Preston to Garstang – 13.7 miles (526 total)
The days are starting to merge in to one again. Somebody asked me a couple of days ago where had I walked from the previous day – my mind went completely blank, I honestly couldn’t remember. After a minute or so I recalled that it was Wigan, but it was a struggle. I can just about work my way back to identify where I was on the same day the previous week, and the one before, and so on. It’s understandable, I suppose, says me, hoping it is not a sign of old age.
The weather today was sunny although still pretty cold. No complaints, though, dry is always perfect for walking. Dave’s train from Glasgow arrived in Preston on time and we met up outside our hotel not long after 10am. Our day started with a long walk through town before joining up with my final canal in England, the Lancaster Canal. By my calculation I have used at least eleven canals as paths on my travels, a journey that has taken me from the extreme south-west of Cornwall to the fringes of the Lake District in the north of England.
We saved 2 miles of unnecessary canal walking by cutting out a long loop and walking along a road. Yet again I crossed swords with the M6 motorway, this time walking over it. At Swillbrook we rejoined the canal for a pleasant walk northwards. The towpath was gentle on the feet which suited both Pete and I because we both had blisters that wouldn’t heal.
Our interim destination was Bilsborrow, around 10 miles into our walk, and a pub called Owd Nells Tavern.
Our day’s distance was scheduled to be in the region of 14 miles so a stop at 10 miles is ideal. By that stage you have most of your trek behind you, so you can relax knowing that there is only an hour to an hour and a half to go. The pub was inviting, friendly, reasonably priced and busy. Looking back, I would say it was the best pub of the walk so far. We all enjoyed it but didn’t overstay our welcome.
As we headed towards our day’s end the first glimpse of the hills and mountains of the Lake District appeared on the horizon. My route over the next few days will take me along its eastern edge. The last stretch went by quickly and Pete and I booked into our hotel, just short of Garstang, before 5pm. Dave had arranged alternative accommodation at the other side of town.
Pete wasn’t sure if he would do the whole walk today, but he managed it with no ill effects. He also hopes to be able to do the complete walk tomorrow to Lancaster. With the help of the company and the weather I found today’s leg very enjoyable.