Queen's Guide to the Sands

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Cedric Robinson, the 25th Queen's Guide to the Sands, leading a group across Morecambe Bay in July 2014 Cedric Robinson.jpg
Cedric Robinson, the 25th Queen's Guide to the Sands, leading a group across Morecambe Bay in July 2014
Logo of the Guide Over Sands Trust which appoints the Guide Guide Over Sands Trust logo 2019.png
Logo of the Guide Over Sands Trust which appoints the Guide

The Queen's Guide to the Sands is the royally appointed guide to crossing the sands of Morecambe Bay, an ancient and potentially dangerous tidal crossing in northwest England. From 1963 until 2019, the Guide was Cedric Robinson MBE, the 25th guide. In April 2019 Michael Wilson, a 46-year-old local fisherman, was appointed his successor. [1] The guide is paid a nominal salary of only £15 a year [2] but the holder of the post also has the use of the grade II listed [3] 700-year-old Guide's Cottage at Kents Bank, which is owned by the Crown and managed by the Duchy of Lancaster. [4] [5]


Route over the sands

Until the building of the Furness railway in 1857, the cross sands route had been a major transport route in the area, with Guides appointed royally since the 16th century. Before that, the monks of Furness at Cartmel Priory had provided guides for crossing the sands. [6] In modern times a crossing of the sands has become a popular challenge walk for charity fundraisers, with the Guide often leading groups of up to 600 people. These walks are typically once a fortnight (from spring to autumn), usually from Arnside over to Kents Bank, dependent on tide and river levels (the River Kent has to be crossed at some point), and are often in support of a charity. The route is marked on some maps as a highway, and Cedric Robinson described it as "the most dangerous highway in Britain". [5]


The first official guide was appointed by the Duchy of Lancaster on 29 January 1548, a Thomas Hogeson. [7] A charity to control the guides was established in 1877, with the power of appointment still held by the Duchy of Lancaster, and by 2012 this had become the Guide Over Sands Trust and was given the power to appoint the Queen's Guide. [8] It was Lord Cavendish in his role as chair of the trust who visited the 86-year-old Cedric Robinson and suggested that it was time to retire: "'At the age you've got to, Mr Robinson – Cedric,' he said, 'we'd like to take the responsibility away from you and we would like you to choose a new guide'". [9]


Michael Wilson, 2019–present

Michael Wilson (born 1972or1973 in Flookburgh) was appointed the 26th guide in May 2019. [1] He is a fisherman and said: "It helps a lot having been a shrimper because you are working in the channels and that's the most dangerous part of the water". [5]

Cedric Robinson, 1963–2019

Cedric Robinson MBE (1933 [10] –19 November 2021) was the 25th guide for 56 years from 1963 to 2019.

William Burrows, 1949–1963

Robinson's predecessor William Burrows was a fisherman, and was the Guide to the Kent Sands from 1949 to 1963. In 1951, when there was a royal visit to Lancaster in celebration of the 600th anniversary of the creation of the county palatine of Lancaster, Robinson and Alfred Butler, the guide to the Leven Sands, carried seven quarts of shrimps over the sands to Lancaster for the royal banquet. [11]

Related Research Articles

Morecambe Bay is a large estuary in northwest England, just to the south of the Lake District National Park. It is the largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand in the United Kingdom, covering a total area of 120 sq mi (310 km2). In 1974, the second largest gas field in the UK was discovered 25 miles (40 km) west of Blackpool, with original reserves of over 7 trillion cubic feet (tcf). At its peak, 15% of Britain's gas supply came from the bay but production is now in decline. It is also one of the homes of the high brown fritillary butterfly.

Grange-over-Sands Human settlement in England

Grange-over-Sands is a town and civil parish located on the north side of Morecambe Bay in Cumbria, England, a few miles south of the Lake District National Park. In the 2001 census the parish had a population of 4,042, increasing at the 2011 census to 4,114. Historically part of Lancashire, the town was created as an urban district in 1894. Since the 1974 local government re-organisation, it has been of the South Lakeland district of Cumbria, though it remains part of the Duchy of Lancaster.


Furness is a peninsula and region of Cumbria in northwestern England. Together with the Cartmel Peninsula it forms North Lonsdale, historically an exclave of Lancashire.

Arnside Human settlement in England

Arnside is a village and civil parish in Cumbria, historically part of Westmorland, near the border with Lancashire, England. The Lake District National Park is located a few miles North. Travelling by road, Arnside is 22 miles (35 km) to the south of Kendal, 25.3 miles (40.7 km) to the east of Ulverston, 35.2 miles (56.6 km) to the east of Barrow-in-Furness, 15.7 miles (25.3 km) to the west of Lancaster and 14.3 miles (23.0 km) to the east of Grange-over-Sands. In the 2001 census the parish had a population of 2,301, increasing at the 2011 census to 2,334.

History of Lancashire Aspect of history

Lancashire is a county of England, in the northwest of the country. The county did not exist in 1086, for the Domesday Book, and was apparently first created in 1182, making it one of the youngest of the traditional counties.

Chapel Island

Chapel Island is a limestone outcrop that lies in the Leven estuary of Morecambe Bay in England, less than one mile (1.6 km) from the shoreline at Bardsea in the area known as Ulverston Sands. It is located at 54.1741°N 3.0416°W. It is one of the Islands of Furness in the county of Cumbria, in the area of the historic county of Lancashire. The island is approximately 450 yards (410 m) long and just over 100 yards (91 m) at its widest. Its area is about 7.5 acres.

Kents Bank Human settlement in England

Kents Bank is a small village in Cumbria, England, so named for its proximity to the River Kent estuary. Part of the historic County Palatine of Lancashire, it is located 2 miles (3.2 km) south-west of Grange-over-Sands.

