Day 10 - Monday 20th August – Middlewich to Clayton-le-Dale
Daily Distance = 65 miles (expected = 57)
Total Distance = 539 miles (expected = 491.5)
Weather: Fine and sunny with a NW wind.
Contour: Flat to start through very busy traffic, long up and down just before Blackburn.
Wind direction switched round today and started blowing in our faces. The day started with a good breakfast, although it was strange to walk out of the B&B, round the house and back in through the kitchen. Not sure we went the right way. John then realised his front tyre had deflated during the night, and set about repairing it again. We stopped in Knutsford and purchased some proper inner tubes, although the shop was not normally open on a Monday and he didn’t have exactly the right size. John continued using the old tube, which was still holding out. We cycled through Tatton Park, which we had to wait to open. The park is wonderful, very few cars, and those that appeared were travelling slowly. A big lake in the middle with people windsurfing on, and watching aeroplanes overhead taking off from Manchester airport. The park is also home to a large herd of deer, who were very interested in two bright yellow nutters on bikes. Stopped at Broomedge Post Office to get my book stamped and the staff gave us £2 for the charity. Not long later we stopped for a cup a tea in a small park in Glazebrook. Shop opposite did tea, coffee, hot pies and sandwiches, which we purchased, then sat and ate out pies. Just as we were about to set off again, John noticed his front tyre was flat again. We swapped the inner tube for the one purchased in Knutsford and set off - a little more confidently.
John hurt his knee yesterday sprinting to beat the traffic at a roundabout. His knee was hurting this morning, and could jeopardise the whole trip. Luckily the route is fairly flat today, but he will need to nurse it through the day and just hope for the best. After the open countryside of Tatton park we slowly made our way between the cities of Liverpool and Manchester. The traffic was horrendous, but they do seem more wary of cyclists than those using country lanes as racetracks. Leigh was much bigger and busier than we were both expecting. We also skirted round the side of Bolton. Part way through the day, John’s knee started to give him real trouble. We climbed up an unexpected long drag towards Blackburn, and this finished his knee off for the day. At the top of the climb we strapped it up with a triangular bandage and some tape. This seemed to help, and we managed to get past Ewood Park and into the suburbs of Blackburn by around 4pm. Leaving the route and walking through the shopping centre we found a Superdrug, which had a pharmacy. They sold John a proper bandage and some freeze spray (he was not allowed deep heat because he is on beta-blockers). Good to see 2 dogs enjoying themselves in the centre of Blackburn.
We got lost coming out of Blackburn and went quite a few miles the wrong way, only to find we had to come back into town to avoid the dual carriageway. Rush hour so not the best timing to get to Blackburn and the traffic was very heavy. Eventually got to Clayton-le-Dale but could not find the B&B. Phoned the owner on our mobile from below the village sign, only for her to tell us we could not be standing under the village sign. Cycled up and down main A road only to find it just 100 yards further on from where we had phoned her. The B&B (Rose Cottage) is very noisy, on a main road. The room was a twin, but not really big enough for 2 people. The en-suite had see through windows which meant we could see each other sitting on the toilet or in the shower. The owner is a ‘know-it-all’ and quite unpleasant. I did win my bet with John, that she would complain about us postponing the trip from May. It was as much as she could do to draw breath before unleashing her verbal onslaught. £19 per person. We went over the road for an Indian for dinner, which was delicious but expensive.
2 punctures (both John), no other breakdowns apart from Johns knee.