Today offered me a choice of two routes to Garstang. I could either walk along the Lancaster canal, a meandering 22 miles, or take the A6 which is more direct and would only require my legs to manage 18 miles. After yesterdays big mileage it seemed sensible to make the day as easy as possible, so I chose to go by road. Surprisingly when I set off my legs felt no different to usual despite yesterdays hard work. A night of hospitality at the Queens Hotel, where I had excellent value for my money, must have been an ideal tonic for tired legs.
The 7 miles to Lancaster, in much improved weather, went by in no time at all. I was close to the sea leaving Carnforth and caught occasional glimpses of Morecambe Bay to my right. With plenty of time in hand I stopped at Lancaster to browse in a few shops and have lunch. On my way out of town I came across a laundrette by chance, something I'd looked out for but been unable to find in the city centre, I stopped there for another hour to get yesterdays clothes washed. While I was sat watching the machine spinning I was amazed to receive a text message from the owners of the Queens Hotel telling me they'd decided to donate my room fee to MacMillan Cancer Support. Generous gestures like that are very touching and really help me focus on my motivations for doing this walk.
South of Lancaster at Galgate Marina I joined the canal for a while intending to walk just a couple of miles on a stretch parallel with the A6. This part of the canal is still open to traffic so it was quite different to yesterdays abandoned sections where the only users of the water were the local wildlife. Almost straight away I decided to over-rule my earlier route decision. The tranquility of the canal and the flat grassy towpaths beat a road easily. It would cost me an extra couple of miles, but my legs felt fine anyway, so I decided to take the canal the rest of the way to Garstang. It was a peaceful few miles, watching swans and ducks and a few longboats chug by. All I had for company on the towpath were occasional dog walkers and fishermen.
Arriving at Garstang the sign next to the canal informed me this is the worlds first fair trade town. When I found my B&B I had another pleasant surprise, there were empties on the doorstep, Dairy Crest Milk & More empties no less, my first sighting of them on my walk as I enter the northern limit of the area served by Milk & More.
Today felt fairly easy and relaxed compared to many previous days, tomorrow I need to put in a slightly higher mileage to reach the Milk & More depot at Wigan. With my projected final mileage looking like it will come in at slightly under 1,000 miles it's quite possible that I've already passed the halfway point of my epic journey.
GPS data click here
Mileage today; 19.91 miles, walking time 5 hrs 2 mins, average walking speed 4.0 mph
Weather; morning a few light showers, afternoon dry with bright spells, max 19C
Cumulative mileage; 495.06 miles
|I think you'll agree that canal traffic is preferable to road traffic for a walker|
|The empties I saw on the B&B doorstep|