Tracks and Tea Ladies

I’m always surprised how urban and industrial areas have corridors of greenery as well as fields and parkland that can make walking through them an interesting and pleasurable experience. Obviously canals and disused railway lines are good examples of ‘green corridors’ but there are quite a lot of ancient footpaths and public rights-of-way hidden away in our cities and towns.

These old routes need using though; some of the tracks I traveled on today have clearly been forgotten and are overgrown and neglected. A book I read recently (I can’t remember which one) suggested that we should set out to walk all of the rights-of-way within 3 miles of our houses. What a great idea – we would keep the paths open and learn a lot about our locality

Unused path
a rather unused path

After a reasonable start this morning the temperature dropped, the wind raised and the rain/hail hit so hard it stung. I wandered into Atherton as soggy as a soaked sponge and spotted a coffee morning sign on the local church. There is a rule in the Graham King walking manual (yet to be written) that it is illegal to pass a tea shop without partaking of a brew – I think a church coffee morning falls under the same category so in I trotted.and I was welcomed like an old friend. Within minutes I had a steaming mug of good strong tea and a hot, toasted tea cake. The lovely ladies directed me to the seat nearest the heater so that I could start drying out and they could not have been more friendly. Thank you ladies, you are doing a great job. If you are passing through Atherton and see the coffee morning sign – pop for a cuppa and give them my regards.

I have spoken to loads of people today, all charming and friendly and many amused at my appearance- l look like an Arctic explorer who has lost his skies.
Negotiating the wilder footpaths below Horwich turned into a nightmare this afternoon. My track got narrower and wetter until I was forced (by a boot full of water) to make the decision to retrace my tracks for a mile or so. Eventually I found a higher, drier track that ran parallel with the official one but all-in-all in cost me an hour or two. Never mind. I learned this lesson when walking the Compostela – if it’s not right you must have the guts to turn around and go back but it is still difficult to walk in what seems to be the wrong direction.

Glad I wasn't out in this
Glad I wasn’t out in this

I have booked in to a hotel again as the weather is so cold and wet. I’m enjoying the hot baths but as Kerriann is not here there will be no more bubbly photos of my good self to excite your screen!


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