Striding out

Hey there, how are you doing?  It’s a lovely sunny day here, and with the schools closing in the UK from today (Friday) until further notice (I’m trying not to be nervous about quite how long that might be!) and goodness knows what else might happen over the coming weeks, big daughter and I are taking the dog for a walk whilst we can.  Come with us!  You’ll need your jacket – it’s warm in the sunshine but there’s still an early Spring nip in the air.  We’re going to up Culcheth Linear Park so you’ll need your wellies too as it’s been very wet there recently.

Image shows the shadows of two people against a very muddy path!

Look at that path!  I told you that you’d need your wellies!

Image shows footprints in mud

You’ve been to the Linear Park on the blog with me before but that was quite a while ago so I’ll just remind you of what it is.  Many years ago, it used to be a railway line but the platforms and buildings were cleared in the 1960s and since then, it’s been managed by Warrington Borough Council and is now a long straight footpath (hence “linear”) that runs up to the edge of the new railway line.  There are a few other paths that intersect it and take you off to different parts of Culcheth, but we tend to stay on this path. It’s about 2.5 miles from the car park to the top and back, which is a good run for the dog and a nice walk for us.  The train tracks have long since gone and over the years, nature has reclaimed the area between farmers’ fields and a golf course and there’s now an abundance of wildlife, birds and flowers here that mean there’s something to see whatever time of year it is.

Someone is burning something nearby – one of the farmers, perhaps – can you smell it?  It’s definitely wood smoke and it doesn’t really smell as if it’s coming from a fire or a log burner either.  I can’t see anything and there’s nobody around who seems to be worried so we’ll just keep walking.  It’s quite a nice smell; homely, comforting, it reminds me of being curled up by the fire at home with my knitting.  But that can come later.  For now, we need the fresh air!

At the moment, the Spring flowers are starting to come out (and today, 20 March, is the Spring Equinox).  It’s not hard for us to spot the signs of life – look there, just by your feet … wood anemones growing in large clumps, their white faces turned to the sunshine …

Image shows a large clump of white wood anemones amongst green leaves

There’s plenty of wild garlic that grows around here too; this is the first that I’ve seen but I don’t think it will be long before the banks are covered.

Image shows broad green leaves of wild garlic

You can still see that that it used to be a railway cutting (it once carried the Lowton to Manchester branch of the local railway) because of the steep banks that go up from each side of the lower path.  Up to this old bridge, there’s a lower path which is usually very muddy when it rains, and an upper path that is much narrower and winds through the trees.  Either is good to walk on, and we tend to vary which one we choose to keep the dog on his toes (he tends to stop listening to me if he thinks he’s on the same-old-same-old walk).  After here, there’s just one path that goes right to the end – it might get very muddy up there!

Image is taken from underneath a railway bridge. To the left is brickwork, some wooden steps go up to the left to another path, and a muddy path leads straight ahead

I like the railway bridge.  I like the way the brickwork is curved (a curve makes a much stronger bridge) and also that it’s been left here.  In Liverpool – and probably other places too – there are apartments and hotels built into the old warehouses at the docks and they still have their curved brick ceilings.  I love them!  Imagine living somewhere with a ceiling that’s seen so much history … amazing!

The dog likes it because there’s a drainage ditch right underneath it that’s always full of muddy water.

Image shows exposed curved brickwork of an old railway bridge

Look at that blue sky!

Image shows dark branches silhouetted against a bright blue Spring sky

It’s such a glorious colour!  I can remember talking about blue skies like this when I was working on the colours for my Winwick Mum yarn with WYS.  You might even spot the same shade of blue in the Wildflower yarn …

We’re nearly at the end of the path now; we’ve walked just over a mile to get here, but I don’t think we’ll be going right to the end today!  I know we’ve got our wellies on, but that water where the path has flooded is still pretty deep and because it’s churned mud underneath, it’s still easy to miss your footing.  I’d rather not take an early bath!

Image shows a flooded path leading into the distance, framed by trees

We’re just going to turn around and take a walk back now.  Big daughter is wishing she’d brought her sunglasses with her, and I’m inclined to agree.  That sun is really bright, isn’t it?  How are you finding it?

