Today would turn out to be very different to any day on my walk so far. Until now this had been a one man event with me gradually making my way down the country completely alone.
Lorna was very courageous to be the first person to volunteer to join me on the walk and had been busy raising sponsorship money for MacMillan before my arrival. She doesn't walk too much and wasn't sure how she'd do, but after meeting her I was confident that her determination to do her very best for such a good cause would be enough to carry her all the way.
The weather didn't make our task any easier. The rain started to fall almost as soon as we set off. During the first big downpour we took cover under a bus stop shelter and our waterproofs had to go on. We pressed on despite the rain, having somebody to talk to for a change really helped pass the time and took my mind completely off the weather and the walking. When we had covered a bit more than half the distance we stopped in a pub for a while to rest our legs and get in the dry for a bit.
After getting back on the road we passed Haydock Park racecourse before reaching the outskirts of Warrington. Lorna bravely pushed through a tough patch with a couple of miles to go, stubbonly refusing to give into her tired legs. Soon after the rain eased off enough for Lorna to take off the bulky Milk & More coat she'd had to wear to keep dry, from that moment on she seemed to grow stronger again and the last mile soon went.
We were both elated to reach our destination, the Howley Milk & More depot in Warrington. Lorna had managed to walk more than a half marathon in a shade over 4 hours despite the bad weather, a fantastic achievement. We had little time to rest though, another press photographer was waiting and within minutes of arrival we were posing for more pictures.
At Warrington I met office girl Lesley and manager Peter, he had very generously arranged local accommodation and a meal at no cost to myself. My place to stay for the night was a couple of miles to the south in the Stockton Heath district, the same way I shall be heading in the morning. I refused the offer of a lift and walked the extra distance to give me a little less to do tomorrow. On the way I crossed the River Mersey, then the Manchester Ship Canal via a huge swing bridge. Taking off my boots I noticed I have my first blister, it's below the ankle on my right foot, I didn't feel it at all while I was walking.
Tomorrow I shall be dropping in at two more Milk & More depots at Northwich and Crewe. Today had been a wonderful day and I was very fortunate to meet some great people. In particular I'd like to say an extra big thank-you to Lorna, Kev, Angela and Peter.
GPS data click here
Mileage today; 15.44 miles, walking time 4 hrs 40 mins, average walking speed 3.3 mph
Weather; rain, max 18C
Cumulative mileage; 539.95
|The Halliwell Jones Stadium, home of Warrington Wolves|
|Passing Haydock Park|
|Lorna took this picture of me next to an old mile marker|