Saturday, 27 August 2016

A hard day on the towpath

Bandoliered with bottles and only 85 more miles to go
I suspect a few of you have done a 5km charity run in your time. Now just imagine doing 40 of them in succession, non-stop, through the day and night.
Crazy? Well that's what the ultra marathon runners on the towpath today were doing. They had started from Liverpool at six a.m. and were aiming to be in Leeds, 127 miles away sometime tomorrow.
Bandoliered with water bottles and with running vest pockets brimful of energy bars, sweeties and any other carb filled goodies, some were still running well at 40+ miles while others looked fit to quit but probably wouldn't. Good luck to you all, you completely barking mad buggers!
Still running smoothly at the 45 mile point
Compared with theirs, my struggles on the Johnson's Hill Locks were minor. They were still hard work, though – worse than I remember. Some gates wouldn't open, others wouldn't shut.
At the bottom we met a very unfortunate single hander coming up. He'd climbed the Wigan flight the day before; gone early to bed, knackered and woken up today to find his bike, brass roof vents and windlass all stolen. He didn't discover the last of these until arriving at the Johnsons locks - so he had to walk to the boatyard at the top, buy a new one and walk back down to his boat. Poor bloke.

Passing the canal festival at Botany Bay mill
After the locks we passed the Botany Bay Canal Festival but, with no traditional boats to admire, decided to press on past motorway noise plagued Chorley, finally stopping at Adlington – described in the guide as 'a small industrialised town'. Precisely.
By now the craving for fish & chips was three days old. Last night we found the village chip shop had closed down; tonight we found the local chippie didn't open on Saturday nights. I settled for f&c from the local all-purpose kebab, burger, pizza and f&c parlour. My stomach wishes I hadn't: a grey piece of fish in a leathern batter and oven chips which tasted as though they'd been re-heated several times since leaving McCains.
A fine pike sadly found dead in the water
Speaking of fish, Mrs B hooked a magnificent pike – sadly it was a dead one which she landed on the bank and showed a little gaggle of fascinated small children its terrible teeth. Nightmares tonight then. Only joking, dear.
Tomorrow the 21 Wigan locks. Thunder and lightning is forecast. Bring it on!
 (I should add for the benefit of single-handers and others dreading Wigan that there's a Facebook group 'The Wigan Flight Crew' who will help to pair up boats and can even turn up to help you through the flight. What a great bunch.)

No comments:

Post a Comment