THE morning of the 13th of June brought humidity and haziness in place of the scorching sunshine of the previous day. While I devoured my breakfast, I pondered which was better for walking and came to the conclusion that it didn’t really matter because I was going to walk in it anyway. My rapidly disappearing breakfast agreed with me entirely — deliciousness clearly implies agreement.
Breakfast was all but demolished when it occurred to me that the Lemming was also walking with me for the day and that we had arranged to meet at breakfast. What we hadn’t done was actually meet at breakfast.
HAVING ‘enjoyed’ torrential rain on my previous walk, I waited until the weather seemed slightly more promising before returning to Cumbria. The forecast in mid-June was for sunshine one day and probable rain the next. Slathered in sunscreen but half-expecting a downpour, I found Barrow-in-Furness basking beneath blue skies and looking somewhat better in the sunshine. Not by much, admittedly, but better nonetheless.
I RETURNED to Cumbria at the start of May to resume my pedestrian adventure. I hadn’t really planned to, indeed I had other plans for the long bank holiday weekend, but I decided at the last minute that maybe, just maybe, I could fit in a single day’s walking. And so, I set off, without even checking the weather forecast.
I arrived in Cumbria amid a driving downpour, which mercifully soon lessened to alternate between drizzle and moderate rain. Still, it felt right, if by “right” I meant “damp” — this was traditional Cumbrian weather in all its watery glory. I would continue to be inundated with tradition for the rest of the day but, fortunately, I had recently invested in some properly waterproof clothing, which I trusted would keep me warm and dry.
TO MY great relief, it was no longer bucketing down when I awoke in my hotel on the outskirts of Grange-over-Sands, back at the end of April (which feels like a lifetime ago). True, the skies were grey and foreboding with low-hanging clouds but I could forgive that so long as the water stayed where it was — overhead.
TOWARDS the end of April I returned to Carnforth with the express intention of leaving both it and Lancashire behind and striking out into Cumbria and the south of the Lake District. The sky was grey when I got there and I fully expected that any views of distant hills would be totally hidden by mist. Also, at some point it would rain.
THE morning after my arrival in Lancaster, I emerged from my hotel full of enthusiasm, energy and significant quantities of breakfast. A blue sky was bedecked with fluffy white clouds and the clouds were also full of enthusiasm and energy — but probably not breakfast — judging by the speed at which they were bombing across the heavens.
MY RETURN to Lancashire came interestingly close to not happening, as I slept through my alarm and missed my intended train into central London.
The next one, which I caught, gave me very little time to transfer between National Rail and Underground stations, which culminated in my racing through London Euston and leaping aboard my train to Preston with literally seconds to spare. Compared to that, the ten minute transfer window I had at Preston provided great opportunity for dawdling.
I AWOKE early in my hotel room in St Anne’s, dazzling sunlight reflecting off all the walls. The sun was up, the sky was blue and my stomach was ready for breakfast, which seemed the correct order of things. Had the sun been blue and breakfast all stomachs I think I’d have just stayed in bed. I fancied that I could smell bacon and decided that it needed to be mine.
I CHOSE the penultimate weekend of March 2015 on which to return to Preston and continue what was in theory my coastal perambulation, not that much of the first day’s walking could really be described as ‘coastal’.
In theory, my route for the day was pretty simple. I just needed to head west along the northern bank of the Ribble until it widened out into an estuary and I could head north along the coast. That seemed pretty straightforward, what could possibly go wrong?
ON WHAT would turn out to be a bright but breezy day, I sacrificed any hope of breakfast by rising around dawn in the hope of maximising all available daylight. I planned to walk to Preston by a slightly meandering route that totalled 25½ miles. The question was, would I make it there before dark?