Dave, Helen, Debbie and I gathered at the start of the Sandstone Trail in Frodsham with eight partners and friends where spirits were high. We met up with the “Warrington Four” after a search for the elusive toilets which were found hiding in a local Costa Coffee, (probably the most expensive wee ever, as everyone bought a coffee at the same time!)
The goal on the first day was to reach the “Pheasant Inn” at Upper Burwardsley, some 19 miles further along the route. We made a good start at a steady pace; the ground was pretty solid under foot due to the freezing conditions over the previous couple of weeks, but after only one and a half hours, it was decided to stop to refuel – the thought of bacon sandwiches in a farmer’s field in the sunshine was too much for some to pass up. Unfortunately, bacon sandwiches were off the menu, so a coffee and scone later we were off again. In order to make up for the somewhat leisurely sojourn in the field, we picked up the pace; we wanted to make the Pheasant Inn by 4.30pm.
The Warrington four decided to maintain their slightly slower pace and we didn’t see them again until they caught us up at lunch, which was a brief affair – the weather was dull and windy and sitting still for any length of time was proving to be chilly.
The scenery it has to be said was slightly less than enthralling as one farmer’s field does tend to blend into the next but we eventually made the Pheasant’s Inn as planned at 4.30pm. A quick shower and change and it was into the bar where once again spirits were high but bodies were weak.
The following day was beautiful; clear blue skies and very crisp, cold air. Sunday’s goal was the final 15 miles to Nantwich and the first few miles saw us walking high on the Cheshire Ridge with fabulous views from both sides across Cheshire. We walked through beautiful woodland until again we reached the ubiquitous farmers’ fields.
Animal encounters were relatively few and inconsequential except for Lomas the Llama who took an amorous liking to one particular member of the team. I think it was the fastest we’d seen him move all day!
After an hour and a half walking along the Shropshire Union canal, the “living dead” who by this time were dragging various limbs behind us, could see the end and very welcome it was too. Fourteen of the sixteen made it to Nantwich, two of the Warrington Four having to call it a day due to unbeatable blisters. The first ones home managed 3 or 4 drinks by the time the last ones in arrived and the mood was extremely jovial as, black nails, giant blisters and other injuries were compared, photographed and admired.
A great weekend was enjoyed by all and Duncan, our ideas man, is currently tasked with finding something else to do in September.