Vroom vroom vroom
Acton Bridge to Hurst Green
The Cheshire plain made for easy cycling but the traffic was heavy. Lots of flash cars, many many pelotons of cyclists, with figures like whippets, on carbon fibre bikes.
Travelling through High Legh, Comberbach, around Pickmere, so many places with so many memories of growing up locally – the main one being that of excursions to pick flowers /hedgerow fruit for dad’s home made wine. Dandelions in articulat.
Great Budworth is the perfect costume drama town – and frequently used as such – everything looks perfect but I fear that to live there would be to risk tremendous opprobrium for the mildest infraction.
Worryingly on one road, noted to be ‘busy’ , there were multiple signs warning of the high number of casualties every year…..We turned to one side to verify our situation – we’d overshot – when a knight of the road appeared (another whippet in cycling gear) and guided us back to the route. It was Tolkien-esque as he materialised from nowhere to guide us on our way. Could we trust him? Was he sent by the dark forces?
The wizard was given the name ‘Bill’. Whilst in training for his present role he’d done lejog in 1967. Alone. And as he guided us round the congested roads to Leigh he showed us the local sights: proposed route of HS2, the local firing range, the rubbish dump. But genuinely he was a lovely guy and a great help.
Caught up on a one way system in Leigh we found ourself outside a Nando’s, so took the opportunity, despite great trepidation, to do another ‘first’ and try it out. Directed Round the back by a lovely but apparently not very awake girl. Who asked if we were cyclists (!) we discovered a different world of industrial heritage and canal (? The Bridgwater? ).
The lovely girl who was really interested in our trip bought our lunch (no way would she accept money). Keith annoyingly asked her name – obviously Lucy as it said so on her badge. Gemma she said. He smiled.
The metal fence field boundaries of Cheshire morphed into dry stone walls of Lancashire, and the red stone of the sandstone fault turned to millstone grit as we climbed from Leigh up over the top, past Rivington and the reservoir, down via ribchester, along the languid River Ribble and to hurst green, on the way to clitheroe.
A glorious day with temperatures in the high twenties we struggled with the climbs today. It felt like Dartmoor all over again.
But we heard larks and curlews, saw a Little Owl and some alpacas, heard lots of laughter outside the many many traditional pubs in this beautiful area and ended the day at the Bayley Arms, Hurst Green.
Mechanical issues: 1 (it’s normally the same one)
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The Bayley Arms is posh too. Pea shoot tops in the salad.