RSF - The Off Road Cycling Club

The Adventure Starts Here

We started today’s ride from the old spinning mill (now a shopping mall), built in 1865, at Botany Bay. Thankfully there is no longer an admission charge; at one time it had climbed to £3-50; they really shot themselves in the foot with this. I don’t think to this day it has been forgotten, as attested by visitor numbers.

However, it was warm and dry in their café whilst we imbibed a hot drink, or two. When I had looked at the weather forecast for today, earlier in the week, thunder, lightning and heavy rain was forecast; later in the week, on Friday morning, it was predicting only light rain, for our ride. Friday’s forecast was for light cloud, but looking through the window it was in actual fact snowing: I’ll check the barometer and the pine cone next, oh, and waggle a wet finger in the air, after all I think that’s all the meteorologists do isn’t it?......but what did the day actually have in store?…….

Later after two lattes and forty minutes we ventured outside, the rain had almost ceased; on our arrival it was beating on the roof of the veranda akin to the collective timpani of multitudinous orchestras. Only a short time later we were riding into the sunshine and towards blue skies, and it stayed dry for the remainder of the ride; we also enjoyed a tail-wind for the return leg.

Leaving the premises at the appointed time we cycled south on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal’s towpath, which at this point is coincident with NCN55. Foregoing the delights of Frederick’s Ice Cream Parlour (it does good coffee too, and now has an access ramp for cyclists instead of the flight of stone steps.) we continued along, going under Skew Bridge at Heath Charnock.

Just before passing the canal boat hire premises near Rawlinson Lane we crossed the path of what was the railway serving the open cast coal mines of the Coppull area. In parts the railway route can still be ridden (unofficially) just north of the A5106.

The next development on the canal is the large marina of the title of this report, the White Bear; this is reputed to be the largest of its kind on the canal and caters for all the needs of canal users. From the cyclists point of view its main attraction, for me anyway, is its super café. It is run by the Brothers of Charity, supporting those less fortunate than ourselves; a few years ago it ceased to open at weekends, so onward we went.

Leaving the canal just after Jubilee Playing fields we crossed Harris Road Bridge to arrive at Adlington’s Corner House Café on the A6 for refreshments.

There was a minor delay before setting off on the return leg, Martin had suffered a puncture; this was soon fixed; the chap next door to the café loaned us his track pump.

Our return route was simply a reversal of the outward journey, and considering the early morning weather we were very fortunate to arrive back dry. Jim set off his ride home from Botany Bay, Fleur left us at Adlington, and Ken left at Rawlinson Lane, Heath Charnock for their rides home; Jack, Martin and I had driven over.

The photographs of the ride may be viewed here on our Flickr account.

Considering the early morning weather I was pleasantly surprised at the turnout, and as luck would have it was a good day for the ride. Thank you all for such a nice and convivial sojourn.See you all at Helmshore next week, Brian.