Here you will find Tales Of The Day from a Small Town
Some would say that Grange over Sands is a quiet backwater of Cumbria where nothing much happens and the days are uneventful. Scratch beneath the surface though and all sorts of weird and wonderful stories might be found along with interesting news topics and tidbits of information. Take these items for example…
Naked Walk Across Morecambe Bay to raise charity funds
Yes that’s correct – later in the year a group of over 100 naturists are to step out over the treacherous sands of The Bay in the first naked walk across the estuary!
Now in these parts we are more than accustomed to seeing groups of walkers crossing The Bay at low tide. Indeed, I wrote here on the subject, back in April 2019, to mark the retirement of Cedric Robinson as The Queen’s Guide to the Sands – oh my gosh, was that really two years ago?! Oftentimes I see a line of intrepid souls crossing the sands under the watchful eye of our local guide – from a distance they can be mistaken for a colony of ants snaking across a field of clay.
These sponsored walks raise much needed funds for a variety of charitable purposes while at the same time the participants have the satisfaction of overcoming one of England’s iconic challenges.
A naturist walk though? That’s a first!
British Naturism members will be disrobing for the trek in aid of the British Heart Foundation.
Those taking part will begin and end the walk fully clothed.
They will be accompanied by Michael Wilson, the current Queen’s Guide to the Sands, who will not be expected to undress.
The trek from Arnside to Kent’s Bank, on 20 June, is expected to take about four hours with part of it involving a short wade at knee height.
Once they have set off, the walkers – who will have to comply with social distancing regulations – will be directed by the guide as to when they can strip down to their birthday suits.
Ron O’Hare, British Naturism’s campaigns secretary, said there were contingency plans in case the weather turned chilly.
‘We will be permitting clothes if walkers feel cold,’ he said.
‘The the main aim is to raise funds for British Heart Foundation – if we have to wear clothes at times to keep warm at times, then so be it’.
I envisage an increase in visitor numbers to our small town on the day with, perhaps, crowds of onlookers lining the esplanade cheering on the intrepid walkers. Maybe I’ll take a looksee myself – purely to enable me to report about it here of course!
What was that again? Grange over Sands – Genteel and Sedate? Yeah, right!
In other news…
South Lakes Safari Zoo
Some folks aren’t all that keen on zoos. Like me, they feel passionately that animals should be allowed to live in their natural habitat undisturbed by mankind. Others though, feel zoos are integral to the advancement of knowledge into the welbeing and protection of the numerious other species which share with us the home we call ‘Planet Earth’. The jury is, perhaps, ‘out’ but it is interesting to see that there are a lot fewer ‘Marine Zoos’ than there once were.
Locally, and just a few miles away, we have the South Lakes Safari Zoo. In recent times, the zoo has had a great deal of negative press which could, potentally, have led to its permanent closure. Reports of bad governance and animal neglect resulted in a management takeover and the taking of subsequent steps to improve control and direction.
This week it was announced that bosses who took on the zoo after a keeper was mauled by a tiger and hundreds of animals died have been granted a six-year licence renewal.
Barrow Council heard inspectors had been ‘impressed’ with improvements made at the zoo in nearby Dalton-in-Furness.
The decision was backed unanimously following a five-hour meeting.
Karen Brewer, chief executive officer of Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd, said it was ‘absolutely fantastic’ news.
‘We are over the moon, every one of us. We can just get on with things for the next six years. It’s wonderful,’ she said.
Councillors were presented with a report recommending the renewal following an inspection last month. However, while praising the progress the zoo had made, they noted there was ‘still much to do’.
Keeper Sarah McClay, originally from Glasgow, was mauled to death by a tiger in 2013 – leading to a £297,500 fine for the zoo over health and safety breaches.
In 2017 a council report revealed 486 animals had died between December 2013 and September 2016 including two snow leopards that were found partially eaten, a pair of squirrel monkeys diagnosed with septicaemia and a giraffe which a post-mortem examination showed was overweight.
The Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd was initially granted a licence later that year after it took control from the zoo’s founder, David Gill.
Hopefully, the new management team will continue to make improvements and ensure that the mistakes of the past will never be allowed to happen again. Like many other local folk, I’ll be keeping a close eye forsure.