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27 January, 2007

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Crook o'Lune-Halton-Lancaster

I didn't have a particular destination in mind for today's bike ride, my first of the year.  I knew I wanted something relatively short, as the weather wasn't great and, overstating slightly, I'm still recuperating from my mystery weight loss in Nov-December.

I decided to head out to the Crook o'Lune, to investigate the path up to the viewpoint at Gray's Seat. That'd provide a gentle 16 km (10 miles) round trip, and I could easily go on if I felt like it.
When starting longer rides up the Lune Valley, I tend to leave Lancaster via Caton Road and straight onto the A683, passing the familar local sections as quickly as possible to maximise time in new locations. However, as I wasn't planning to go far, I followed the canal towpath as far as the Lune Aqueduct then dropped down to the Lune Cycleway (aka Millennium Park) and on to the Crook.

Locking my bike to a fence by the viaduct – not the most secure place to leave it – I followed the riverbank footpath up to the main road, then had second thoughts. If the path to the viewpoint was accessible from the road, I could retrieve my bike from the viaduct, lock it somewhere safer, visit Gray's Seat then return to Lancaster without having to go back to the Crook.
Yet Plan 'B' immediately gave way to 'C': long-distance visibility didn't really justify a trip to a viewpoint anyway, so I might as well go somewhere else today and, having established its approximate location, return to Gray's Seat some other time.

The five-mile ride to Caton had been a surprising effort (I really do need to build up my strength again!), so I didn't go further up the valley, with further to return, instead crossing to Halton Green then back to Halton-on-Lune.

The residents of the village recently protested against a new residential development, resulting in planning permission being frozen pending further investigation. The accusation was that a 'Benidorm-style' apartment complex isn't in keeping with the rest of Halton. Approaching the village from the east, and passing estates of ugly 1960s/70s dormer bungalows, I thought it a bit cheeky of the inhabitants to complain.
However, I stopped at St. Wilfred's churchyard and briefly wandered around the more historical core of Halton; maybe the locals did have a point.

Needless to say, I was carrying my camera, primarily to update or replace photos of places I'd been before. Some are okay, but I'll have to go back to Halton later in the year; it's worth closer examination, though not late on on a damp January evening.

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