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6 May, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Warton-Bolton-le-Sands-Lancaster

I've cycled past Warton, the first village north of Carnforth, numerous times on the way to Arnside and Silverdale, and I've climbed Warton Crag 2-3 times within the last year, yet all the photos I've taken have been from, not of Warton, or taken in bad light and hence discarded.  Today I wanted to correct those omissions by specifically visiting the village and Crag.

The route barely requires mention: straight up the A6 from Lancaster to Carnforth (with an accidental diversion towards Caton Road and the Lune Millennium Park cycle route – I'm not sure where I thought I was going) then the minor road past Carnforth station, through Millhead and into Warton.

I locked the bike to railings outside the Village Hall in order to visit St. Oswald's churchyard (where I was pleased to find the gravestone of a member of the Washington family, ancestors of the first US President) and the ruins of Warton Old Rectory. I suppose I could have left it parked there for the next stage, as I only cycled for a further ~100 m before locking it to a signpost on Crag Lane and joining the path up Warton Crag.
Spring is supposed to be the optimal time to see the Crag, as rare butterflies exploit a distinctive community of wildflowers on the limestone pavement. However, I was a few weeks early: few plants had really emerged yet, and as the accompanying photos show, the ground and trees were still rather bare. Not that I'm complaining; the ~20 min walk to the summit is pleasant at any time of year and can offer great views... in less hazy weather.

Heading back to Lancaster, I left the suddenly-congested A6 almost as soon as I'd joined it at Carnforth, instead following the Lancaster Canal towpath. This meant I passed the unusual church tower in Bolton-le-Sands. Again, it's somewhere I've frequently passed, but always in the final ~7 km of ~50 km rides, so I've never stopped for a closer look. I was pleasantly surprised – the 17th Century heart of the village has rather more character than the 20th Century streets lining the A6, mere dormitory estates of Morecambe.

Returning to the canal, I was soon back in Lancaster.

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