Sunday, March 23 – Ribchester

At 8.15 this morning Tom came.  The weather has broken, after a fine sunny spell lasting three weeks, and a steady drizzle was falling.  We should have started right away, but owing to parental persuasion, we left it till 11.15 (mistake), when, though it was still raining, we could no longer stand it, and got out.  The going was good, and we soon reached Belmont, then Withnell, joining the Blackburn road at Hoghton.  Dropping into the valley of Roddlesworth we ran through Feniscowles, and turned off by Pleasington Priory church.  A steep hill got in the way, and shanks was resorted to, then a stiff road up to the outskirts of Blackburn, before dropping easily down to Mellor Brook.  We fairly swished along the wet Whalley road, turning downhill for one and a quarter miles to the Ribble, then across the fine old bridge, and we were soon at Miss Bolton’s, Ribchester.  Pulling our capes off, we sat down to a square meal, and so comfortable did the place get, that we stayed for three hours.

Miss Bolton told us a number of stories of Ribchester and the Ribble floods, and showed us a copy of ‘John ‘O Groats to Lands End’ by Mr Naylor of BeestonTowers.  The book is only available by presentation – rough luck.  At last we donned our capes, (as it was still raining), recrossed the river, and uphill again by the De Tabley Arms and the Clarion Club house to the main road once more.  We were soon off it however, making for Osbaldeston and getting a gruesome byway, we rode along the bank above the Ribble, thereby obtaining some magnificent views of the winding river.  In one place it describes an almost perfect horseshoe.  Our path led us through inches of mud, and across a watersplash, then forcing our way uphill, we reached the Walton-le-Dale road at Samlesbury.  It now gave over raining.  Walton passed, we came to Bamber Bridge, then along Wigan road to the Rose Café for tea at 6pm.  At 6.45 we were off again, and from Chorley we took the lane route to the ‘Millstone’.  We carried on together through Bolton to the  ‘Black Horse’, where Tom went on home, and I returned to Bolton.  After all, it has been an excellent ‘fine wet day’, far better than sticking at home!

65 miles