Most of the country was covered in snow but here in Merseyside the roads were clear but a bit icy. We decided to stay local and visit Haigh Country park near Wigan. As we drove along the M58 the fog warning signs were on and it got worse as we headed up the M6. As we exited the M6 at Standish we encountered our first snow. There was more on the country roads and the final mile on the narrow lane leading to Haigh Hall was interesting.
The walk description in my book started from bridge 63 on the Leeds Liverpool canal but we decided to start from the car park at Haigh Hall as there were better facilities and the chance of a cup of tea at the end. The walk was a nominal 6 miles, not really long enough but Roger had a plan to extend it. Walking along the canal to bridge 64 would add on another 2 miles. Continuing to bridge 66 would add 3.2 miles whilst continuing to bridge 67 would add on 4.2 miles. Would this be a “Bridge too far”. We could then cross fields to link up with the old dismantled railway and follow this path back to bridge 63. lets go for it.
It was pleasant walking along the towpath with the fog hanging over the fields. The canal was frozen solid and canal boats were locked in. Several groups of ducks were looking perplexed as they sat upon the ice.
The path along the old railway was mainly in a deep cutting and although it was sheltered it felt much colder. We were quite warm as we were setting a good pace.
At bridge No 60, an iron trellis bridge in Haigh Country park we left the canal to walk down Hall lane towards the busy A49. We turned left and in another 200 yards we re-entered Haigh Country Park at the main Wigan entrance. We now had a pleasant walk along the main drive passing through woodland. The fog had lifted and the sun was out.
We passed a sign saying Haigh Hall, 11 minutes. Bob saw this as a challenge and increased the pace. I was left trailing at the back. We never made it in 11 minutes as this referred to cycling time.
We now had a choice. A pot of tea at the cafe, or a pint of beer back home. I was thirsty but I also wanted to drive back whilst the conditions were good. Once back in Waterloo we called in at the Volunteers Canteen. The guest beer was Doom Bar 4.0% ABV. Brewed by Sharp’s at Rock, Cornwall. Time to relax after a super day.