Despite being rather disparaging about my cycling exploits in a recent post  [Irwell Valley 1]  I’ve been out for shorter rides [20 – 25 miles] mainly around, rather than over, Longridge Fell. All of a sudden I feel some fitness returning, that toe is not complaining too much and I’m enjoying the weather. Why at my age do I still feel the need to get fitter? Of course, I know the answer — I want to keep active as long as possible, exploring the outdoors at home or abroad. So my fate is sealed. After my cycle through ‘The Trough’ the other day, I muttered about doing 50 miles next. Today I had in mind to cycle through the Trough again but in the reverse direction, which I reckoned would be harder.

The doorbell rang at 9am and there was Al in cycling mode. Are you going through the Trough?  I enquired.  No, I’ve just been,  he replied!    He’s always been known for his early starts, today he’d left Preston at 6am and was hoping to be working by 10. But first cups of tea and catch-ups.

No excuse now. Pedalled away up past Chipping and into the Hodder Valley, feeling rather sluggish I was dawdling along towards Whitewell in my own thoughts.  Alongside came a fit-looking cyclist and rather than speed past as most do, he slowed down for a chat. He gently mocked my ancient gear changing leavers [Campag!] — any gear will do scenario. He’d already cycled from Bolton and was in for a long day. This was nothing for him as he’d just returned from cycling in the Alps including an ascent of Alpe d’hues. I felt my pace quickening to keep up.  I relaxed when he turned off to Slaidburn. Uplifted by our meeting I sped along Langden valley but was soon struggling on the steeper Trough itself.  OK — I walked the last few hundred feet, admiring the purple heather which has just bloomed. It is harder from this side!

I came back to life on the descent and was soon through Dolphinhome and across the A6. Here I decided to make a longer loop home, so I ended up in Cockerham where I hoped to find a café — nothing. Made a mistake of going out towards Knott End and not able to find a road going south towards St. Michaels, the lane I chose meandered me back to Cockerham!  Down the road, however, I was saved by a café/ice cream parlour, The Pudding House. Most people were queuing for massive ice creams….…. but I was happier with a pot of tea and a lifesaving date slice — thank you.

Knew my way from there via Garstang and Inglewhite and arrived home rather weak legged — 52 miles!  Had also climbed 2500ft, so it turned out a hillier 50 than I had intended.


  1. Alan Bates

    Nice one John, that was a mile more than me yesterday. I could see you had the bit between your teeth as I was leaving.
    Thanks for the brew and good to catch up.


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