Preston Guild Wheel. October 12th.
I was already halfway around The Guild Wheel today when I saw this sign… I wasn’t sure as to why it was alongside the works for the new Preston link road but it fitted my mood for today. I usually cycle the Guild Wheel anticlockwise for dubious reasons, but today I had decided to reverse it and go clockwise, which is what the majority do.
That led to a debate in my head as to how we choose the direction for a circular walk or in this case cycle ride. Clockwise is the obvious choice as the name suggests, but other factors come into consideration. If a route is chosen from a guide book then we will naturally follow its instructions for ease of navigation, expecting the author to have planned the optimum way.
Planning one’s own route from a map there are choices to be made. Gradients differ depending on the direction, you may favour a slow gradual ascent to a steep short one or vice versa. But then the descent has to be taken into consideration, a climb involving scrambling is usually safer in ascent. Do you tackle the climbing at the start of the day when you are fresh or be faced with it as you tire towards the end? If road walking is part of the route again is this better sooner or later.
Weather plays a part. The wind direction should be taken into account to try and avoid walking into a gale on the high ground, have the wind at your back in those situations. If rain and cloud is forecast it is usually better to be lower down when it is at its worst. Unfortunately our variable weather patterns mean there is no certainty in making the right decision.
It is possible that views, particularly in the mountains, are supposedly superior from one direction than the other, so this may influence your decision. Also, the position of the sun will influence you if photography is important.
This is becoming complicated. No two people will agree on the best option and it is interesting when walking with friends how our choices differ. Compromise is usually needed or the toss of a coin!
Linear walks come up with similar dilemmas. East to west or west to east. North to south or south to north. On long distance walks once you have made your choice if the weather changes bringing wind and rain into your face it’s a case of c’est la vie.
Whatever your choice you always have the chance to repeat the route in the opposite direction giving a totally new perspective. Two for the price of one. Next time you are out on your favourite walk or ride do it the other way round.
As I said that is what I was doing today.
I cycled along a shady path and then came out onto the embankment overlooking the River Ribble. This is in fact the outer wall of the basin leading to the docks, the ‘Bullnose’, separating the dock entrance from the Ribble. The glory days of the dock, once Europe’s largest inland dock, are long gone, they closed for commercial use in 1981 and now used as a marina and leisure facility. I was able to go right to the end of the Bullnose jutting out into the river for views out towards the estuary.
The Bullnose is obviously popular with anglers, judging from the number there today. They fish for eel and flounder, and this angler landed a small flounder whilst I was chatting to him.
Usually there is a bridge over the locks at the end of the promontory but today the lock gates were open so I had to backtrack around the outer basin to the main swing bridge at the dock entrance. I was then back on the guild wheel to complete my clockwise circuit with views back over to the Bullnose.