Day 153 & 154. Saturday 23rd & Sun 24th September. Flookburgh to Carnforth.
After a couple of days hiding from the tail end of the hurricane, I had been invited to meeting in Garstang which wasn't on the coast so I walked to Grange-Over-Sands to catch the train to Lancaster where I would then jump on a bus down to Garstang. Not a particularly interesting day but my foot was killing me and it was chucking it down with rain for most of the day so no complaining from me sitting on a warm train and bus for most of the day. I got to the hotel before Andy and Ken who were riding over from Lincolnshire so I booked in so I could get my kit out and hang it around my room to dry out. The hotel receptionist very kindly offered to do me a service wash free of charge so I stripped off and put everything in the wash before i enjoyed a lovely hot shower. I'd just got on the bed to have 10 minutes when I heard the unmistakable sounds of a BMW 1250, in fact not one but two BMW's 1250's pulling into the car park so I went down to meet the boys.
After a catch up over a couple of pints, we were dressed and in the taxi on route to the Lodge meeting up in Garstang, the Lancashire Women's Institute had taken over the hotel for the week and there were displays all over the hotel showing off their cooking and craft skills so I had to drag Andy out of the door as a few of the Ladies were trying to get him to join up !!! The lodge was a brand new facility which was very posh indeed and we enjoyed a great ceremony of raising, a lovely meal after which Scott gave us a lift back to the hotel. Scott is also a biker as was the candidate for the evening Adam, we will definitely making a return trip to see these guys when I finish this walk, thanks to everyone at Longridge Lodge No. 8077 for the excellent evening and for your generous donation.
The following day was going to be a day of walking but as the guys had very kindly booked the three of us into the hotel for two nights we decided to have a day off instead and go into Blackpool on the bus, it would be far too complicated to try and get back up to Grange-over-sands to walk down the coast to then have to get back to the hotel, we'd spend most of the day on the bus !!
What a fantastic day we had playing tourists in Blackpool, we walked over seven miles checking out the resort, we had a trip up to the top of Blackpool Tower and in the afternoon had a bit of a pub crawl around some of the many bars, our intention was to go back to the hotel to have some dinner but I think we ended up on the ten o'clock bus back so we managed a night cap in the hotel bar before we got to bed sometime in the early hours. It's always the same when the three of us get together, we start out with the best intentions of behaving like grown ups and being sensible but it never turns out quite the way we plan it. We always have a great laugh though and it's never an early night. We clearly all have the same outlook on life, we're not here for a long time so we might as well make sure it's a good time, we'll sleep forever when we're dead !!!
It's mad when I think, I had never met either Andy or Ken until we created the Lincolnshire Masonic Motorcycycle Club, we toured on the motorbikes over a few years to Switzerland, Germany and Scotland and we became very good freinds. It was in a bar in Switzerland one night when we decided with another couple of good freinds, Karl and Rob, that we would challenge ourselves. Could we create a brand new Masonic Lodge in Lincolnshire, a Motorcycle Lodge, we had no idea but we set to it and here we are six years later, the Lodge is now in it's Second year and is doing a great job bringing together men from all over Lincolnshire to share their passion of riding motorcycles and Freemasonry, which surprising go very well together. Of course it wasn't all down to just the five of us, the Motorcycle Club had 40 members within a few weeks so we had a pool of very active, keen and able Freemasons which came together to create the Lodge. Andy and Ken were then and still are two of the most positive, 'can do' blokes I've ever met and I love being in their company, I genuinely feel that when we get together and set our minds to a task, we can do anything we want.
I often get the blame for the late nights and the slightly excessive over indulgence with the beer but I want to put it out there here and now, in black and white, Andy is the bad influence and I know Ken will agree with me...
Anyway, I'm not my holidays here, I've got a job to do !! After a good breakfast the next morning, I thanked this pair of slightly mad but loveable rogues for their generosity and for riding over to see me. They paid for my hotel room for which I'm very grateful but more than that, I loved spending the day with them both, a real tonic and a huge boost for me right now. We all checked out, they rode off and I walked back to the bus stop to get back up to Lancaster and then back to Grange-over-Sands where I had been invited to another meeting.
I arrived back in Grange mid afternoon so following Google maps I walked up to the Lodge so I knew exactly where it was, I would then find somewhere to camp for the night. Walking up the very steep hill to the Lodge a car pulled up outside, it was the Lodge DC Nigel who was delivering the enormous Pie for that nights festive board so he kindly showed me around and then drove me in his car to the local campsite, I say local but it was a good half an hours walk further up into the hills so Nigel kindly said he would return to collect me later that evening. It was to be a couple of firsts for me today, of the 31 meetings I had attended while on this adventure, this was the first meeting I had attended from my tent which of course meant I had not been able to iron my shirt or waistcoat although to be fair, they weren't too bad as I'd ironed them two days earlier in Garstang. Tonight's meeting was also the first ever Royal Arch Chapter meeting I had attended and I was grateful that I'd been offered the use of some regalia as I'm not carrying Chapter and Craft regalia in my rucksack.
I had a lovely evening with the Companions from Grange Chapter No. 1715 and once again, thank you for the warmth of your welcome and for your kind donation to my cause.
Nigel picked me up from the campsite and we enjoyed a nice breakfast before we parted and I walked around to Arnside, by late afternoon I arrived in a lovely little village called Silverdale where I walked down to the beach to recce a decent spot to camp before heading back up to the hotel, they had a large tv and the rugby was about to start so rather than lie in my tent by myself on a Saturday night, I figured a couple of pints while watching both games of rugby would be a much better plan. It wasn't a very busy bar but I did have a chat with a few couples who were in there eating, after the rugby had fininshed I went to the bar to pay my tab which included the pie & chips I'd had for my tea but someone had already paid my bill !! I have no idea who it was as nobody mentioned they had done such a lovely thing so whoever it was in The Silverdale Hotel, thank you very much for treating me, that was very kind of you. 😍
I packed up the following morning and walked back into the village to the cafe for a coffee and a bacon butty before heading off, it was Sunday morning and I was in no rush so I figured I'd get the day off to a good start by having a nice relaxing breakfast. Nicki was still setting up at the Blossom Bird cafe so I sat and chatted with her while she busied herself preparing for a busy morning, what a lovely lady and as we talked I realised, a very inspirational lady. Nicki had been working in the education sector for nearly 30 years, working with Special Educational needs children as I had done for nearly 20 years, she was about to retire but instead of sitting back and putting her feet up, she had embarked upon her lifelong dream of owning a village coffee shop/cafe. She was so enthusiastic about the challenge she had set herself, despite the obvious hard work and financial risk. It was great to feed off her enthusiasm and it got me thinking that I am very much in the same predicament, I am the same age as Nicki and when I return to Lincolnshire when this challenge is finished, I will be looking to start work again although I don't have a lifelong dream of something I'd like to do. As Nicki has proved though, it can be done and I left her lovely cafe with a full belly feeling very positive.
Thanks Nicki for the breakfast and for the chat, good luck and I'll be back next year on the motorbike for a coffee and some of that cake. 🥰
I walked down to Carnforth where I stopped for some lunch and to let a heavy rain front pass over, I had managed to avoid getting wet for most of the day but it wouldn't last. When I thought the rain had passed I moved on down the coast towards Bolton-le-Sands where I found a campsite for the night, sadly the rain returned so I walked for the last couple of hours and pitched up in the rain. A nice hot shower sorted me out though and I was tucked up in bed for just after 8pm.... I'd only walked 24 miles over the past two days but the pain in my left foot continues to get worse each day, I'm going to have to do something about it, the continuous pain is starting to get me down...