Although I wasn’t born there, I did most of my growing up on the Fylde coast in Lancashire. Now, unless you’re fond of holidays in Blackpool, or a fan of the British Open golf championship, it’s probably not the sort of place you know well. In fact, if you only know the place by reputation, you may think there’s not much to celebrate about it.
While it would be wrong to suggest that Blackpool doesn’t have a lot of problems, I do think there’s a lot to admire about the area. The flat coastal landscape has the same potential for dramatic, Constable-ish skyscapes as Cambridgeshire, but the area is bounded to the north and east by the mountains of the Lake District and the Pennines, so you are always close to some genuinely rugged beauty. Lytham is genteel, Blackpool is brash and somewhat shabby, but it’s all unique. If you’re a fellow knitter, you no doubt know Kate Davies’s blog: although she lives in Scotland, she has family in my neck of the woods, and her photos of the area on her blog are really gorgeous, full of wide, empty skies, tarnished Pleasure Beach fitments and unexpected architectural beauty. In a different genre, but in a similar vein, the video for “Kingdom of Rust” by the north-western band Doves is a melancholic odyssey through Lancashire and the Pennines, past piers and gasometers, culminating in the sand dunes in St Annes. Alex Petridis noted this focus in his review of the album of the same name: “the landscape of Lancashire is depicted with the grand Romanticism songwriters usually reserve for America: “The road back to Preston was covered all in snow,” they sing, sounding not bathetic or knowing, but rather awestruck at the sight”. And why, indeed, should Lancashire not deserve this treatment, as much as anywhere else?
In an attempt to add my own input to the small celebration Lancashire in general and the Fylde in particular, I am posting a few of the photos I’ve taken while I’ve been at home. They’re not anywhere near as good as Kate’s, but they’re a snapshot of some of the things I love about the area. There are also a couple of gratuitous Eoin pictures, because I admire him too…
Abandoned rowing boat, Granny’s Bay.
The fabulously-named Ribble Cruising Club.
The windmill, Lytham.
Anchor on slipway, Lytham.
The lost beach at Lytham. Yes, it is covered in grass: you can find out why here.
The bear loves Blackpool as much as Eoin does. I have it on good authority that these bears have been rolled out as part of the illuminations for at least the last 15 years.
Daleks on the seafront at Bispham.
Eoin, Blackpool Zoo.