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Tuesday 11th June

  • From: Whitchurch
  • To: Eccleston
  • LEJOG miles cycled: 66.26 (66 planned)
  • Miles cycled: 473.61
  • Map of the Journey 

(Have a look back at yesterday's blog as we have added the daily poem now!)

Amazing news, the Bluck Odeometer has been recalibrated and is on target today!

It was cold so we both wore a jersey
It was so tricky crossing the Mersey
But then we met Keith*
Who showed us the way
I don't see why these verses should rhyme!

I must re-enforce just how good last night's B&B was (Sedgeford House, Whitchurch) - I would be delighted to revisit at any time. We were even offered a bike service in the morning and our tyres were blown up and GTX sprayed on chainrings, cassette, chain and Derailleurs!

Last night we had another coincdence! At the B&B we met Dave Marshall. Dave's wife Joan (nee Ridley) grew up on a farm at Haydon Bridge, near to home - they now live at Clifford, near York. They knew the Reay family in Bardon Mill who, for many years, used ran the pottery which is just 50 yards from my house!

Today we had roads to begin with which became more minor and traffic free as we progressed. We were dropping onto the Cheshire plain and the going was relatively easy. We had wrapped up well in waterproof gear as the forecast was not good but in fact although grey skies abounded the rain largely stayed off.

We passed the fantastic Gate House for Peckforton Castle (see image on Facebook) which was stunning. However as we went round the corner we saw that the Castle was mirrored on an opposite hillock 400 yards away - Beeston Castle. This is a place to revisit soon. I cannot do the scenario justice with a picture with the conditions on the day.

Further on we arrived in the lovely market town of Tarperley and the Chocolate Cafe at the Old Fire Station for a well earned break. Outside we were met by whom we assumed must be a local Councillor. No conversation about what we were doing - no - he just launched into the town PR speil. "We have 43 shops here and none of them are Charity ShopS. We raise .........." Tune out, turn off, move on.

The tricky part of the day was approaching where we had to navigate through the Wigan-Liverpool connurbation avoiding as much urban sprawl as possible. We had looked at several routes but in the end used the advice of two of them. We found our way through a mixture of photocopied pages from books, two OS maps, an iphone Google Map app and good luck. In doing so we crossed South to North in order: the River Weaver; the Trent and Mersey Canal; The Manchester Ship Canal; and the Mersey, itself before entering the now largely derelict Sankey Navigation and the Sankey Valley Park.

That meant today we had now had a mixture of roads, tracks and canal towpaths, as well as country park and riverside paths.

We must thank local cyclist Keith, whom we met on the bridge crossimg the Mersey. We got chatting and he asked our route, of which we were not 100% sure. He resolved the problem by going out of his way and guiding us through the roads to the start of the Sankey Valley Park - what a service, thanks Keith!

Somewhere North of here we stopped outside an Estate Agents on a road corner to change our layers as it was now getting warm. Within seconds someone stopped to give us a donation. Thanks also to the Estate Agent for the free water and small donation!

There were no tea rooms after Tarperley (about 20 miles into the day) so we stopped a few miles short of our destination at a local shop to refuel with drink and fruit - very much required as we were tiring by then.

Tonight's B&B at Ecclestone is a 1761 farm with an attached barn conversion - Parr Hall Farm - and is very smart and comfortable and good value for money - underlying how poor the St Lawrence Hotel was once again.

Tomorrow we head towards Kendal and the half way mark on what we think will be relatively flat terrain. We meet up with two others on different parts of the journey so will not be alone. Good to look forward to.

Don't forget you can also see more, including photos, posted more promptly than the blog on my Facebook page