We woke to a another beautiful day and the surroundings here are so attractive that it was very easy to decide to stay here for another night and do some walking and exploring. Liz and Robert had, it seemed, found it very easy to come to the same decision. They were bread making which required their engine to be run so we went off for a morning walk. Alan had printed a map off showing the footpaths we could follow, staying on this side of the canal. We went through the nature reserve, across the fields and up towards a lane that led to the small hamlet of Top o’ th’ Lane. From there we had wonderful views over the canal and the hills and woodlands opposite. We went back down to the canal past Denham Hall Farm. The entire walk had been through fields of cows with young calves and sheep with their lambs, which were still fairly young in comparison with those further south. The last field before the canal was full of young cattle who headed towards us briskly as we crossed to a bridge over a stream which marked the field’s boundary. We quickened our pace and so did they. We just made the stile and onto the bridge before they arrived to stand in a line blocking along the fence, watching us with great disappointment.
After lunch and a potter we set off again this time with Robert, Liz and Lily the dog. E crossed the canal and set off up the steep cobbled lane through Withnell Ford. It was fairly busy because it was school picking up time. As we passed the rows of beautifully maintained (and probably now quite expensive) paper-workers cottages a local man stopped to tell us about the village and point out a path we might take. We constantly find that people here are so friendly, and we met other people that we had long chats with on the walk. We followed the path and this took us through a buttercup meadow and towards Higher Wheelton. A cottage at the end of the path was selling free range hen and Aylesbury Duck eggs so we stopped and I bought six lovely brown hen’s eggs for 60p. Liz had six duck eggs for £1.40.
Crossing the main road we headed upwards, initially on the road towards Brinscall and then turned off past more very attractive houses (this is a very desirable area) and then onto the Pike Lowe plateau from which we had views over Preston, the Ribble Estuary, the Pennines, the Lake District and the sea in the distance. The hills and moors were stunning in the sunshine. Then we followed another lane back down towards the main road and the boats at Withnell Fold. It had been a good two hour walk through wonderful surroundings on a bright sunny afternoon. What better! We finished off with drinks on our private lawn in front of the boats (mowed in preparation for our arrival yesterday). There are two more boats further down and they have a brightly burning barbeque. It will be hard to tear ourselves away tomorrow.
Statistics so far:-
2534.05 Miles, 1494 Locks, 134 Swing Bridges, 90 Lift Bridges, 43 Tunnels