A beloved guide, who has taken thousands of people safely across the treacherous sands to Piel Island, is gearing up for a new season.

Local historian and expert guide John Murphy is preparing to host his first tour of the island of the season this weekend.

After making the ‘difficult decision’ to retire from leading his popular walks last year, the expert has handed over the reins to a new guide and will instead meet people on the island to talk them through the history.

The Mail: John MurphyJohn Murphy (Image: Newsquest)

After guiding people across the sands for over 30 years, John can no longer do the walk but said he will carry on offering his knowledge and running a tour 'as long as my back, hips, legs, knees and spine let me.'

The 75-year-old chose Ben Pinder, a park ranger at Haven Lakeland Leisure Park, to carry on his legacy.

Weather permitting, the first walk of the season will set off from Snab Point on Walney at around 1pm on April 20 and cross the sands to Piel Island.

John said the walking tour was especially good for children as it teaches them about the local area and gives them an insight into the peninsula’s history. However it is best suited to children over six years old, who can confidently walk two miles.

Once they have reached Piel, the group will have a chance to explore and time to stop for a picnic or get a bite to eat and a cold pint from the newly renovated pub.

After stopping at The Ship Inn, John will lead a tour of the island, explaining the 800 years of history from the Middle Ages to the modern day.

The Mail: The historic Piel IslandThe historic Piel Island (Image: Submitted)

John said: “I’m looking forward to the first walk of the year, I can’t wait. It’s always nice to get outside for some fresh air but it all comes down to weather, let’s hope it picks up.”

Taking it at a ‘comfortable’ pace provides plenty of stops for people to take in the views and to enjoy the experience together.

“It’s low-key,” he said. "There's some fun learning about smuggling, monks, pirates, and the castle before a meander back home. Hopefully we’ll see some seals.”

John is eagerly awaiting the long-anticipated screening of a new documentary featuring his local knowledge and the beauty of Piel Island after a film crew began videoing last year.

In 2023, an Irish media company called Tern TV was commissioned for a four-part series by Channel Four.

Tiny Islands is set to focus on a number of different places within the British Isles including Barrow.

John said he was originally told that the series would be appearing in March this year but as of yet no airing date has been announced.