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22 May, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Over Kellet-Borwick-Halton-Lancaster

Many visitors to the Ministry arrive via Google searches.  A fairly frequent one is for 'Borwick Hall', which is a little embarrassing, as a single, rather poor quality photo I took of the Elizabethan manor house (now a council-run outdoor activities centre) last year seems to rank highly in search results.  That's a poor advert for the site, so I went back today to take a few better photos.

For most of the outward trip, via Nether and Over Kellets, the weather was good, but as I approached Borwick, I happened to glance back. Ahead and to the sides was full sunlight. Directly behind me, and approaching rapidly, was the purplish blackness of a thunderstorm – I'd thought it was traffic noise from the nearby motorway.

In a way, the well-lit foreground and dark background improved my photos of the Hall, but I had to hurry before escaping down the canal towpath to shelter beneath the nearest bridge for 10-15 minutes.
Whilst there, watching the intense rain bouncing off bedraggled sheep, I happened to notice the corpse of a Mallard in the canal. Somehow I failed to make the connection at the time, so didn't take a photograph, but one of my mother's favourite expressions, denoting lethargy, is 'like a dead duck in a thunderstorm'. Well, this was the real thing.

I hadn't intended to go further, so headed back to Lancaster. However, after the heavy rain, all the spring vegetation looked fresh and attractive, so I cycled via Halton and back along the River Lune, taking a few (uncharacteristically?) 'pretty' photos.

There was a time when I considered 22 miles in 2:22 hours (not counting time spent stationary), at a maximum speed of 22.7 mph, to be a substantial ride; now it's routine!

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