THOUSANDS of hard-hitting posters have gone out this week to launch The Westmorland Gazette ‘Safety on the Sands’ campaign.

Leaflets and notices, produced by the paper, have been delivered to dozens of businesses around Morecambe Bay in a bid to highlight the dangers of the treacherous sands.

The campaign was launched after two high-profile incidents in June in which holidaymakers had to be plucked from quick-sands as high tide approached.

Since then Arnside coast-guards have been called out to five more incidents involving 22 people in potential danger, prompting locals to hail the campaign as ‘just in time’ before the school holidays.

“I’m still seeing people on the sands,” said Charlotte Muir, of Arnside House gift shop.

“Just this weekend the second siren went off and there were still people in the bay – with a pram as well. It beggars belief.”

Lynn Million, from the Ship Inn, Sandside, said: “It’s defin-itely a good idea to point out the dangers, especially as it’s just in time for the holiday season.”

The roll-out of posters and leaflets began this week, with shops, hotels, pubs, restaurants, cafes, caravan parks and even schools taking delivery of copies.

So far they have been delivered in Arnside, Sandside, Silverdale, Grange-over-Sands, Flookburgh, Allithwaite, Cartmel and Cark-in-Cartmel.

“We’ll definitely support this campaign and we will make sure our guests know the dangers of the bay,” said Peter Birch, of the Willowfield Hotel, Arnside.

“We tell people but there are a lot who still go out.

“The cost of each rescue must be hugry and you wonder if people should be fined if they ignore the advice.”

Katy Edmondson, working at gift and coffee shop, Posh Sardine, said: “So many people get stuck out there and you hear them saying they just didn’t realise how bad it was. Hopefully handing out these leaflets to people will make it a bit clearer.”

The campaign has been backed by high profile organisations including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Bay Search and Rescue, South Lakeland District Council and Lancaster City Council.

Cedric Robinson, Queen’s Guide to the Sands, has also given it his approval, after warning that he has never known the sands ‘so dangerous’.

More posters are set to go out over the coming days, targeting towns and villages right across the bay area.

Posters will be also handed out in hessian bags at the Gazette’s ‘Independent’s Day’ event on Saturday in Kendal, while leaflets will be available all summer at the country shows.

Nigel Capstick, of Arnside coastguard station, said:. “There is a reason we call the area between Arnside, Grange and Silverdale the ‘Danger Triangle’. This part of the bay is one of the most dangerous in the country.”

  • Anybody who would like posters and leaflets to hand out is asked to email mike.addison


“We want holidaymakers to come here and enjoy themselves but be aware of the dangers of the sands too.

“If you’re here for the first time and you look out at the bay it can be hard to see any of the dangers – but they are very real and my advice to anyone who picks up a leaflet is to take on board all the advice.

“We want headlines about visitors having a great time - not headlines telling us that someone else has gone into danger on the sands, or worse, died.”

Keith Budden, chairman, Bolton-le-Sands Parish Council

“The Bay does present significant dangers. There have been several rescues in the last few weeks and I think we need to remind anyone who wishes to cross the sands to first speak to Cedric Robinson, the Queen’s Guide and the expert on conditions. I do not want to put people off visiting but I must emphasise that the sands while beautiful can be dangerous.”

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale

“I have a long history of recognising the dangers there are on the sands.

“This is a raising awareness campaign and that’s something that I’ve been pushing for a long time.

“As a member of the council I’ve asked the district council why there’s a discrepancy between the signs at Grange and the signs at Arnside because the fact is, people need to be more aware of the dangers.”

Ian Stewart, South Lakeland councillor for Arnside and Cumbria County councillor for the Kent Estuary


THE MORECAMBE Bay sands have been described as some of the most dangerous in the UK.

Water can rush through channels at up to 15mph, widening them in a matter in minutes – and the quicksand is notoriously dangerous.

Arnside Coastguard Station Officer Nigel Capstick said the sands can ‘completely trap people’.

“Quicksand is formed by sand along with salt, water and clay. When agitated – as happens when you stand in it – it becomes super saturated and you, along with the sand and clay drop,” he said.

“The sand and clay then solidify and grip you. They will clamp you like a vice.”

And Cedric Robinson, the Queen’s Guide to the Sands, who has carried out guided walks across the bay for 50 years, said that the situation was only worsening.

“When I first started the job I would rarely even have to cancel any of my guided walks but the weather has changed in the last few years. There are stronger winds and more rainfall – it is much more dangerous now.”

Mr Capstick agreed that the increased rainfall was a ‘crucial’ prt of the problem.

He said: “It dictates how much water there is in the system and it is what has made the quicksand a lot worse.”