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14 May, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Crook O'Lune (nearly)-Lancaster

Today's ride was simply to the Crook O'Lune, one of my more frequent destinations, but I started with a slightly different route and the photos of the spring vegetation aren't bad, so it's worth mentioning.

I left Lancaster as if to take the hilly inland route to Caton, but changed my mind almost immediately and followed the valley floor along Grab Lane to the disused Moor Hospital. A few photos I took a while ago, from a distance, have been mildly popular in web searches, so I took the time to explore the perimeter a little better and to capture a couple of closer views. For much the same reason, after going through the cemetery to photograph the bluebells around the graves, I went on to HM YOI Lancaster Farms to obtain a clearer version of a murky photo which, slightly embarrassingly, attracts several visitors via Google. That has now been removed from the site!

The (very) rough track from the prison to Denny Beck is the shortest route to the Lune, but I know from my earlier attempt that it isn't really rideable on a road-configured bike, and it's quicker to go the long way at ~15 mph than the short one at ~3 mph. Hence, I followed a new (to me) route into town through the Ridge council estate then back out along the riverside cycle path.

Spring had definitely sprung along the southern bank of the River Lune; the only parts not a vibrant green were in flower. I left the surfaced cycle track at Halton weir to follow a secluded footpath though the woods. Beautiful. A bonus was seeing a woodpecker, and being able to find its nest and take an unhurried photo.

The span of the Crook O'Lune Viaduct nearer Lancaster has been closed for repair/renovation since March 2004, so I couldn't cross the Lune. Instead, I went for another short walk through the woods, following the riverbank. Unfortunately, too many tiny streams terminated in an area frequented by cattle, so it was difficult to find a dry path. After 5-10 minutes, the Viaduct was still only 20-30 m away, so I gave up and returned to the main track, then back to Lancaster.

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