To the hordes of holidaymakers traditionally flocking from Bradford to Morecambe, the barefoot man with the wooden staff has long been a familiar sight.

Records of guides leading people across Morecambe Bay date back to 1536, but none can match Cedric Robinson. He has held the historic post of Queen’s Guide To The Sands for nearly half a century, longer than any of his recorded predecessors.

The role was introduced to guide travellers across the treacherous shifting sands. Cedric took over, with responsibility for the River Kent side of Morecambe Bay, at the age of 30, and his cross-bay walks are internationally-renowned, with 10,000 people a year completing them.

He has led Royalty and celebrities such as Ilkley’s Alan Titchmarsh, Victoria Wood and Melvyn Bragg across the bay.

Cedric’s autobiography Sandman tells the fascinating story of his life. Born to fisherfolk in Flookburgh, Cedric spent much of his childhood cockling in the bay. The glosssy coffee-table book includes wonderful old photographs of cocklers and shrimpers with horse-drawn carts waiting to load up with a catch from the tides.

Cedric’s first fishing trip was with a friend and his horse. “The cart was under the water and Sep lifted me on to the fore end, holding me with one arm and gradually pulling the horse round with the other,” he writes. “The cold water came up to my waist, I found it hard to breathe as Sep brought the horse slowly round and it swam for the shore. I remember Sep saying, in fisherman dialect, ‘gu-lad, gu-lad, tha’ll mek it’.”

Cedric’s most memorable walk was on May 30, 1985 when he led the Duke of Edinburgh on the Royal Carriage Crossing. With helicopters whirring overhead, Cedric found it a challenge to make sure the 12 carriages didn’t get too close together, as this would soften the sand and make it dangerous.

“Prince Philip’s carriage moved off at a greater rate and I had in mind what the organisers of the drive had told me: ‘Don’t let the Duke have his own way!’ Although I asked the Duke to slow down his team, as we were leaving the others behind, he wanted to know why he should do so. I had to tell him!”

“The bay is an amazing place,” he writes. “Anyone who ventures out on to the endless expanses of sand can’t help but be overwhelmed. At high tide the bay can be deceptively calm but it’s dynamic.

“Tidal bores can run over the sands at nine knots, moving tons of sand, building up banks, gouging out deep, muddy channels and scraping out melgraves (deep holes) that fill with quicksand. A strong wind with a high tide can play havoc, hurling great waves, smashing embankments and moving large areas of salt marsh away. These are living sands always on the move.”