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At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Following the coast (11)

Monday 9th March 2020 - Preston to Tarleton - 11 miles

Rain was forecast for later in the afternoon so I was up at 6:00 and walking from Preston Portway Park and Ride by 7:50 am with eleven miles to do before the rain came. The bus stop for my return  to Preston was about quarter of a mile down the busy A 59 and as I trudged carefully down the grass verge I was fearful of seeing a bus coming my way before I arrived at the stop. All was well. I only had to wait three minutes, and the rain just started before I boarded.

I was reminded of one of General Patton's maxims: The Six Ps:

"Perfect Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance"

Practice in my case in the sense of method.

I crossed the Ribble from preference by the Old Penwortham Bridge which is now just a cobbled footpath. Immeditely opposite the other side was an enticing looking coffee shop but I am concerend about Coronavirus and much as I would have welcomed a coffee I pressed on to find the footpath which would follow the Ribble almost until the river arrives at the sea.

For half a mile or so a tarmac road passes through landscaped parkland apparently refurbished from a coalfired power station operating back in the mid 1800s. That road then became a gravel path, then an earth path with muddy patches in places before emerging onto wide grass river banking making for pleasant walking and a whole new view of the River Ribble.

In one area there was a profusion of molehills. One in particular was much larger than the others. Was this the royal residence, or a mole hotel, or pethaps their version of the Albert Hall - I couldn't hear any music?

Where I could see the Ribble meeting the sea in the distance the banking swung to the left until I arrived at a footbridge and a bench where I had my sandwich and coffee. From here I had some wandering before getting back onto the proper path and continuing on river banking following the River Douglas and then a short link to the A59 to catch my bus

Dingy photos on a dingy day.

Walking from the park-and-ride towards Old Penwortham Bridge. Good to be off on a walk when everybody else around is off to work

Old Penwortham Bridge, now only a cobbled walkway

Downstream on the Ribble

The Ribble railway bridge and St. Walburge's Church
St Walburge's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Preston. The church was built in the mid-19th century to a design by the Gothic Revival architect Joseph Hansom, the designer of the hansom cab, and is famous as having the tallest spire of any parish church in England. (thanks to Wikipedia)

The new Penwortham Bridge

Landscaped and tarmac parkland on the site of the old power station, the Ribble is running on the right

Tarmac has now become a gravel path

Entrance to Preston Dock from the Ribble

Mole-eye view inside a pylon

Ribble Link. 
If you are brave and make a booking with a pilot you can transfer from the Lancaster Canal with your narrowboat to go down the Ribble and re-enter the canal system at Tarleton.

The Ribble meets the sea. I turned left

Boatyard on the river Douglas at Hesketh Bank


  1. It would indeed require courage and a lot of hydrogen to take that Ribble way cut in the state it appears to be - where's the water ?
    Your walk has distinct over (or should that be under) tones of Dickens and the Kentish marshes - beware both the revenue and the smugglers as well as the enveloping abyss !

  2. gimmer - Narrowboats are flat bottomed enabling use in shallow water but conversly more vulnerable in the potentially more turbulent waters of the river - not sure why you refer to hydrogen?

    The esturial embankments are not quite as desolate as Magwitch’s marshes as I remember them as conveyed by CD but still with that lonely haunted atmosphere of land that man has found little use for.

  3. What gloomy weather we’ve been having. I could feel the dampness of this area from your photos. When I walked this stretch it was in blazing sunshine and I remember sheltering under the shad of a bush to eat my lunch! I didn’t know about that Preston church and it’s tallest steeple. Impressive.

  4. In Germany we have seen many a tenuous claim made to the oldest/biggest/wonkiest, going to extremes to narrow the categorisation so as to claim the prize. The fact you cite about the spire on St Walburge's church passes my criteria of a valid claim to fame.

  5. Ruth - When I arrived back home and viewed the photos I went and gave the lens on my camera a good clean - not sure if that's had any effect but it was worth a try.


    Gayle - Well its more valid than the claim for the "centre of England" which if you Google gives rise to much nerdiness, much of which one would not understand without a double degree in mathematics.

  6. A lonely stretch on the southside.Not much chance of catching Coronavirus from anybody.
    You must have passed close to The Dolphin pub which truly had a Dickensian feel when the tide was in, the road flooded and the mist down. Haunted by some dubious characters.

  7. BC - I saw a sign pointing to The Dolphin and continued with anticipation but missed it. Now looking at the map I see I was following the Ribble Way embankment having passed the footpath leading off to the pub. Here is part of an email reply I ssent to gimmer on the subject of that esturial riverbank region:

    "Not quite as desolate as Magwitch’s marshes as I remember them as conveyed by CD but still with that lonely atmosphere of land that man has found little use for."

    Little chance there as you say but the shuttle bus from Preston Bus Station to Portway Park and Ride was a different matter!

  8. I've always believed that hydrogen is the way to go and that battery powered electrically driven motors whether cars, lorries or planes, is a chimera - ok for a relative few, but not for the very many, and not at all sure that overall it is all that 'CO2 neutral' given the generating, transmission and charging infrastructure required to 'fuel' it.
    As coal gas of old was about 50% hydrogen and the most of the rest the highly toxic CO, fears about the dangers of the hydrogen network are somewhat exaggerated - we used to work with pure chlorine at 1500C so hydrogen even at high pressures and ambient temperatures, should be quite possible with modern materials and engineering (solid state reversible absorption of hydrogen seems to be another unrewarding diversion , so far at least).
    But the comment about the cut was a flight of fancy - using hydrogen buoyancy to lift the craft over and along the muddy bottom when the tide is out - a sort of amphibious Hindenburg or R101 perhaps.

  9. gimmer - a little research tells me that an average narrowboat weighs around 18 tons. So, how big in metres length and depth (roughly) would the hydrobgen lifting device need to be? That could be a good question to put in an A Level physics exam paper?

  10. A Distinction for the first person to answer that without consulting Wolfram !

  11. kendal grufties11 March 2020 at 22:03

    You have a real talent for finding beauty and interest in Britain's bleak urban fringes!

  12. gimmer - given time and hard graft on the Internet I reckon I cpuld come up with an approximation - I just thought you may not be able to resist the challenge.


    Kendal grufties - more my language, thankyou. I love "bleak urban fringes" - I can feel another poem coming on, but I would feel guilty pinching your creation.

  13. i'll have a go if forced into isolation by the virus police

  14. needlesshaste - Ah my mystery commenter! I know you have comented occasionally before but I have no recollection of uncovering your identity (sorry if I have and it now having slipped my mind.) For some time I thought you were one of my friends using a new name for some unknown reason but I have checked and that is not the case.

    Whatever, I welcome your comments.

  15. As there seems to be little interest in your project, here are my calculations to show why - very approximately,
    the lift of a M3 of hydrogen at 10C and Standard Atmospheric pressure at 100M above sealevel is approx 1.2kg, it would need an airship about 100 M long by 12 m wide and 12m deep - too narrow for good aerodynamics - but make it 20 m wide and deep and the length required falls to only 40M long - like a US Blimp - about 1/10th the size of the R100 or Graf Zeppelin II.
    Easier to take the bus.

  16. gimmer - Splendid! Just what I was hoping for. I am surprised - I thought it would need to be much bigger than that.

    My goodness how things have moved on since this post

    I had a circular trip up Wild Boar Fell today - there and back in the car and no cafés. I met a lone builder working on a farmgouse restoration - been on it on his own since Christmas. I've just finshed precessing the photos - post will follow tomorrow.