Day 41: 03 May 2014; Standish to Kirkham

Day 41: 03 May 2014; Standish to Kirkham
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 41
Date Sat 03 May 2014 Start to end time 08h 30m
Start point Standish End point Kirkham
Miles today 22.48 Cu miles 771.71
Ft today 595 Cu ft 113,237
Route miles left 707.12 Route ft left 84,382
Today’s weather Bright and dry, hazy sun. Cold in the morning, about 15C by afternoon. No wind
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

I realise that I’m using the phrase “surprisingly interesting” in relation to my days’ walking rather a lot at the moment. And I think it applies to today’s hike as much as to any other.

I set off at 7:30 from my overnight stay in the hotel near the baked bean factory, and emerged into a bright and sunny, but cold, morning. The main aim of today’s walk was to make Northerly progress, but also to move West again, and regain the “correct” route of my LEJOG hike, which I’d had to abandon temporarily in order to find accommodation. So I headed in the direction of Wrightington, to be greeted by a street-side display of very elaborate scarecrows, being assembled as part of an annual competition. Some were extremely realistic and certainly a lot of effort had gone into them.

Then I moved on to reach Leyland, using a very pleasant path through fields and beechwoods heavy with the scent of bluebells and passing the decaying “Camelot” theme park – now closed and proposed to be turned into a giant new housing estate.

By the time I reached Leyland, I decided it was time for a break so I dropped into the café of a local Tesco supermarket. It was a pretty charmless place, to be honest – I much prefer the character of a proper Greasy Spoon, but it served up a decent cup of tea at least. As I was daydreaming about the rest of the day’s walk, I was unexpectedly joined by a relative of one of the Scouts from my local home Scout group. He’d heard about my walk from his relatives “back home” hand had tracked me down via my GPS beacon.

It was a surprise and delight to talk to him – he’d lived in the area all his life and told me about the history of Leyland truck manufacture (which, as you might guess from the name, started here) and about the Tank factory, built by the Government in the 1950s. It was here that the renowned “Centurion” Tank was manufactured. The buildings are still there, but I don’t think Tanks are made there any more.

I then plodded on to Preston. I’m finding these suburban rambles quite enjoyable, actually. The weather is warm, the going is easy, and I find I can switch off and daydream a bit. (This can be a bit hazardous as at one point I lost concentration and almost tripped over a kerb – much to my embarrassment but also to my alarm as I realised that I could quite easily have fallen and ended up with a broken ankle).

In Preston I passed a Harley-Davidson garage. It was being attended by a coterie of men who looked as if they had probably just finished their surfing courses at St Ives and decided that it was more practical to pursue the rest of their collective mid-life crises on the back of a 1200cc motorbike.

Moving on from Motorcycle Mecca, I joined the Lancaster canal, which I’m going to follow almost all the way for the next 3 days. It’s over 200 years old and is the longest canal in the UK with no locks. So it is absolutely flat – making for exceptionally easy walking. It is also known as the “Black and White” canal – because coal was carried North from Preston and Limestone was carried South from Kendal.

After a fairly easy, but long, walk, I ended up in my “field with a tap” campsite. It’s pretty basic but clean and tidy, and I have taken the precaution of bringing my toothbrush to the pub with me. But yes, it’s another joyous night without a shower!

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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A shadow of my former self… I’m not sure this rucksack is doing much for my posture! At Wrightington, close to the start of the walk, there was a village scarecrow competition in full swing. Some of the entries were v impressive and one of the local residents I spoke to said it was a brilliant way of getting everyone in the village talking to one another
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Harley-Davidson showroom. Heaven for those in the midst of their mid-life crises At the start of the Lancaster Canal, which I’l;l be following for most of the next three days
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A rather unusual notice. Westinghouse Springfields is the factory where the fuel rods for most of the UK’s nuclear reactors are assembled. This is the sum total ogf the facilities at my campsite tonight. Have brought my toothbrush to the pub
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Slightly Hollywood-esque decaying remains of the former Camelot theme park – now proposed to be turned into a massive new housing estate
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