Day 8 has dawned to a much needed day off in the Lancashire village of Slaidburn situated in the Forest of Bowland, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Day 6 was a 67 mile ride from Market Drayton, Shropshire to Glazebury in Cheshire. Although relatively flat, it was a tortuous route to avoid the motorways and major roads that radiate from Manchester. Given the density of population we managed to stay on lanes in countryside most of the way. The day rounded off with a convivial evening meal joined by my good friend Soo and her delightful children, Sophia and Jonathan, from their home in nearby Sale.
Day 7, Glazebury to Slaidburn; wet, wet, wet! Only 50 miles, but a game of two halves. The morning was a trawl through the urban sprawl to the west of Manchester between Wigan and Bolton, however being a Sunday, the traffic was not too bad. Heading north into rural Lancashire we were once again in open countryside but becoming distinctly more hilly. Without exception the cows and horses were huddled under hedges with their backs to the wind. We just got wet; very wet. Fortunately, the wind was coming from the south which was a bonus going up the hills – always a bright side somewhere. Homemade chocolate brownies, a gift from Jonathan, proved excellent cycling fuel besides being very yummy. The scenery here in the Forest of Bowland looks pretty spectacular, moorland hills with lush green valleys -must come back in better weather.
A day off is proving a tonic for all three of us, a chance to rest weary limbs, do some laundry, maintain the bikes and enjoy the company of Gavin and Keith’s long time cycling friend, Ray, who took time out of his group tour to have lunch with us. Oh and an extra bonus, to watch the rain run down the windows from beside an open fire in the cosy bar of The Hark to Bounty pub where we are staying. Forecast looking grim for tomorrow ….