WALKS across the sands of Morecambe Bay are becoming more of a rarity as changing weather conditions make the crossing 'more dangerous than it has ever been'.

Cedric Robinson, the Queen's Guide to the Sands, has been unable to find a safe route across the bay since the end of August last year and all fundraising walks so far this year have been called off.

The cancelled walks have meant that charities who rely on the sponsored walks to boost their coffers have had to make do without the vital funding.

"The bay is much more dangerous now than it has ever been in my life time," said Mr Robinson. "Not so much out in the open bay, but in the upper reaches for which I am responsible.

"The rivers take so much water down into the bay now and the run off from the marshes has increased to the point where it can be dangerous to cross. I used to be able to just walk onto the sands form where I live.

"I go out on the Friday to plan the route and test the sand before the walks on the Sunday. I went out last Friday and my access to the sands isn't what it used to be.

"When I was out last Friday we went up towards Humphrey Head and tried to find a crossing, but there were vast changes.

I read the sands as I go along.

"We got to the river towards Humphrey Head and we tried to cross but we were stopped in our tracks at that point. There were gulleys with very soft sand.

"We tried to find a crossing, prodding our sticks into the sand everywhere, but we couldn't find one. We couldn't walk across, we had to run. We looked for five hours but couldn't find a route.

"There is more rainfall and more power in the water. It all contributes to the vast change which has made it a totally different bay to what it used to be.

Dawn Baxter, who had organised the cross bay walk for Morecambe-based charity One Woman at a Time on May 5, was disappointed it had to be cancelled for safety reasons..

Ms Baxter said: "Small charities really rely on these walks so it is very disappointing. If you get £10 per person that can really go a long way. It also effects big charities as well as the walks are very popular.

"There is a lot of history to these walks, so it is such a shame when people do not get to go one them.

"Of course it is not Cedric's fault. It is to do with safety and you can't help the weather.

"But it would be such a shame for more to be cancelled so we are waiting hand in mouth for the other walks scheduled for later in the year."

Explaining his reluctant decision to call off the walks, Mr Robinson said: "You have to be conscientious in this job and not leave anything to chance. You can't take a risk with people's lives.

"If other people had gone out into the conditions I went into last Friday to check they would still be out there, under the sand. It is a simple fact. That is how dangerous it can be."

Mr Robinson is hopeful about the walks coming up in June, however admits there may be difficulties once he can no longer do the job.

He said: "At the moment the ones in June are going ahead, but I have to check the sands nearer the time. As long as I am doing it the cross bay walks will be able to carry on.

"But it might be difficult to find somebody else to take over after my time and the job is only getting harder."

The charities with walks lined up for June this year include The Brathay Trust, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Growing Well, among others from the North West and further afield.