It’s so lovely to be out in the fresh air.  I’m remembering to take my big breaths as I said I was going to do in my last Monthly Musing.  It’s been so nice to spend a bit of time with big daughter too, and it’s been good for her to get outside as well as she’s been working hard on her dissertation.  What’s really special for me is that she talks to me about all kinds of things; sometimes I have to remind myself that she is my daughter and not just a friend, and then it always strikes me how lucky I am to have both.

Who knows what the next few weeks or months are going to bring us, and I do hope that as Spring unfolds we are able to still get out and about, even if it’s just in the garden.  Already, if you’ve seen photos in the media, it seems that the wider world is appreciating us humans being about less, and with more time at home inevitable as most children are kept off school (thankfully, at the time of writing this, children whose parents are involved in key roles to keep people safe will be able to go into school to relieve pressure on their parents; we all owe a great deal to our front line workers in whatever capacity), I sincerely hope that we are all able to find some positive in this experience that we can carry forward with us when the restrictions are lifted.

Image shows a sunny woodland path leading between bare trees

Thank you for coming for a walk with us.  It’ll be time for a brew and possibly a shortbread biscuit or two when we get home; they always taste so much better after fresh air!

Stay well xx

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10 Responses

  1. Christina says:

    Lovely walk, thank you! It has been a glorious day here in Glasgow but just like in your part of the world, the forest paths are muddy and flooded. It has been fun cycling through this, never quite sure if I make it through the flooded parts or not 🙂

    Having grown up children is fun, I feel the same about my son as you do about your older daughter. I am quite surprised that I raised such a fine young man. Good luck to your daughter for writing her dissertation.

  2. happy hooker says:

    Read this just after coming in from an early morning walk myself. Yours is a much prettier one! Mine is just round the block, but I can look at people's gardens and walk past a wild coastal bit. We all need to keep fit and healthy to ward off this virus. A good few lungfuls of crisp, fresh air does the world of goodness. Hoping to get some more done in the garden later. Keep yourself and others safe. It's going to be a long haul, but we will get through it! xx

  3. Crafting With Tracy says:

    Thank you for bring a bit of the outside world to us xx

  4. Unknown says:

    I really enjoyed my walk with you. Your blogs are so inspiring. I met you at Black sheep wools and I have now started my first pair of socks. Stay safe.

  5. Susan Rayner says:

    What a lovely walk and beautiful photos – we ventured into our woods yesterday (the path into the woods is just a 100yds up the road from our house) only the second time since our lovely Border Terrier Peggotty died – poignant but so important to get out into the fresh air while possible! Need to keep exercising – can't knit all the time!

  6. Lenore says:

    Thank you for taking us on your walk, we need the exercise to keep us strong and healthy. Virtual hugs in these trying times. Xx

  7. happyneedles says:

    Thank you for taking us along on your walk. Mikki (K9) and I took walk yesterday, sun was out, 60 deg, got furthest distance out .. big dark cloud rolled in, we walked faster but not fast enough — we got to car to come home soaked. I did have a big towel for Mikki which she loved as we drove home. Thought maybe someone would get a chuckle from our walk. We did.

  8. Tanya says:

    Thank you for a lovely walk with you. My dogs would have loved the change of scene too

  9. Josephine says:

    Very nice walk, enjoyed greatly by we who are under a stay-at-home order. We can walk outside but only alone or 6 feet apart from (human) companions. And the weather today is dismal, so we're staying in.

    Happy Mothering Sunday to you!

  10. SOL says:

    I really enjoyed these photos. My passport tells me that I was born in Winwick, but as far as I can remember it was Culcheth (in the registration district of Winwick) and Newchurch Hall in particular. As a small child I took the train every day to school in Wigan from Newchurch Halt which I think might be in the Linear Park now. The funny thing is that my old home is now on the site of Taylor Industrial Park (??) from my researches on Google satellite images. I can see the railway line and I can see the field we used to cross to get to the platform. So, seeing your photos took me back quite a bit, even if not exactly to the right spot. Thanks for taking me on your walk.

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