Up for breakfast at 8 - which was nothing special. Poorest breakfast of the trip so far by far. Neither of us really ate enough so we had to stop a couple of additional times during the day.
The forecast said it would be dry all day but as we got ready to leave and looked out the window it was drizzling. It stopped before we set off though and did indeed stay dry all day. It was grey and overcast with a cold northerly wind which was in our faces most of the day. The whole point of starting at Land's End is to get a tail wind!
We had a bit of hassle negotiating our way out of Ironbridge and Telford. We started by taking a slightly circuitous route out of Ironbridge in order to avoid a long climb. That was reasonably successful - we had a short push - but we missed a turn so it was slightly more circuitous than intended by about a mile. Oops.
Telford has a lot of busy roads with cycle paths beside many of them but unless you know where they all go it's not very helpful. A few times we saw one on the wrong side of the road or crossed the road to get on one to discover it finished after just a few yards.
We added another couple of extra miles as a result - then the GPS batteries went flat. I had spares but it added to the frustration. At last we got onto the back roads and the pace picked up. The terrain was much easier today being virtually flat after the initial climb out of Ironbridge Gorge. We made good time - stopping to admire a herd of black sheep. They must have been dipped in the Black Sea or something. (When I was very small I had a book called Eric's Journey. He fell in the Black Sea and his mother had to wash him and hang him on the line to dry.)
We continued on to Market Drayton where we paused for coffee and cakes - very good. I phoned Edinburgh Bikes to see if they had a rear mech hanger. Fortunately they did, so I asked them to put it aside and hopefully one of the family will go and collect it.
We continued from Market Drayton again along back roads another 15 miles to Nantwich where more coffee and food were required - this time in the bookshop!. Both pretty market towns. Leaving Nantwich we got onto a road that wasn't on the map so some minor adjustment to the route was required.
The next several miles were fairy uneventful other than a road that was marked as a dead end. We did quite a distance on this one (Grange Road). The GPS map insisted it went through and indeed for bikes it did. It got pretty rough and muddy at points - but we did eventually hit proper roads again.
There were lots of canals in today's route - The Shropshire Union, The Trent and Mersey and The Manchester Ship Canal to name 3. We also did a stretch near The River Weaver. I had investigated whether any of that might be cycleable, but it seemed not as was confirmed when we got there.
On the way towards Warrington we passed through Hartford and Northwich where an old university friend used to live. The last time I came this way by car many years ago and called in by chance she was out.
As we continued on we saw signs for the Anderton Boat Lift so paused to investigate. I took a photo with my proper camera which I will upload at a later date. This piece of Victorian heritage used to lift boats between the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey canal. Nothing much was happening when we there but it is a very impressive structure. (We have Andertons in our family tree but no connection as far as I know.)
We made the rest of the journey into Warrington without incident arriving just after 5 p.m. - about 8 hours after setting off. We had already decided to push on for a bit longer if possible to shorten the day to Kendal. Warrington surprised us. It looks like quiter a bit of money has been spent on regeneration. We made our way slowly north to the far side - where we spotted a pizza hut. Eating now seemed like a good plan. It turned out to be happy hour so we got a decent amount of food and drink for a fiver each. Definitely a good move.
The pizza completely rejuvenated Sandy. He disappeared off into the distance. I hardly saw him again until we got to Wigan. The places north of Warrington haven't had anything like the amount of money spent on them. I eventually found Sandy again on the way into Wigan. It was now nearly 8 p.m. and time to find somewhere to stay. We phoned a premier inn who had space - slightly off route but predictable.
We set off in that direction. I was beginning to feel tired.
As we made our way there Sandy spotted another place - The Beeches Hotel in Standish which was both cheaper, closer and a whole lot nicer.
We covered just over 85 miles today, although at a slightly slower average speed than yesterday despite the lack of hills. We have now done about 460 miles.
Tomorrow we are planning an earlyish start so now it is time for bed (said Zebedee).