MASSES of people basked in the sunshine as they enjoyed the Morecambe Bay sands the safe way.

More than 500 walkers went from Arnside promenade to Kents Bank at the weekend – led by Queen’s Guide to the Sands Cedric Robinson.

The Westmorland Gazette’s Safety on the Sands campaign, launched after a series of dramatic rescues, includes the strong recommendation that people do not venture onto the notorious sands without a local expert.

Guided walks run every weekend throughout the summer, and Eileen Jones, who took part in Saturday’s charity event for Bay Search and Rescue, said she would encourage others to do the same.

“The danger signs at the start at Arnside were quite clear, and having followed Cedric across to Kents Bank, I have nothing but respect for the guides,” she said.

“I would urge anyone who wants adventure to join one of the organised walks. It's a place of mysterious beauty and fascination, but no-one should ever be tempted to go it alone."

Bay Search and Rescue, based at Flookburgh, Milnthorpe and Bolton-le-Sands, raised in the region of £5,500 through the eight-mile walk this year, and the occasion played a significant role in the charity’s funding.

Deputy station officer Paul Calland said: “We have had people doing the walk for about ten years now, and Cedric holds an event especially for us because there are always so many who want to join in.

“The Cross Bay Walk is one of the main fund-raisers for us and pays for our vital vehicle insurance. It was brilliant weather this time.

“Cedric is happy to answer people’s questions and chat to them and we have lots of our team chatting to people about what we do, so it works for everyone.”

And Cedric was back out leading a walk again on Sunday, when 130 people were out on the sands fund-raising for Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Participant Kath Bell said: “We really enjoyed the walk and have raised about £250, so that’s not too bad.

“We all really caught the sun and are quite pink today. I imagine we aren't the only ones.”

The Queen’s Guide has led people safely across Morecambe Bay for 50 years, and said he continually monitors the changing sands.

“Always on a Friday before a Saturday walk my team and I plan the route – it has to be renewed for each walk because the tide takes away our markers,” he said.

“The river is always on the move but more so now that we get extra rain, so I have to spend a lot more time out there.”

For a full list of the 2013 walk dates, call Cedric on 01539-532165.