A weekend at Morecambe Bay

This is a photo diary of my cycling weekend around Morecambe Bay – my first ever trip with my electric bike. You might not think it looks very adventurous, but if you bear in mind that I’ve been  agoraphobic all my adult life, and that I suffer from chronic fatigue, it might start to look a bit more significant!

Bike secured on the ferry
Bike secured on the ferry.

After a smooth four-hour crossing to Heysham, I pushed the bike down the ramp off the boat, and set off into unknown territory.

Such a beatififul view across the Bay.
Such beatiful views across the Bay.

Quite by accident, I discovered that I could cycle through Morecambe on the traffic-free promenade, which was glorious. This took me almost all the way to Hest Bank, where I was made very welcome.

My comfortable room at The Gateway, Hest Bank.
My comfortable room at The Gateway, Hest Bank.

Next morning, despite a migraine, I set off towards Carnforth on the cycle path.

The cycle track to Carnforth.
The cycle track to Carnforth.

Exploring the charity shops helped to distract me from my anxiety about finding the way back to the guest house.

Lunch in the Brief Encounters cafe at Carnforth Station.
Lunch in the famous Brief Encounters cafe at Carnforth Station.

In the afternoon, I explored some of the many cycle trails that criss-cross the whole area, going as far as I dared, then returning to a familiar point before trying a new one.

Lonely, flooded countryside.
Lonely, flooded countryside.

Not wanting to push myself too hard, I eventually headed back to Hest Bank, where I had tea, whilst looking out across the bay.

I was made welcome everywhere I went.
I was made very welcome everywhere I went.

On the last day, I slowly made my way back along the promenade to the ferry port, stopping frequently to admire the view and the quality of the light.

So beautiful.
So beautiful.

I made it back to the ferry-port with plenty of time to spare.

Re-finding the port wasn't as hard as I had feared.
Re-finding the port wasn’t as hard as I had feared.

The crossing was so smooth that I fell asleep.

17 miles away from home.
17 miles away from home.

So, after the best weekend of my life, I arrived home safely, already promising myself that I would soon go back to continue exploring the beautiful area around Morecambe Bay.

 

An open letter

Dear Reader,

If you’ve visited this site before, you will know that my posts usually take the form of short prayers that come out of my daily contemplation. However, today’s post is completely different, and tells you a bit of background about me and what I’ve been doing recently.

I’m 63 years old, and have suffered from agoraphobia all my adult life. It’s been a battle all the way. Every bit of progress is hard-won, and all of it can be lost with terrifying suddenness. Chronic depression and anxiety unavoidably come with the territory.

Agoraphobia is very much like alcoholism. Even an alcoholic who hasn’t touched a drink for years is fully aware that they are still an alcoholic. Similarly, my agoraphobia never goes away. No matter how hard I work to extend my boundaries, I never experience the unconscious confidence of those who go out without a second thought. Essentially, I always have to be prepared to face panic alone, wherever I go.

I also have physical health problems, including chronic fatigue and frequent, severe migraines, so over the years finding the energy to battle against agoraphobia has become a lot more more difficult.

Anyway, about two years ago, a friend saw an article in a local magazine about electric bikes. I followed up his suggestion that I look into them, met the dealers, tried one out, and placed my order without hesitation.

As soon as the bike arrived, it began to revolutionise my life. Building up both my confidence and my fitness, I started to go out on it as often as possible, gradually going further, and facing my fears with its help. Before long, I was learning to plan routes, tackle lonely country lanes, and even go up into the mountains.

The sense of freedom, independence and joy brought by even the simplest, shortest, most routine journey never wanes. Getting out on my bike also makes a huge difference to my chronic depression, so I use it as often as possible, whatever the weather. I take a car only if absolutely necessary, and am known locally for my familiar appearance in fluorescent, waterproof over-trousers and jacket.

A few months ago, I heard on the news that a cycle route had opened all the way round Morecambe Bay in the North of England. I longed to experience it for myself, but given both my agoraphobia, and my health problems, this seemed impossible. However, I slowly started to work on the idea, and my next blog will tell the story of that trip.

Thank you

God lives in us (1 John 4:12; NLT).

We know how dearly God loves us (Romans 5:5; NLT).

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases (Psalm 103:3; NLT).

 

Lord,
Thank you
For living within me,
Loving and forgiving me,
Healing me,
And helping me to grow
Throughout my life.

Amen.

Anxiety

God is light (1 John 1:5; NLT).

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7; NLT).

The Lord your God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; NIV).

God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27; NLT).

 

Lord,
Please shine your light
On my anxiety,
And consume it
With your fire,
Till nothing remains
But your love,
And your peace.

Through Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Patience

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised (Job 1:21; NIV).

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? (Job 2:10; NIV).

Lord,
Because of ill-heath
And getting old,
I can no longer do
So many of the things
I used to love.

Please help me
To be patient
And accepting,
Making the best I can
Of life each day,
Within my limitations.

God’s image

So God created human beings in his own image (Genesis 1:27; NLT).

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48; NIV).

The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:2-4; NIV).

You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13; NIV).


Heavenly Father,
You made us
In your image,
To be perfect –
Just like you.

Yet with every passing day
We choose to be
More selfish,
Coarse,
And brutish;

More ignorant,
Exploitative,
And greedy;

More sinful,
Violent,
And corrupt.

How must you feel, Lord,
As you watch us
Growing ever less like you?