Silverdale, Lancashire Village in Lancashire, England

Silverdale is a village and civil parish within the City of Lancaster district of Lancashire, England. The village stands on Morecambe Bay, near the border with Cumbria, 4.5 miles (7 km) north west of Carnforth and 8.5 miles (14 km) of Lancaster. The parish had a population of 1,519 recorded in the 2011 census.

Galloways Society for the Blind

Galloway's Society for the Blind, also known as Galloways, is one of Lancashire's oldest charities, established in 1867 following a public meeting in the Corn Exchange, Preston, England. It was originally the Preston Industrial Institute for the Blind, then the Institute for Blind Welfare and until 2000 the Preston and North Lancashire Blind Welfare Society. It is now named after William Wilding Galloway, a cotton merchant from Preston who left £40,000 to local charities including £10,000 to the society when he died in 1936. The Society renamed itself in July 2000, to avoid its cumbersome previous name which was commonly abbreviated to the ambiguous "The Blind Society" and to honour its greatest benefactor.

The Ulverstone [sic] and Lancaster Railway Company was short-lived as a business but the line that it built is still in daily use. The line runs from Lindal-in-Furness to Carnforth where it joins what was then the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway. The intermediate stations are: Cark and Cartmel, Kents Bank, Grange-over-Sands, Arnside and Silverdale.

Slyne-with-Hest Human settlement in England

Slyne-with-Hest is a civil parish in the City of Lancaster in Lancashire, England. It had a population of 3,163 recorded in the 2001 census, decreasing to 3,126 at the 2011 Census. The parish is north of Lancaster and consists of two villages; Slyne, on the A6 road, and Hest Bank on the coast.

Cartmel Peninsula is a peninsula in Cumbria in England. It juts in a southerly direction into Morecambe Bay, bordered by the estuaries of the River Leven to the west and the River Winster to the east. It is, along with the Furness Peninsula, one of the two areas of that formed Lancashire North of the Sands, and the better known 'Furness' is often used to describe both peninsulae together. To its north, the peninsula's borders are usually given as the banks of Windermere and the border with the historic county of Westmorland between the Lake and the head of the Winster.

Morecambe Town in England

Morecambe is a seaside town in the City of Lancaster district in Lancashire, England, on the southern coast of Morecambe Bay.

Humphrey Head

Humphrey Head is a limestone outcrop situated south of the village of Allithwaite in Cumbria, England. It is whale-back-shaped and accessible for walkers, giving views over Morecambe Bay to Lancaster, Morecambe, Heysham and over the Leven estuary to Ulverston. There is an Ordnance Survey trig point at the top.

Holy Trinity Church, Morecambe Church in Lancashire, England

Holy Trinity Church, Morecambe, or Morecambe Parish Church, is in Church Street, Morecambe, Lancashire, England. It is the Anglican parish church of Morecambe, in the deanery of Lancaster, the archdeaconry of Lancaster and the diocese of Blackburn. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust is an NHS Foundation Trust in North West England, providing services in South Cumbria and North Lancashire in the Morecambe Bay area. It has about 6,000 employees and provides services for some 350,000 people.

Lancaster Medical School (LMS) is the smallest public medical school in the UK. It is located in Lancaster, Lancashire in North West England and is part of the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University. It is currently the UK's newest public medical school, with its first graduates, a cohort of 31, graduating in 2011. The current head of the medical school is Dr Rachel Isba

Cedric Robinson (guide) British walking guide (1933–2021)

Cedric Robinson was a British guide who held the position of Queen's Guide to the Sands, the recognised escort for travellers across the dangerous tidal sands of Morecambe Bay in north west England, for 56 years.

Bay Cycle Way

The Bay Cycle Way is an 80-mile (130 km) cycling route around Morecambe Bay in Lancashire and Cumbria in north west England. Most of it forms National Cycle Route 700, while other sections are waymarked as NCN 6, NCN 69 and NCN 70.

Cross Bay Walk Historic hiking route in Northwest England

The Cross Bay Walk is a historical hiking route in Northwest England that crosses Morecambe Bay. It traditionally connected Hest Bank, Lancashire with Kents Bank, Cumbria. The exact route of the walk varies depending upon local conditions, but is usually between 6 to 8 mi in length.


  1. 1 2 Fletcher, Joe (28 April 2019). "Change of the guard at Morecambe Bay as Michael becomes Queen's Guide". Westmorland Gazette. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  2. "Morecambe Bay's Queen's Guide to the Sands on why he loves his job". BBC News. 29 September 2013.
  3. Historic England. "Guides farmhouse and attached farm buildings (1269699)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  4. The Duchy of Lancaster - Lancashire Archived 3 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. 1 2 3 "Cedric Robinson: Morecambe Bay Queen's Guide to retire". BBC News. 6 April 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  6. "Morecambe Bay Guides – Lancashire". Duchy of Lancaster. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  7. Peter, David (1985). 'Cross Kent Sands. Lunesdale Publishing Group Limited. ISBN   094609103X.
  8. "History of the Guide Over the Sands". Guide Over Sands Trust. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  9. Pidd, Helen (12 April 2019). "Sands of time run out for Queen's Guide to Morecambe Bay". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  10. Manley, Stephanie (14 February 2013). "Queen's Guide to the Sands Cedric Robinson celebrates 50 years in the role". Westmorland Gazette. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  11. Mitchell, W.R. (1973). Across Morecambe Bay - by the Oversands route. Clapham, Yorkshire: Dalesman publications. pp. 8, 22. ISBN   0852061854.

Further reading