Wolfgang (his car) purred along the stretch of road that was right beside the sea and right below the lines of carnival lights stretching out between the piers. Rain clouds were gathering, and we were becoming keenly aware that perhaps t-shirts and a playsuit weren’t the most ideal clothes for today’s adventure.
As we pulled into a parking spot on the main drag, the rain settled in nice and firmly, and we rushed for cover in the local Wetherspoon’s for lunch, being a little weak and not wanting to brave the dreary weather just yet.
Veggie wrap for me, chicken and chips for him, we chilled in a booth, spinning tales of future jobs/homes/friends and anything and everything else that took our fancy. It must’ve been over an hour before we emerged from the gorgeous historic building (seriously, how do Spoon’s always manage to nab the most ornate locations?!) and back onto the street, which was now lightly spitting instead of raining.
Before we crossed over to the beach, we popped into Blackpool Pleasure Beach – the amusement park – and ducked into the ticketing area, only to be told it was closed for the day, but try again tomorrow, why don’t you?
The rain seemed to have driven all the people away, and so the pier was ours in its entirety. The rides were closed off, the wind howled between the stuffed-toy prizes lined within the booths, and all in all it was a little…eerie. There’s something foreboding about carnival games and rides abandoned, for abandoned is what it felt like on this rain-washed day. Walking slowly, we reached the end of the pier, with the expanse of sand and street that is Blackpool right at our fingertips. For a moment, it felt like we were the only people in the entire world. No sounds but the creaking door to the old haunted house that battered open and closed with the wind, or else the waves crashing and breaking at the wooden columns holding the pier up. In any other circumstance, Blackpool might’ve been tragic and dismal, but instead it somehow felt romantic, despite the connotations Blackpool often is aligned with (to be fair, I haven’t visited at night).
I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s quite the “Brighton of the North” but regardless, Blackpool holds a memory to treasure, even if it is only mostly poking fun at the fact that this is what Brits call a beach (I live in Sydney, trust me, I know good beaches)!
As fun as we ended up making Blackpool, it still wasn’t what we had expected, and so our search for a better beach began. Wolfgang revved to life again and our drive along the main drag led us, rather quickly, to another stretch of beach on the cusp between Blackpool and Lytham St. Anne’s.
Wrapped up warm and arms around each other, we jumped the partition on the main road and headed up between long tufts of olive green grass-looking plants, until eventually there was more sand than foliage and we reached the peak of the trail. Below our perch on this sand dune was the long beachfront, with only a dog and his owner on the entire shore, the dog racing in circles and his mate trailing behind.
I clearly remember us watching the waves for a while, before he went to explore a little further down the dune. His blue jacket was his only real cover from the elements, and he had propped his hood up so shield his face. He looked back towards me, that little grin at the edge of his mouth, with the roaring main road seeming miles away.
There’s something so calming about the sea, isn’t there? Some people would (and did) gawk at the fact we went on a date to Blackpool, but there’s just something I can’t shake about our adventure. The blackening sky agains the grey of the waves, the lack of people compared to when I had visited busy Brighton months beforehand, or else the solitary feeling you really can only get when it’s just you and the water. I may never visit your bright lights at night, Blackpool, but who knows, maybe I’ll need that Brighton of the North vibe some day soon xx