My camera went into ‘frozen mode’ after a short time on my latest cycle around Preston’s Guild Wheel. Gone for now are the pictures of the Ribble in flood mode, the harmful Giant Hog Weeds and the cautionary notice to dismount on the steep descent to Brockholes. I had no reason to ignore the latter, I’ve been going from one injury to another in the last month, so caution was uppermost. I had parked in the Crematorium grounds after all.
Ospreys have been regular visitors to the nature reserve recently, but obviously not today. They do have a problem with Himalayan Balsam though. It was surprisingly quiet considering the good weather and school holidays. They must be all at Blackpool, not the ospreys just the crowds.
The rural ride from the reserve along the Ribble Flood Plain into town is unfortunately virtually the last of the green fields on the wheel, housing has taken over elsewhere in the last few years.
My phone camera comes into action on the tree lined boulevard into Avenham Park. Miller Park is looking immaculate, although the former, now empty, Park Hotel overlooking the scene has run into planning and financial problems as have many civic schemes in these cash strapped days.
Plenty of cash is being spent on flood defences along Broadgate. I manage to squeeze through wheeling my bike on the numerous diversions/obstructions which I should have or could have taken, I persist with the directissimo. It is all green paint for updated and complicated cycleways at the bottom of Fishergate Hill, I survive into Docklands. No steam trains today. And no more photos.
After the car showrooms the newly opened Western Distributor road linking the M55 with the western edge of Preston seems to be working fine, but at the end of the day is only there to link up with all the new housing developments. The traffic just keeps multiplying without any structured environmental planning. Planting a few trees alonside the new road fools nobody. I have never seen a boat on the Ribble Link – more money misplaced? At least it is more carbon friendly if that makes any difference.
One now enters Lea, Cottam, Fulwood and Broughton or wherever. It is all housing, housing with a regulation 5 m square front garden often enclosed in the most unfriendly hedgehog fencings. At least the Guild Wheel has been preserved as a corridor to the other end.
I stop for a snack and contemplation opposite the war memorial on Garstang Road and all I can hear are builders bulldozers in the land behind me. Nothing is sacred.
I’m flagging now through those green corridors, surprisingly lots of ups and downs. 21 miles is far enough, but I have guilded the wheel, even though it is becoming a little tarnished.