One of our ideas for today had been to take the train in to Preston. We need another duvet, and also fancied a repeat visit to Taboosh – the restaurant we enjoyed so much after the first Ribble crossing. The plan started to falter when we realised there were no Sunday trains. There are buses, but the last one runs at about 5pm and Taboosh doesn’t even open until 3pm.
So instead we set off on a circular ride with several objectives. We started by cycling up the towpath to Burscough. This allowed us to judge its suitability as a walking route for friends we are meeting tomorrow. The conclusion: today it was mostly OK, after the forecast heavy overnight rain it would be best to stay above Lock 6.
From the canal junction we went to the recycling centre. We have been hanging on to our recycling since Carnforth hoping to find somewhere better than a landfill bin to put it. We arrived to find a huge queue of cars waiting to get in – I wasn’t expecting panic buying at the dump! After a couple of minutes everyone was let in. We found suitable destinations for over three quarters of what we’d brought.
We then headed for Southport with the dual purpose of sight-seeing and duvet purchase. I stopped to take a photo of a sign that amused me. A couple approached us and started asking about our tandem, he eventually took a photo to remind him who it was made by.
We carried on towards the centre of town, via the centre of the seaside attractions.
We went further in to the town hoping to find food that was priced for locals rather than to catch holiday makers. Before we found that we managed to find a duvet. With some coordinated effort it went in to the pannier. We had fish chips and mushy peas serenaded by a saxophone playing busker and then went for another tour of the sights.
The pier started further inland than I’d expected as it went first over a large lagoon used for boat trips, pedalos and the like. When we eventually got beyond the shore it was obvious why the lagoon was so popular. The shore here is not fringed with beautiful sand, but mud, lots of it.
We headed along the coast so as to loop back to the boat by a different route. With a couple of miles to go we stopped under some trees to shelter from a sharp shower. Two cyclists who were just behind us decided that was a good idea and joined us for a pleasant chat. The rain was off in a few minutes and we all continued on our way.
Less than half a mile from the boat I noticed the steering was getting heavy and realised we had a front wheel puncture. We carried on until the last hundred yards on rough track which we walked. As we reached the canal we could see a spectacular rainbow welcoming us back.
In the warm evening sunshine I set about fixing the puncture on the stern deck. It wasn’t long before I had found the culprit – hawthorn of course.
We also needed water and a pump out. The “obvious” way to do this was to drive on, turn at the marina entrances, drive to the winding hole and come back – a total journey of five miles. Instead I decided to reverse the half mile to the services, and then drive back. That all went without a hitch, so we are now back where we were but with tanks in a better state to welcome guests.