Hall i’ th’ Wood is now a museum, and was the house where Samuel Crompton invented the ‘Spinning Jenny’, which brought forward the mechanisation of the cotton industry and brought the end nearer for the hand loom weavers of old. For Charlie it is a visit down Memory Lane for more than one reason, although I am not suggesting that he remembers Mr Crompton personally. This day has everything, from Museums to Grandparents and eventually the Romans !
We start this day with a lengthy dissertation about riding tandems in general and this one in particular, and the characteristics of them all. And he really wanted to be the steersman, but that had to wait for another occasion.
We have a very detailed description today of the route, except that the focal point of the afternoon out can hardly be described as being without doubt when it comes to its whereabouts. But Charlie gets a good outcome for the day, which excites him for tomorrow !
Today is getting more technical. Gone are the cardboard box and the brown paper bags to collect blackberries. Today, Charlie has a tin ! Read on to see if he benefitted from his new technology. Weatherwise the day was as warm as it ought to be in August, and Charlie had a great time blackberrying.
Charlie has now got the blackberry bug. He is on his own, presumably because it is a Wednesday and his friends should all be at work ! From somewhere he has the notion to take with him a large cardboard box (no plastic bags in those days) in which to collect his favourite fruit, but then comes unstuck with a brown paper bag. Just a come day, go day potter gathering several pounds of blackberries and only covering 85 miles. Only 85!
An evening ride to the woods of Anglezarke, to find buried deep in the woods the little known ‘Jacob’s Ladder’. Rising up a quarry face in three sections, with a well near the top, it sounds quite a unique attraction to young cyclists but alas no trace yet remains, although I have searched for it on more than one occasion. Perhaps the intervening 90 years has something to do with not finding it ! In any event, to climb a long ladder on a vertical quarry face less than a week after a doctor signs you off with the admonishment ‘Just knock about a bit’, seems to be flying in the face of caution.
After a month off the bike (and off his legs) due to an accident at the foundry Charlie worked at, he goes off on a long ride of 93 miles, heeding always the doctor’s instructions to ‘Just knock about a bit’. In other words – take things easy ! Starting out with a companion called Joe, who had a master’s degree in ‘Blinding’ was just what Charlie needed to ease himself back into the saddle. Joe also had another problem. He just couldn’t pass a mature blackberry bush to save his life, hence his nickname of ‘Blackberry Joe’.
This piece is entitled ‘Moorland Tracks’ so you know sort of where you will be going here. The moors had been on fire for days now, and called for some investigation ! So our adventurous pair, Charlie and Ben must hasten to investigate. Somehow or other they managed to miss the flames altogether but saw some burnt patches of grass. Emerging from the moors they reached the main road at a place called the Leper’s House, although the local history society (I have checked) can find no mention of it anywhere.
The day started (5am) cool and misty, then the sun got to work, and by the time it came to walk uphill, it was too hot ! That didn’t stop them, and the roads and hills just got steeper and steeper as the day wore on. Throw in a pub or two who couldn’t or wouldn’t serve Charlie and his mate Tom Idle, then a beckoning notice of cider for sale only to find it ‘out of hours’, all add to their frustration. But it didn’t stop Charlie marking the day down as A1, all 90 miles of it.
A warm day, ideal for pottering. Meeting up with his best friend, Tom Idle from Manchester, the pair of them spent all day pottering about in the very best of scenic surroundings, but going nowhere in particular – apart that is from planning a New Year Holiday tour of North Wales – should finances permit. Charlie is obviously still not happy with his saddle again, despite covering many miles in Wales without written adverse comment, and makes a further change, swopping his Brooks narrow for a B19 of Tom’s.