Our walking this week has been dominated by the water systems of what was once all Lancashire, but now has been divided into two metropolitan counties and one ‘normal’ county. We crossed over the Manchester Ship Canal last weekend and continued to try to work out which waterway we were following as we progressed sometimes north, sometimes east and sometimes west! As one of the heartlands of the Industrial Revolution, Lancashire became well endowed with canals to get raw materials to the factories, and manufactured goods to Liverpool for export. The paths alongside are flat and easy to walk along and not get lost, but the mind boggles at the amount of work they would have taken to construct and the devastation to the landscape they, and the industries they served, brought in their train.
On Sunday we received a wonderful welcome from Christchurch Aughton near Ormskirk. John knew Jeff from his scouting days and also the vicar Ross from school days. The congregation seemed to enjoy John’s Palm Sunday sermon illustrated with chocolate cake and the church were most supportive. Thank you Jeff and Ann for a lovely Sunday lunch and Ross and the church for all your encouragement.
On Monday we walked to Wigan – famous for its pier. On the way we came through Pennington Flash. This was an area heavily mined for coal, so much so that the land subsided quite steeply on the south side of the canal. The hollows filled with water or ‘flash’. Now the mines have closed the lakes are now being reclaimed for nature and recreation and are extremely attractive. They are well used by the local population for walking and cycling as well as observing the birds which have colonised the lakes. In the country park at Pennington Flash, we met Norman and his two dogs. One was called Lottie and she was remarkable. She could understand a number spoken to her between 5 and 10 and count by barking that number. She could also do other tricks and we were most entertained watching her.
After Pennington we joined the Leeds Liverpool canal path and walked along it to Wigan and saw the famous pier. It seemed very small, but information boards filled us in on the past workings of the bargemen, miners and the lasses. The canal has recovered from the devastation of the past and provides a most attractive way through to Burscough where the Rufford arm turned us north so we could follow the Douglas River as far as Tarleton, through the very flat farming countryside.
As always we have met some very interesting people who have shared something of their stories, or listened to some of ours or given us donations. So this weeks ‘Hellos!’ go to all those met in Pennington Flash country park – Norman, David, Beverley, Tony and Ryan; to David and Jenny walking by the Leeds Liverpool canal who described how it used to look, to Terry and Peter and Dawn and Gary met near Parbold, Janet and Granville at Lathom; Laurie and her story of perseverance and courage met near Much Hoole, Katrina on the Ribble Way; Tony met on the canal at Bilsborrow and Andrew and all the congregation met when we joined them for the Maundy Thursday service at St Andrew’s Longton especially all the Christian Aid committee members, treasurer Richard, Cath who made us most welcome and gave us a lovely tea (northern style) and her daughter Karen and granddaughters Elsa and Agatha. Thank you too to Elaine who runs the Martin Farm cottages and who did our washing in her machine. Martin Farm Burscough is a good place to stay. Thank you all for being a part of our journey.
This week’s statistics
Amount raised so far Online £705 Offline £2193.05 Total £2898.05
Miles walked this week 60 total so far 500.5
Kissing gates 19
This week’s Scrabble Scores Nancy 3 John 1
Lancashire cheese 300 g