The first plod from Great Mitton uphill to pick up the footpath down to the Ribble got me warmed up and then the sun came out, for a while. It was peaceful and beautiful so I just contented myself with where I was. I must get better at taking more pictures but couldn't be bothered pfaffing with my gloves and digging my camera out. The route follows the Ribble around some huge meanders with just a few detours up into woods and the slopes above the river. The navigation was fairly easy and before long I was on the outskirts of Ribchester. The next section to Hothersall was mostly track and so I was a ble to speed up a little. I also realised at this point that the total was not going to be over 26 so I added some extra along the lanes above Hothersall Lodge before returning to the Ribble Way. The next section had some very wet fields but I could just about remember the route across them from our adventures on the Ribble Challenge a couple of years ago. The descent to Brockholes is now well marked and on good paths as the Ribble Way converges with Preston Guild Wheel. I was tempted to stop for a cup of tea at the visitor centre but managed to resist and ploughed on towards the A6.
Any excuse to stop.... and it was here I noticed my shoe was falling apart. Opps that's two pairs in a fortnight. I must bin them and get some more.
This section should have been easy running but by now my legs were hurting and looking for any excuse to stop. I had a quiet smile thinking of how slowly we were moving by this point when we did the full route. Fortunately it's a well used section so I had lots of company and this kept me going today, after a fashion. I ignored the cafe in Avenham Park and plodded on towards the docks. Then the drizzle started and turned rapidly to sleet. OK I will stop and have that cup of tea after all, Marina coffee shop here I come. I must have been more thirsty than I realised because the pot of tea made three cups but they barely seemed to touch the sides.
At least it wasn't getting dark today. The Ribble Challenge is about 62 miles and even with an early start it was getting dark when we arrived at the end.
I also changed my planned route a little here as the main dock road is exposed and a long long slow up hill. I worked my way back via Ashton Park, Larches and home. A quick check made me realsie I needed about another mile so I did a rather odd circuit on our estate. Job done, just, over 26.5 miles but not quite 27. It should have been a little more really but the sleet finished me off (what a wimp).