Mooching round Morecambe

The morning after my bank holiday visit to Hest Bank and various points north I was back on the M6 again with plans to visit Morecambe and Heysham, however the weather gods decided in their wisdom that they would screw things up for me. I’d looked on the live webcams before leaving home and seen cloudless blue sky and sunshine but in the hour it took me to get there a fair amount of fluffy white clouds had appeared though it was still sunny.
Parking right at the north end of the promenade my first port of call was Happy Mount Park, though first I wanted to look at the nearby Venus and Cupid sculpture. I’d previously seen photos of it on other blogs and personally thought it looked ugly so I wanted to see it ‘in the flesh’. Sculpted by Shane A Johnstone it was originally intended to be sited at St. Georges Quay in Lancaster but was erected at Scalestone Point, Morecambe, in 2005.
In 2011 the artist threatened to destroy the sculpture as the local council was unwilling to pay for its insurance and upkeep so in 2012 the Venus & Cupid Arts Trust was formed to raise money for its purchase. Thanks to public donations enough money was raised in three years to cover the cost and in September 2015 it was taken over by the Trust. During the winter of 2017/2018 frost caused some of the mosaic tiles to fall off so in November 2018 it was moved temporarily into Morecambe’s Arndale Centre for repairs; the sculptor replaced the missing tiles with gold leaf to accentuate the repairs rather than hide them and the sculpture was returned to the sea front in June 2019.
Seeing the sculpture up close did little to change my opinion. I still thought it was ugly, and the name Venus & Cupid seems to bear no relation to what it actually is, however the colours did look quite attractive and my photo of it seemed to make it look better than in real life.
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Looking south from Scalestone Point
Across the road and a couple of hundred yards away was the entrance to Happy Mount Park and straight away I could see things had changed from when I visited last September. Back then most of the flower beds were unkempt and untidy but now laid out with summer plants they looked really colourful, and wandering round the park it seemed as though most of it, especially the children’s areas, had undergone a fairly recent makeover. Unfortunately after a while the weather decided to make a change and the fluffy white clouds joined together to obliterate the sun, resulting in what I call ‘the dreaded white sky’, so I decided to return to the van.
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Abandoning my plan to go to Heysham I drove down to the car park near the Midland Hotel and had a mooch round the stalls in the Festival Market then went to Rita’s Cafe nearby for a snack lunch, hoping that the day would soon brighten up again. Unfortunately it didn’t, and though there was still some blue sky over the bay the sun stayed stubbornly behind the clouds, making my photos very dull, so I had a wander round by the fairground and the gardens then cut my losses and set off for home.
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I did actually take a lot more photos along the promenade but they deserve a post of their own so I’m saving them for another time. Tomorrow I’m off on my travels again for another ten days at the quiet camp site in Cumbria where I stayed not long ago – no internet access means no blog posts so there’ll be lots to come when I get back.

14 thoughts on “Mooching round Morecambe

  1. That’s an interesting sculpture and it’s definitely unusual. The park is very pretty and the fairground looks fairly busy. Have a wonderful, relaxing holiday and I’ll look forward to your blog posts and photos on your return.

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    1. The flower beds in the park were lovely, it’s just a shame the sun disappeared so I didn’t get them at their brightest. The fairground was reasonably busy but not massively so – I like taking photos round fairs as the colours are always so bright 🙂

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  2. Modern “art” philistine that I am, the artist should have destroyed that thing when he had the chance.

    Lovely to see all those traditionally maintained flower beds; when I see pictures like these I wonder how many years they will survive amidst endless budget cuts – perhaps one day places like your blog will be the only record of the efforts made by some councils to enhance the parks.

    Safe travels tomorrow. xx

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    1. And likewise to you Jayne, I hope you have a lovely time on your tour 🙂

      Your comment about the sculpture made me laugh 🙂 I’ve read – whether this is true or not – that it was put there to commemorate the Chinese cockle pickers who lost their lives out in the bay but I really can’t see any significance. There are signs in various places nearby asking parents not to let their kids climb or swing on it as it’s getting more damaged – and the ‘Trust’ are still asking for public donations for its upkeep. Maybe it should be taken back to Lancaster and pushed into the deepest part of the Lune 🙂 Some modern art I can appreciate but not this one.

      I remember being taken to Happy Mount Park when I was a kid and the flower beds were always lovely – hopefully they’ll survive for a long time yet.

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      1. Hi Eunice,
        The statue associated with the Chinese cockle pickers is farther up the coast near Red Bank Farm. It is marginally more acceptable.
        By the way, you were never a ‘kid’ — a child, more likely.

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        1. I’ve seen photos of the ‘Praying Shell’ at Red Bank Farm – not really my cup of tea but as you say, it looks marginally better than this one, though the idea for it was born before the cockle pickers tragedy.

          And who knows, I may very well have been a baby goat in a past life 🙂 🙂

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  3. The park is really nice, not massive but has a fair amount of open space for picnics or a kick about with a ball. Morecambe illuminations ran from the 1920s to 1996 and I remember when I was a kid in the 60s there were tableaux set up all down the length of the path through the park.

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    1. The flower beds in the park were very colourful and really enhanced the area nearest the entrance. I had a lovely holiday in Cumbria – lots of blog posts to come – but sadly I’m now back to work and real life 😦

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