Monday, 13 July 2009

Six miles is a long way. Who knew?

On Saturday I went for a 6 mile walk through the Lancashire countryside. I hadn't planned to go on such a long walk, but on the Saturday morning I had a phone call from my friend J as I sat in my dressing gown, drinking tea, prepared for a lazy day. She invited me to join her on a walk organised by her local church, and I jumped at the chance. The weather was good, the girls were at their Dad's and I had a new pair of walking shoes that needed breaking in.

J lives near Wigan in Lancashire which is a surprisingly picturesque area. Surprising because of it's industrial heritage and mining history. The leader of the walking group, Douglas, was a keen local historian which really made a difference to the walk as he talked about the local history. Sounds boring? I promise it wasn't.
The plan was to walk cross-country alongside farm land, using a right of way across a golf course and ending at a former mining village for their summer fête.

We were a small group of 8 people. I think J and I were probably the youngest, and J's mum had also come along. She is an amazingly fit 79 year old, and seemed quite comfortable with the length of the walk although she said "miles seemed to be a lot shorter" when she was younger.

When we arrived at the town where the fête was being held, we could see the canal path that we would return along.

There were plenty of games for visitors to the fête, books and bric-a-brac to buy, a cake stand and refreshments which were very welcome after the first half of the walk.

We walked back along the canal towpath, which would originally have been for horses to use as they pulled the barges full of coal. The Leeds-Liverpool Canal was built (do you build canals?) around about 1794, and as the main industry in the area was coal mining the canals were used to transport the coal.

At one point our Douglas pointed out that we were standing in a spot where we could see how the history of transport had developed.

In the foreground you can see the canal, which was used for transporting coal in the 18th century. In the far middle distance you can just see a white railway bridge which would have transported the coal in the 19th century, and then at the top of the photo is the 20th century equivalent, the motorway. Three centuries of history in one photo. Well, I was impressed anyway!

I love the name of this barge!

It was a hot day, and we passed these cows cooling off in a shallow part of the canal. Earlier we had also happened upon young boys jumping into the canal, which is strange enough in these safety conscious days, but these boys were naked. Yup. Boys of around 10 or 12 in their birthday suits. I was so taken aback I nearly squashed a toddler in the canal's swing gate (don't ask). Actually, I did squash him but he was OK, thank goodness. I blame the nekkid boys.

So, a very pleasant afternoon was had by all, my walking shoes are well and truly broken in and two days later my legs are still feeling the effect of the walk.


Maternal Tales said...

Six miles IS a long way - I'd say you were brave even to attempt it (but that's just lazy me speaking)! Sounds like you had a great day and looks like the weather was good too. Poor squashed toddler!!! ;-)) xxx

Mervat said...

Good on you for doing this on the spur of the moment! Sounds like it was a wonderful day.

Love the three-in-one photo of the progress in transport. How very clever of you!

Imogen Lamport said...

Sounds like a lovely day!

Looking Fab in your forties said...

What a lovely thing to do on the spur of the moment!

Jane said...

I know the Leeds-Liverpool Canal well.
It sounds like a wonderful day with all the glorious pleasures of yesteryear still very much in evidence.

Audi said...

That sounds like a wonderful day! Your story makes me long for more travel, and England is a place I certainly want to explore.

Expat mum said...

What a great way to get exercise.

see you there! said...

You'd have had to leave me about a mile in and pick me up on the way back, LOL!

The photo's are great, I particularly like the one with the cows, so pastoral.


La Belette Rouge said...

That walkway by the water is gorgeous. I think I could walk 8 miles with all that beauty around me and even longer if I got to walk with you.;-)
p.s. That puppy is so cute!

notSupermum said...

Maternal Tales/Emily: yes, I realise that 6 miles is a long walk now - the pains in my legs keep reminding me!

Mervat, I was glad I took up the invitation - I'm not very spontaneous usually, so I was glad it turned out so well.

Imogen - yes, thanks it was.

Looking Fab - it's the sort of thing I should do more often!

notSupermum said...

Jane, I imagine 6 miles is piffle to you? I really enjoyed learning about the local history, it made the walk so much more interesting.

Audi, I hope you get to visit England and you are more than welcome to stay with us when you're travelling through.

Expatmum, walking is my favourite form of exercise - it's free, and you get fresh air and sometimes good scenery.

Darla, we could have dropped you off at a pub on the canal and met you again on the way back! The cows in the canal made me smile too.

La belette - we met quite a few cute dogs out walking along the canal, but that one was super cute. I have some news that might make you smile - I am thinking of getting a dog! More to come on that.

La Belette Rouge said...

A dog?????????? Tell me more.:-)))))

notSupermum said...

La belette, can't say too much just yet - will be able to tell you more after Wednesday.

A Confused Take That Fan said...

Sounds like an idyllic day in England, the photos are fab, love the one of the cows cooling off.

SandyCalico said...

How lovely, great photos too!

notSupermum said...

ACTTF - hello stranger! Nice to hear from you, are you blogging again?

Tessa, I'm sure you would have enjoyed it too. The naked boys were really having fun!

Sandy - thank you!