Sunday, December 16 – ‘Fording’

Woke up rather late for the clubrun this morning, so I decided to catch them at the lunch place.  A howling gale was blowing against me when I turned onto Belmont Road from Astley Bridge.  Whilst climbing the long hill by the Sanatorium, I met a couple of clubmates, who were bound for Blackpool.  When we got beyond Belmont, the struggle was easier, and nearer Preston, I began to forget about the wind!  In the latter town my friends left me, and I proceeded towards Broughton, on the Lancaster road.  On the fine surface I soon reached Broughton, where I entered a maze of undulating bylanes.  Another club rider now caught me up, and then we met some of the Club itself, finally coming to Inglewhite for lunch.

At 2pm we restarted, about 19 of us, on a road towards Bleasdale.  The road ended in a slimy river bed.  This we had to ride for about a mile, until we descended swiftly – or rather steeply – to a river in a deep, wooded clough.  The scenery was superb in winter garb, and the track was wet and muddy in the extreme.  Carrying our machines over a narrow bridge, we made our way up the steep slope, through a wood, and onto a rather indifferent road.  Being now properly in the hills, we had a mile tramp upward, until, from a position of vantage on the hill, we had a glorious, commanding view of the Fylde.  Below us stretched the broad flat acres beyond the main Lancaster road.  Broken in the south by the River Ribble estuary, we could trace the dim outline of the coast northwards, from the outline of Blackpool Tower to the River Wyre at Fleetwood, which wound through the County until it disappeared into oblivion.

Further to the north, the irregular Pilling Sands and the coast at Cockerham, to the mouth of the River Lune, then the sea disappeared, reappearing in Morecambe Bay, across which lay the misty outline of the Lakeland Mountains.  The sun, shining over the sea, sent a vivid, flashing reflection, which made a deep contrast to the dark sombre coast and clouded countryside.  It was perhaps finer in effect on this cloudy, windy, rainy day, than the clearest sky could make it.  Turning about, we looked over the park-like Vale of Bleasdale, and the slopes of Calder Fell.  Taking a grassy track, we descended to Calder Vale, a village which reminded me strangely of Lower Turton, in the Jumbles area of Bolton.

Turning north, we traversed a rough road, coming to the head of Oakenclough, descended by a still rougher path, and along a tortuous road with a river running across the bottom.  We all had to splash through it of course, the scenery was grand, the roads awful – mere river beds.  Again we crossed another watersplash, and after running along by Wyresdale Park, we came to Scorton, and later, gained the Lancaster road near Garstang.

We now lit up, and passing through Garstang, ‘blinded’ the rest of the way to Brock for tea.  Nineteen slimy figures entered the tea place, which was already half full.  A chat after tea, and we were on the road again at 7pm.  Via Bilsborough, Barton and Broughton to Preston, then the Chorley road from Walton-le-Dale, which seemed pretty easy going with the strong wind behind.  At Whittle le Woods, this road is so cut up that we decided to walk rather than ride over it.  From Chorley we took the usual road via Adlington to Horwich and Bolton, thus completing a dirty but glorious run at 9.30pm.

85 miles, 12 hours