Another interesting Lancashire ride plucked from the bikehike cycle routes map, utilising NCR 90 and 6 plus some other bits I made up on the way. Don’t forget, by clicking the pictures may be magnified.
I’ve been reading a book over the last few nights, ‘Lancashire Magic and Mystery’ by a Kenneth Fields. It is far more than the mysterious, delving into the history and culture of the Red Rose County. I’d never heard of Plough Sunday before, a celebration of the start of the agricultural year in the first weeks of January. The book informed me that in agricultural parishes, a plough would be taken into church for blessing. This morning I found myself wandering around the grounds of Winmarleigh Church, St. Luke’s, and there by the entrance was a plough. I wondered about the connection.
I had stopped initially because of a mausoleum I could see in the churchyard, it was dedicated to the Reddaway family of Winmarleigh Hall who had been instrumental in the church’s construction in 1875. Lord Winmarleigh, paying the renowned Lancaster architects Paley and Austin for its design and build. He lived across the way in Winmarleigh Hall.
Surprised to find the church door open, I stepped inside. A long nave took my eyes to the chancel, with an impressive organ in the south porch. Whilst I was going forwards, I surprised a lady engrossed in her church duties. We chatted away about the church and its past. Her main concern was the financial support for the church in a small community. I brought up the topic of ‘Plough Sunday’. She remembered, as a child, ploughs being brought into the church but now said that a tractor with a plough draws up outside to be blessed on Plough Sunday. What a wonderful piece of history. (The plough turned out to be a seeding machine)
I was on a cycle ride from Garstang, on the Wyre, to Pilling, bordering the Lune. It was all fairly flat drained land, and being so open the westerly headwind seemed troublesome. Once I had turned the corner and was heading to Cockerham, my pedalling became much easier and the miles slipped by. A sign said ‘kill your speed, not a cyclist‘. It didn’t seem to make any difference to the rushing motors. Anyhow, I survived into Cockerham and soon escaped onto a quieter lane signed optimistically ‘The Lancashire Cycleway’.
Dodging around the main road, I was soon on a fast series of lanes over the Lancaster Canal, over the busy A6 and around the Bay Horse and railway. Hollins Lane took me past a friends’ house who were unfortunately away.
A steep lane took me down into the Wyre valley, where there are a group of fishing lakes close to the motorway. In the distance was the tower of Forton Service station, Grade II listed along with the churches I visited, and the spire of Scorton church, a well-known M6 landmark. Looming over all is Nicky Nook, 214m.
I cycled along a private road through Wyresdale Park which is now a wedding venue, glamping site and private fishing lake with a popular café for those climbing Nicky Nook. I ignored the café and continued into Scorton where there is a temporary takeaway serving coffee and snacks from a Citroën van. Refreshed, I was soon back at my parked car, no not the Mustang.