Wednesday, July 09, 2014

A Rover in Southport

Last year I tried out Northern Rail's 'North West Rover' ticket, and I had four great days out. Yesterday was the start of my 2014 roving adventures. An opportunity perhaps to go places I've not been before. So, after a rapid hurl by Virgin Pendolino down the West Coast Main Line, I found myself riding the track between Wigan Wallgate and Southport. It could almost be a heritage line, such is the age of this Class 142 Pacer!

Southport markets itself as a traditional seaside resort. So I headed for the pier. Once the rain had stopped, of course!

Southport's pier is the oldest iron pier and second longest in the country. It dates from 1860. Read about it here. I resisted the temptation to ride this little tractor train on the way to the end of the pier, a kilometer stroll. At the pier pavilion I found a small exhibition on Southport's history as well as traditional penny slot machines, still using old money. When I was a boy you got 240 pence to a pound note. My 2014 pound coin bought me just ten old pennies yesterday, and these soon disappeared into the various one-armed bandits!

My day at the seaside was a lot of 'side' and not too much 'sea'. I was reliably informed that the water was out there somewhere, this being the view from the end of the pier!

Also running on the rails was Southport Pier Tramways battery powered tram. I had to have a ride of course.

But there was a problem. The tractor-pulled train suffered a breakdown, and staff had to use muscle power to get it out of the way, and clear the line. Had I been a few years younger I might even have offered to help!

Southport also boasts the 'smallest pub in Britain'! Wonderful.

The town also has a curling connection! I looked in vain for a blue plaque commemorating the site where the Glaciarium existed in the 1880s. Read about the country's first artificial ice rink for skating and curling here, and imagine what it must have looked like here, with its 'Atmosphere always dry, pure, and clear'! The building which housed the rink is long gone, but it would have been around here at 184 Lord Street. That information comes thanks to helpful people I met in the library at The Atkinson.

One should always leave an attraction unvisited as a reason to return in the future. So my review of the British Lawnmower Museum will have to wait for another day!

And, in case you are wondering, I did have a fish supper before my journey home. How could I not!

Photos © Skip Cottage

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