Day 24 – Lancaster to Preston

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I was fortunate enough to discover that you can continue to walk along the canals all the way to Preston, by the advice of the manager of the Toll House Inn, but it would have taken much longer than I could walk in a day, so I planned a route which involved intermittent road walking as well. Surprisingly, my feet and legs were raring to go early this morning, so I requested a packed breakfast from my hotel and set off in hopes of chopping the day in half by taking a few hours rest by noon. I have been recently arriving to my daily destinations after 6pm, which doesn’t give me adequate time to rest in the evening if it was also my intention to explore the town or city I arrive to, so I am going to try and get out on the road earlier if I can. –Famous last words, as I’m far too fond of sleeping in.

I joined the Lancaster-Preston Road for quite a few miles as there was a well-maintained flat verge of either cut grass or gravel. The canal crossed just under the A6 near Garstang and it was pretty easy going until it pissed down, yet again, in the afternoon, and simply did not stop for the rest of the day. Being constantly sprayed by dirty water brought up by speeding HGV’s has left me in a foul, foul, foul mood; not to mention the ladish drivers that speed up as close to you as they can get and rank on their horns trying to scare you. A nice day to begin with that turned horrific. 😖

I find I can walk a good 18 miles in the morning if I set my mind to it, and it barely feels like I have walked at all. On average I’m walking about 3 miles an hour but can do 4 if I have a good surface and not being blown to and fro by winds. During the p.m. walking periods I tend to slow significantly and it can increase the overall walking time by at least another hour or so. My feet usually feel fine, but my gait tends not to be in any hurry to get anywhere. Funny, when my feet are next to falling off and I know there’s a shower and bed waiting for me I can near enough scale mountains. 

So I wanted to write a little about blisters. I studied a lot about their prevention before I started this journey, both online and from colleagues, and so far I’ve had only 2 since the walk began. One was a pre-existing blister, or rather, an open sore, from a new pair of street leather boots I’d worn straight out of the box, so it doesn’t really count. The other was caused from my boots being too tight during the Great Glen Way and it impacted my right little toe, but after a burst and a drop of tea tree oil it was gone, virtually overnight. I read once that during WWII soldiers used to wear their wive’s nylons underneath their heavy boot socks to prevent those nasty bubbles. The science behind blisters is all about heat and friction. When I was in Australia recently I bought a few pairs of Merino wool toe socks – basically socks with individual toes. This type of wool does exactly what it says on the tin. It is excellent for wicking away moisture, drying incredibly fast, and doesn’t hold smell from the body – I have both my base layer and underwear made of Merino wool. Wearing these socks beneath a regular ‘cool max’ boot sock has been the key to preventing blisters, in my experience. Unfortunately,  it hasn’t stopped sweat related fungus rash, but that is another story. 
Entrance to Lancaster Castle.

Another lovely canal-side walk. Mosquitos have now replaced midges – I really do not know which is worse!