When I left the Victoria Lodge Hotel this morning the lady on reception handed me an envelope, it was to be the first donation to MacMillan of the day. She told me how close family and friends of hers had benefited from the organisation's wonderful services in the past.
The rain was falling again when I started walking. As I left Warrington I went over London Bridge, it crosses the Bridgewater Canal (not the Thames!). The A49, busy with rush-hour traffic, then took me across the M56. Once over the motorway I headed down the A559 Northwich Road. This was a nasty place to walk, busy with traffic and having only a very narrow footpath. I won't be spending any money in B&Q for a while, one of their lorries ploughed through a puddle and gave me a soaking when he could have easily moved a little into the other half of the road which had no oncoming traffic. When I approached a section that had no footpath at all and saw a warning sign saying '56 casualties in 3 years' I left the A-road and made the rest of my way to Northwich by country lanes. I did not fancy becoming casualty number 57.
The country roads were very quiet and a much nicer place to walk, I passed though pretty villages like Comberbach and Anderton and saw more of the canal. Entering Northwich the first thing that struck me was the huge ICI chemical works, I suppose they have to be built somewhere, but they can only be described as an eyesore. Right in the middle of all the works I crossed Winnington Bridge, a battle there in 1659 is considered to be the last of the English Civil War. Northwich's main shopping area looked very pleasant, being almost completely pedestrianised.
The Milk & More depot is very central in Northwich, just behind the pedestrianised area. When I arrived I was greeted by Mark and Ian who were on duty. They were a very friendly pair and after a long chat about the walk, the charity and general dairy stuff. I went on my way with a smile on my face and with a generous donation to MacMillan from both.
I didn't have to time to hang around because I wanted to walk the 12 miles to the Crewe depot before everybody there finished for the day. As I left Northwich the rain was really hammering down. The quickest route to Crewe was along King Street. It goes for several miles in a dead straight line, surely following an old roman road. It was OK to begin with, but when the road leaves Northwich the footpath disappears, it becomes narrow and is very busy. Huge HGVs come thundering towards you every few seconds, they can't pull out because there's just as much traffic going the other way, you just have to pray and dodge things as best you can, repeatedly getting covered in dirty spray. This stretch was awful, even worse than Northwich Road earlier in the day. I hated walking along here, it was easily the nastiest section of road on my walk so far. I managed to survive the ordeal to Middlewich where things were to become much easier. After more pleasant canal views and quiet country lanes I arrived at the Crewe Milk & More depot.
The Crewe depot's location is the total opposite to Northwich's, it is out in the country, I got there without seeing anything at all of Crewe itself. Manager Andy and several staff were still on site. I had another very warm welcome from a great bunch of people. Andy had already arranged a hotel for me for the night and gave me money to buy a meal. All the staff were very friendly and were keen to know about my walk. Again there was much generosity shown. When I left I had donations for MacMillan from Annette, Dennis and Lionel.
There were a couple of miles further to walk to make the hotel. Until this point my blister hadn't troubled me a day, but for some reason it felt sore for those last two miles, my shin seemed a little painful too. I will keep a close eye on both. The hotel turned out to be the classiest I've stayed at so far. This will be my third night in a row with a roof over my head at no cost to me thanks to my amazing colleagues at Milk & More.
GPS data click here
Mileage today; 24.30 miles, walking time 6 hrs 2 mins, average walking speed 4.0 mph
Weather; wet morning, heavy showers in the early afternoon before turning dry, max 18C
Cumulative mileage; 563.65 miles
|The plaque on Winnington Bridge|
|A picturesque old building near Crewe|
|I left this road here for obvious reasons|