Anne Waggot Knott – Bibliotreks Part 3

A rock with a round hole in looking through to a sandy beach.

Bibliotreks: 3. Silverdale – Arnside – Grange-over-Sands

On my third walk I decided to let chance dictate my companions and my inspiration.

Enormous thanks to Michael and Joanne at the Guide over Sands Trust for finding me space on one of their legendary walks across Morecambe Bay, skirting Cumbria’s border with Lancashire.

Michael’s official title is Queens Guide, a coveted position handed down over nearly 500 years of tradition, providing safe passage across the treacherous sands. Today, however, Michael was guiding 800 long-distance runners on a slightly different route so it was down to his partner Joanne to lead the 216 walkers.

I relished walking barefoot across the beautiful estuary, feeling quietly and solidly connected to the land and the sea while I listened to the chatter of my fellow walkers. The border is literally fluid here – the waters ebb and flow, first we’re on one side, then the other, then I’m unsure. Shifting sands indeed.

Joanne and Michael are a shellfishing family by trade, and they know every part of this landscape; its rhythms, its beauty, its dangers. They take care of this unique environment as well as taking care of us. Stewards in every sense.

As we switched course towards Grange, Joanne mentioned modestly that today was the first time in 483 years of the guiding tradition that the walk had been led by a woman. A lot has been written and broadcast about the all-male Queens Guides in the past. I decided there and then that part of my Artful Ways outcome will celebrate this moment. Joanne’s moment.

Anne Waggot Knott

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