Day 161 & 162. Sunday 29th & Monday 30th October. Longton to Southport.
I'm not sure if I slept in Longton or in Walmer Bridge, both villages seemed like one place and it was gone 1am when I crawled into my bag so I wasn't bothered about trying to work it out. The ambulance station had a big metal fence around the grounds and that was covered by a big thick bush so my tent wasn't visible from the road, feeling safe, I slept really well. Despite my air bed giving up, I was having to lie on it uninflated. It had somehow started to delaminate internally so the small ribs of air had merged causing a large bulbous air pocket which was really uncomfortable to lie on. I'd spoken to Michelle who had sent me the receipt for the bed by email, it wasn't cheap and has a lifetime guarantee so I've been in touch with the supplier to work out how I can get an exchange so until then I've got a thin uncomfortable mat to sleep on !!! That said, I still managed 6 hours 22 minutes quality sleep and 1 hour 17 minutes of deep sleep, that will be the result of walking just over 18 miles I guess, I was shattered and feeling safe tucked away in my tent, I slept like a log.
I had a lovely lie in too, it was Sunday morning and I'd done a bit of research so I knew there was a church service taking place at St Michael's church in Much Hoole which was only a couple of miles down the road. A steady bimble down to the next village and I arrived half an hour early but was welcomed into the church and offered a nice big mug of coffee. What a lovely group of people they were, I was made so welcome and was introduced to a couple of Freemasons who visit the church regularly. I was intrigued to learn and read about a gentleman called Jeremiah Horrocks who had been a curate of this little church in Hoole, way back in the 1630's. Men spoke of him as "one of Englands most gifted sons" and "the pride and boast of British astronomy". Amongst his discoveries were the nearest approximation to the suns parallax, the correct theory of the moon and the transit of Venus, yep, just as I thought, none of that means anything at all !!! Incredible really when you consider he achieved all this by observing and recording the stars and planets with equipment he adapted and made himself but more incredible than that, he achieved all this before he died in January 1631, aged just 22. Perhaps his downfall was returning to his birthplace at Toxteth Park but it is said he died suddenly of unknown causes, his achievements being so well thought of, he has a commemorative plaque in Westminster Abbey next to Sir Issac Newton.
I walked around to Hesketh Bank, stopping for a Sunday lunch in a small cafe on the way to a campsite which was in the middle of nowhere and had chickens wandering around pecking at my feet while I was pitching my tent. A nice steady 12 miles walked, full of roast beef with all the trimmings I was pitched up, showered and lying in my tent listening to the rain bouncing off the canvas.
It was another steady 12 miles around to Southport the following morning, I'd made contact with Adrian, the Director of Ceremonies in The West Lancashire Lodge No. 1403, he had kindly offered me place to pitch up for the night and had invited me as his guest to his Lodge meeting. What a spectacular building.
In fairness, many of the streets of Southport are lined with beautiful buildings, it was clearly a very affluent area back in the day and from what saw, it has lost none of its splendour. The accents of the locals was clearly changing, the Lancashire accent slowly giving way to an accent sounding more and more like a gentle Scouce twang. I had a fantastic evening in the company of the members of the Lodge, enjoyed a lovely meal and following the meal the D.C proceeded to implement a process of fines for anyone that may have performed a part of their ritual with anything less than perfection, was all done in good humour creating a lot of laughs and the result was a very generous donation of £200 to my MCF fund. Thanks you guys for a wonderful evening and for your generous donation and thank you Adrian for hosting me.
I headed off around the coast the next morning heading south to Formby, I had intended on finding a pitch for the night somewhere on the dunes but it didn't quite go as planned. I needed to go back to Lincolnshire the following day to have my foot and my new boot insoles checked but after checking the train times, if I waited until the following morning, there was no way I would have time to pack my tent, walk to the bus, travel the hour or so to Liverpool and then get to Lime Street to catch the train. Also, it was already raining and forecast to rain for most of the night so I decided to do the walking and bus ride while I had plenty of time that evening. I would try to avoid walking on unknown rough terrain in the dark but walking on foot paths through residential areas presents no problems and it was amusing watching the 'trick or treating' kids wandering around the street dressed as ghosts, monsters and Spider-Man !!! Don't ask me !!! I got into Liverpool just after 8pm so paid the handsome fee of £16.08 for a bed in a hostel, smack bang in the centre of the city on the edge of the Cavern Quarter. How does that work ??? Some campsites want to charge me £20-£25 for a piece of wet grass, a freezing cold shower block which needs 20p the get some luke warm water and here, in the heart of Gods chosen city, a warm bed, a hot shower and a 2 second walk into most iconic music destination in the world. I dumped my kit and went for a walk around the city, grabbed a few pints and some food before heading back to the hostel for a shower and bed.
Who doesn't love Liverpool ?? It's an incredible city and I was loving having this unexpected time to take in some of the sights.
Surprise, Surprise !!! A quick cuddle with 'our Cilla', much to see and as it was also Halloween there was some amazing people watching to be done... I would be needing my ear plugs in though when I got in bed, I needed my beauty sleep but clearly the Cavern Quarter did not...