“Your car will be ready about 4pm, we’ll phone you”
I’m in one of the outlets on the vast ‘motor village’ out by the docks in Preston where one can buy just about any make of vehicle. It was just after 9am in the garage reception area, more like a lawyers office than a garage but the mechanics must be hiding somewhere. Last year I took the opportunity to cycle round the Preston Guild Wheel but I’m limited to easy walking at the moment. The day was perfect, blue skies and winter sun. I had to make the most of it so I planned on walking a 7 mile stretch of the Guild Wheel, its NW segment. But first a free coffee and a read of the paper – I had a lot of time to fill.
I knew from past experience that I wouldn’t enjoy the first noisy mile alongside the main road but as soon as this was crossed and left behind peace and tranquility returned. One’s mind becomes clearer and the rural calm helps with those nagging problems. The sun always helps.
I found myself on the Ribble Link which gives access at long last from the Lancaster Canal to the rest of the network once across The River Ribble. On a whim I decided to follow it towards the river but after a short distance and a couple of locks the the ‘path’ was too boggy for my trainers. As it is a new structure, 2002, there was no need for a traditional towpath. This link is basically Savick Brook which has been widened and equipped with locks to make it navigable. At a nearby bridge I watched some regular dredging going on and was able to chat about the Link with the Canal Trust workers. I have never seen a boat on this length before and wondered about its usefulness but they assured me 300 boats passed through last year.
Through the UCLAN sports grounds and alongside housing at Cottam on maturing paths, dog walkers, pram-pushers, runners and cyclists all sharing and happy in the sunshine.
Soon one wanders into new developments appearing everywhere in north Preston like the pox. Their names are fanciful. They never come up with Muddy Meadows, Crowded Copse, Restricted View, Non-environmental Nook, Flooding Fields, Ruined Manor…
Broughton village however has recovered its relative tranquility since the long awaited by-pass has opened. The road is barely recognisable. Where’s the traffic queue? Probably somewhere else but they deserve a bit of peace for awhile.In a slower mode I noticed for the first time a stone ‘pinfold’ [where stray animals were held until collected] by the path and also a war memorial.
I walked on crossing the new road, named in honour of a local man awarded the Victoria Cross in the WW1. I was eager to see what has become of the cycle route along Durton Lane since the road works, again it is a changed world. There is no longer any through traffic but engulfing housing will eventually destroy its character.
A couple of snippets from this area …
I let my phone guide me through the residential streets near the hospital and then on familiar ground down Plungington Road to enjoy a late lunch in my favourite south Indian cafe, RK Sweets. Vegetable thali for £5.
Rather than catch a bus just yet I wanted to put more miles into the lovely day so on I walked through the University area and past the international cafes of Friargate. What an opportunity to look at the newly refurbished market hall which though not yet fully running could give some life back into Preston city centre. I don’t come into town very often and I ended up in Wilkinson’s Camera shop spending money on an impulsive purchase of a replacement compact. Nearby was the bus station which is also being refurbished as part of Preston’s improvements. The crowded bus dropped me a mile short of the garage so in the end I’d walked about 13 miles by the allotted 4pm
“Everything is OK and you’ve passed the MOT” So all’s well.
I like your concocted residential names. I would have been tempted to research the backstory on the VC guy. An interesting walk and better than being harangued by the sales staff at the garage – you might have ended up buying a new car rather than a new camera.
Thats easy –
James Towers VC (9 September 1897 – 24 January 1977) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Towers from Broughton, Preston, Lancashire, worked on his father’s farm before attempting to enlist in July 1915. When it was discovered that he was underage, he was sent home. He tried again in August 1916, originally enlisting in the 5th Dragoon Guards, but he soon transferred to the 2nd Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).
He was 21 years old, and a private in the 2nd Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 6 October 1918 at Méricourt, France, when five runners had failed to deliver an important message, Private Towers, while aware of the fate of those who had already attempted the task, volunteered for the duty. In spite of the heavy fire opened on him as soon as he moved, he went straight through from cover to cover and eventually delivered the message. His determination and disregard of danger was an inspiring example.
You know what I’m like with car salesmen.
Good to hear that he survived that dreadful business.
I was no match for the camera salesman!