower loop to the east to get warmed up I headed for the summit cairn and enjoyed the old coppiced woods and the open views. From the top I could see snow on the Lakeland tops but I also liked the view inland to the Pennines and south across the bay. My gloves were soon discarded and I made a detour to leave my extra layer in the car. I was too hot in the thick thermal layer as it was and still had my windproof with me.
Morecambe bay looked interesting in the sunlight and with the tide out. It is some years since I have done one of the cross bay walks so perhaps I should investigate some dates for this year. Having explored to the far western end of the woods and dropped down to the Silverdale road and campsite I jogged along the lane and through the campsite and onto the shore. the tide was out but I stayed on the stone beach and then the muddy path that contours the small cliffs.
It got even more muddy on the estuary side and I was pleased to turn back up hill and into the woods. I found it hard work uphill and slowed to a walk.
This was the one and only place that I met Bob, although I had not realised that he had left the Knott and gone exploring over by the old fortified tower in the hope of less steep ground.
It was steep but mercifully short and before long I was running through the tress again before breaking onto open ground and charging down the grassy slope to improve my miles per hour stats. By now I was getting some confused looks from dog walkers and families that I had already seen or passed once already.
The area is very varied and I used the big open field area to run in the sunshine and to give myself a break from the steep climbs. After 2 1/2 hours I had had enough and started to make my way back. Contouring on a path above the car I could see it was empty and so did one further loop but I did not want to repeat paths and was content with my 14.5 miles. I got back to the car just after Bob and in time to meet Geoff Pettingell. This was a total surprise as he lives miles away but had been to Milnthorpe for a meeting. The cafe in Arnside was still open so we refuelled with meat pies and gravy.