Posted by: natsevs | April 30, 2010

Flint to Warton

I headed out of Flint on the main road and crossed over the road bridge towards Queensferry. There wasn’t exactly a path by the road, but there was a verge that did the job. Once over the bridge I had to head left at some point and forge a path somewhere between a rifle range and the train tracks. I climbed down the verge to a decent looking bit, but a water ditch soon blocked my way and I had to go along a bank on the edge of the rifle range parallel to he road.

By the railway, there was a dirt road which I was able to take for a good while. At some point along here, I passed over the border back into England from Wales. One country down.

Towards the end of the dirt road was a fence, forcing me down into some really boggy marshy fields, then along a water ditch with decaying sheep in, then on to the dirt road down and the rifle range. I then came to Little Neston.

From here on there was coast path between all the towns along the Wirral. At Parkgate, I bought myself a Nicholls ice cream, they’re famous apparently and had been reccomended to me by a few people. I went for Cinder toffee, another flavour down.

I reached Thurstaston around half one where I was greeted by Kay from Cromwells Restaurant and several other people, either from the restaurant or twitter. I had been rung by Kay the previous evening offering me a free lunch on the beach. They had set up a table and chair on the front where I sat and had a very tasty chicken pasta and salad watched by everyone. They were all lovely and it was such a nice thing to do.So thankyou again to them.

When I set off again I had the company of Sheila until West Kirby. She is doing a charity walk in the Sahara and is in training at the moment. When I got to Holylake, I started to get seriously worried about whether I would make it to the last ferry over to Liverpool. My legs were aching and I was going to be phoned by local radio around 6.15pm just to add to the stress. Despite the sea wall to Wallasey seeming to take forever, I made it to the terminal at 6.20pm. In time for the ferry before the last one, which was then late.

The view over to Liverpool was actually quite impressive. I hadn’t really expected it to be, but was pleasantly surprised with Liverpool on a whole. My cousin Theresa met me on the other side and we got the bus back to her flat. I stayed there with her and Tony for two nights as the following day I allowed myself a day off.

On my day off I largely did nothing, but did go for a wander through the local park and past Penny Lane. It was quite sunny so I had a sit and read the paper with a sticky toffee muffin and generally pretended I wasn’t amid a walk around the country for the day. In the evening, we played a bit of scrabble and I got rid of all my letters for the first time ever. Roulette is a beautiful word.

In the morning, I saw that my slightly leaky water pouch had finally given up and had a full on hole in now. So I dumped that and Theresa came with me down to the Pierhead. I met a photographer there who made me walk up and down far too many times then we headed out. Just as we set off John (or McKnut), off of Twitter turned up to walk with me too. Theresa soon had to turn off to go to work, but John walked with me into Crosby.

Before that though we had to make our way through the docklands, which were miserable so I was very glad of the company and conversation. At Crosby, we were kept company by the Another Place statues in the sea to our left. I quite like it.

John left at the other end and I carried on along the front towards Formby via Hightown. Hightown was rubbish, I was starving and hadn’t had any water all day so found the only shop there. The problem was that I only had £1 and there wasn’t a cash machine so all  I could buy was a 50cl bottle water for a ridiculous 89p. Eighty-nine pence!

There also weren’t any public toilets, not even at the rail station, which was a problem.

From Hightown, the path was along the railway before heading back out to the coast. Formby was really nice, pine trees and sand dunes, it felt like a different country. It is also a red squirrel reserve, as several people mentioned. The path disappeared at one point and I made my way in the direction I needed to go but hit a fence. I went the wrong way along it for a while before realising and turning around. Eventually, I got beyond the golf course it was enclosing and found a path again.

I had to go inland again soon and along the railway before walking along the road into Southport. I had no idea how far it was to get there because the only signs were cycle path ones, which showed the distance in minutes. Apparently, all cyclists go at exactly the same speed?! I did make it in the end and was met by a supermarket, which cheered me up considerably, even with Southport having a marsh for a beach. I stayed in a B&B here, and spent my evening eating through my new supplies and watching tv.

I had left the hotel by 9.30am, but waited on the promenade for my friend Rose to arrive who had taken the train over from Manchester to do a bit of walking with me. We set off along the front, then around the corner for the long journey up the river. We got onto the mainroad, which we would then be on all the way to Preston.

It wasn’t actually as bad as I had expected. The surrounding countryside was quite nice and it was pretty sunny. Rose did quite well to start with, but then started getting feet pains from blisters before the leg pain then started. We stopped a fair few times, but my back was particularly achey as well so I didn’t mind at all. We walked throuh a village around midday and stopped to get an ice cream from a place called Tootsies. Rose treated me to one and I got choclate lime (like the sweets), it was very good.

Just before Preston a woman asked us for directions from her car and I managed to help her using the map, so that was a good deed done. Rose headed for the train station here and I went on back down the other side of the river along more road. I stopped in Warton at a Country (and Western) Park. After asking my sister and brother to find me a campsite, this was the only one in the area that would take tents. I obviously would have stayed there even if it was one of many though. I walked in along the road and was greeted by Johnny Cash coming out of someones car stereo.

I couldn’t find the reception, but was helped out by some people outside the saloon. The reception was shut in the end, so I just pitched up and headed to the saloon for some tea. The woman who’d helped me before got me a stamp so that I didn’t have to pay to go in. It was like walking onto a film set except for the people in it. There was wood averywhere and county and western stars on the walls. I ordered my Texas burger then waited for my number to be shouted with a cheap beer. The place had three kinds of people in: country fanatics, bikers, and confused looking friends of country fanatics. Some people had really gone all out. My burger was pretty good and I had another beer, but left when the line dancing started.

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