Day 9, Saturday 31 May, 2014 - Crewe to Garstang

Dist : 113 km
Riding time: 5:42
Total time (including stops) : 7:45
Stops: 3
Climb meters up/down 650/694

Today was the flattest day of cycling, and the weather started out grey and by mid-afternoon was a stunning, clear skies. This brought out lots of POMs in their summer outfits, but still a bit cool at 16 deg for me.

The cycling was a day of surprises. I try to do a bit of research in case a deviation takes me past a tourist attraction, but generally it's a full time job planning the route and writing up the blog.

Leaving Crewe, I went via a quite road to Middlewich which seemed to be famous for dairy farming and cat fishing. The smell of a dairy farm is never forgotten.

I had morning tea (yep >20km cycled) at a lovely coffee shop in Warrington, before heading towards Preston.

At Northwich, there was a narrow boat canal about 1 metre above the rode, which seemed strange to see boats at a level above. Turns out this was not unusual, as the area is full of canals and locks and caravan style narrow boats traveling up and down.

The rugby league city of Wigan was next, where I found a nice statue of an oval ball. It was a large city, full of round-abouts and shopping centers.

At Bamber Bridge, there was the skeleton of an amazing old building. Some local kids told me they had knocked the best bits down, and it had been a cotton mill. WWW told me it was 100yr old Bamber Bridge Spinning & Weaving Company Mill that had closed in 1959, and just this building was preserved for inclusion in future housing development.

On towards Preston, I spotted a cycling path sign and this took me and many others out on this nice day along an old railway track cycling path. There was a rock concert in a paddock just out of Preston - younger generation of Jimmy Pages belting out classic rifts.

Preston had grand old building and a wonderful park along the river.

Next it was the remaining km to my hotel on the other side of Garstang. After a shower, and plugging in all the electronics to be daily charged, I walked the kilometre back to town for a look. The houses I saw had immaculately maintained garden, and the town was neat and tidy, and claimed be the first "free trade town" in UK.

Dinner was in the hotel, and I noted an up coming 'Northern Soul and Motown' music night.

Tomorrow it's 30km cycling only to the Heysham Ferry Terminal for the 4 hour ferry to the IOM. It's getting exciting as there are now lots of motorcycles in the road heading to the ferry.

 The scenic country lane the GPS tried to ignore.

The scenic country lane the GPS tried to ignore.

 Bamber Bridge Mill redevelopment site. The local kids told me they knocked down the best part- at least they kept this part.

Bamber Bridge Mill redevelopment site. The local kids told me they knocked down the best part- at least they kept this part.

 This was my first contact with narrow boats in the canal system. Seeing the boats being higher then the road was at first strange.

This was my first contact with narrow boats in the canal system. Seeing the boats being higher then the road was at first strange.

 Before I saw the produce, I could smell this was a dairy farm. That smell is never forgotten.

Before I saw the produce, I could smell this was a dairy farm. That smell is never forgotten.

 A morning coffee break at Stockton Heath, near Warrington.

A morning coffee break at Stockton Heath, near Warrington.

 A Rugby League monument at Wigan- the British home the Rabbitoh's games.

A Rugby League monument at Wigan- the British home the Rabbitoh's games.

 Upstream on a famous river that winds it's way down to Liverpool.

Upstream on a famous river that winds it's way down to Liverpool.

 One of the many narrow riverboats- many owned by grey nomads.

One of the many narrow riverboats- many owned by grey nomads.