The Christmas period is wonderful for all sorts of things – time with friends and family, amazing food and celebrations, great opportunities for worshipping God etc.

One thing it’s not quite so renowned for is exploring the great outdoors.

But hey, we’re intrepid and so, armed with a borrowed back baby carrier, we took up our nine month old daughter and headed into the wilderness…

Well, it was only Crosby beach but it certainly felt abandoned and desolate!

The wind was hurtling at us from all directions, almost knocking us of our feet.

I had Sophie attached to my back for the first time so had no idea what she was feeling or thinking. It’s quite disconcerting having people looking directly at you with concerned expressions on their face and talking in a childish way. (Actually, I guess that’s just what happens at school to me every day but still!).

They were obviously checking on her welfare. And with good reason really. The weather was Arctic and it wasn’t until we got Sophie hitched onto my back that we realised there was a hood connection she could put on.

Frantically, her Mama and her Mummy tried to pull it out from beneath her (where it was handily stored!), while she thrashed around in protest and beach buggies threatened to zoom at us.

Now don’t get me wrong, the scenery was fascinating on the beach. Antony Gormley’s famous Crosby iron men had been decked out in all sorts of seasonal garments including the female Santa pirate who looked set to take over the Irish Sea with her army of reindeer bandits!

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As the rain crashed down, Sophie fell asleep. Yes…asleep! How does she do that? And then her head lolled back dangerously off my shoulders, which was when we realised that there was another connection designed to support her head.

This was something else we needed to set up and find.

I was none the wiser.

After plodding down the windswept promenade by the beach, we approached a local whose approach to the weather was simply to button up her coat to the point where there was nothing visible. Like an anoraked Nazgul. A useful fashion tip for future trips to the west coast of Lancashire.

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We wanted to know where we could give Sophie some food and whether there was even just a rain shelter anywhere nearby.

She advised us that there was nowhere for us to eat our picnic (yes I know, we’d brought a picnic!) so we headed back to the car park. The toilets were shut (yikes) so, with Sophie’s lunchtime long past, we ventured into Crosby, past the scary pub and finally into a Costa coffee where she could eat a very belated lunch.

Walk to blow away the New Year’s cobwebs? You got that right.