Wednesday 12 January 2022

BIKING BIRDER VI 2022 10th January Cycle Paths and New Birds, Rock Star and Camping


Week Two – January 10th 2022

Hello Sunshine People! xx

Breakfast at the table with Dennis and Madelaine starts my day, cereal with soya milk, coffee, toast a homemade marmalade made by Dennis. Madelaine is soon off work in a Save The Children charity shop and I am soon off on my bike.    

Heading towards Warrington centre to cross the Mersey, the weather is drizzly and without yesterday’s early morning sunshine, rather cool.

 After crossing the River Mersey, the route eventually goes along a cycle path, adjacent to most waterless, vegetation-filled canal. Decided to do a diary video as I cycled along . . .

         Just before Sankey Valley Viaduct, an impressively tall, nine-arched railway bridge,


I meet a brilliant and extremely interesting gentleman, Les Glover, a singer/songwriter who plays in a band, plays guitar and lead vocals, with none other than the drummer of Slade!

         Les asked what I am doing as not only is he curious because of the overladen bike but I am also busy photographing a skein of Pink-footed Geese (65) as he approaches. 

We talk of Rock and Pop Music, favourites and concerts, gigs and personalities and I would have loved to find out more but time becomes pressing and we both go on our way, with me starting to sing a Pink Floyd number, One Slip.

         Singing! I always love to sing and whistle as I cycle but hadn’t been able to do so at the beginning of the BBVI tour. So unfit then, I must be getting fitter! 

Through the more built up areas, the cycle path continues and a Goldcrest (66) flies across from a garden into a nearby bush in front of me. I pish but sensibly the Goldcrest ignores me.

Into Lidls to buy a bit of food, I come out with a packet of supposed to be microwaved lentils, which I always just eat straight from the packet, a punnet of grapes and some mango juice. Looking back, I should have bought more but at the time I thought there would be another shop in the village I would be spending my night in.

An older, Santa Clause-looking gentleman stands in front of me and tells me that I should have been photographing him, I have a camera around my neck, when he was at work. Apparently he is a labourer on a construction site and he starts to tell me how useless Polish workers are. He isn’t wearing a mask so I say to him, “sorry but I don’t want to be too near to him as he has no mask,” or words to that effect. “I’m OK”, he says showing me his exemption lanyard but I walk away saying, “I am trying to keep you safe.” Covid times, was I right?

 I do love these cycle paths and the way that I have hardly been on any busy road since Winsford. Eventually though it does end and the road carries on beneath the extremely busy East Lancs road. Glad I will not be cycling in that!  

The suggested by Siri route suddenly takes me onto a muddy bridleway and I get off and push for half a mile or so. After reaching a main road, another bridleway is straight and mostly well surfaced and I reach the village of Rainford with a dilemma, where to sleep.

Having booked an Air B & B for the night, with no alternative B & B available in the area, I had received a message earlier in the day that unfortunately the house owner was away. This is a feature of Air B & B, they give a possible 24 hour delay in confirmation, which is no good when I need to be flexible over where I am sleeping any given night. Sometimes I just have to try and book for a night at short notice and trust that everything will be OK. This time I have a problem.

I find a local church and see that the porch is too small for shelter and adjacent to a busy road. I chat with a lovely lady in the church’s extensive graveyard. She tells me of how Covid nearly killed her and her NHS mask shows of her delight in the fact that thanks to the NHS, it didn’t.

         After searching for a quiet place to sleep, away from the roads and out of view and having found nowhere, I head out of Rainford northwards and find a narrow, muddy public footpath that heads into some arable fields. 

After pushing the bike I find a section of wall along a field of short stubble remnant from a  wheat crop and decide that to camp next to it would give me some break from the light wind. 

A large Silver Birch tree has come down and is spread across the field a few hundred yards away and deciding that camping next to it would make me more obscure from any person walking the footpath, I push the bike along the field edge and within the hour I am comfortably and warmly deep inside my sleeping bag eating grapes. 

Warm enough this evening, 8C outside, I watch Aston Villa lose to Manchester United in the FA Cup on my iPhone. How unusual of VAR to support a ‘Greedy Six’ club in a very controversial moment in the match, a Villa goal struck off by a VAR decision that takes over three minutes to be sorted by the corrupt system. Pundits agree that it should have been a goal.

UTV!    Up The Mighty Villa.

Thanks to everyone who has donated to either of the charities I am supporting this year. 

If you could please make a donation then go to the links on the top right of this page. 


Wish me luck.

                      Love to you all, Gary

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