day 3

Thursday 20th June 2013

As soon as I (unwillingly) got up it started to rain. The morning turned out to be fairly flat and I made good time, and rain didn't amount to much. I went through Knutsford, which seemed quite nice (away from the motorway service station), and around the side of Tatton Park, then across the Manchester ship canal (which was bigger than I was expecting; canal enthusiasts may not have been so surprised). The toll for the bridge was 25 p return for a car, bikes free.

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Manchester ship canal (that isn't a Photoshop merge mess, it really did look like that, and you can see the join in the road).

I stopped off in Leigh at a large Tesco, which provided a few supplies and a very welcome coffee. I joined the A6 after Westhoughton and followed it up to Adlington, which wasn't too busy and allowed me to cover the distance fairly quickly. It runs alongside the M61 and Bolton West services, which used to hold (in my family at least) the coveted 'worst service station in the country' title, but it has been redeveloped in the last couple of years and is now quite respectable.

North of Chorley I used route 91 to take me north and around Blackburn - cycle route signage rather minimal. I left it to head to Ribchester, where a marvellous descent (32 mph) was had down to the bridge over the Ribble, and then through town and up to the campsite. Dale Hey touring park had very helpful owners who were full of information and also kept the grass exceedingly neat. To other campsite owners - collect your clippings! It must be worth doing to minimise mess in the toilet block (but they also clog up cleats). Again it was quiet and I was the only tent; they obviously don't get many as not being sure what to charge me they asked me how much I usually paid.

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Rain clouds seemed to be approaching up the valley but never arrived.

59 miles - View route - download .gpx