I am training for the Moonlight Walk. It’s an organised half marathon walk to raise money for St Catherine’s Hospice. I will be walking with a close friend in memory of her lovely mum, whose life was cut short by cancer last Christmas. Training started yesterday with a not too gruelling thirty laps of the pool. With a strict regime to stick to, ahem, I enticed my four year old out into the brilliant sunshine to take a mystery tour of Preston. The deal was I’d write the words and he would take the pictures. Here’s where we headed…Advertisement
We didn’t get too far before he was seized by inspiration, to climb and jump off steps. And then photograph a sign. ‘What does it say?’ he asked. I read it out aloud and explained that it told the students where to go, by that point he was hurling himself off more concrete bollards.
We admired the new artwork by the Ship Hotel for a while, the second piece in a week I’m sure and ambled on down Maudland Bank. After shooting imaginary spider webs at some parked cars and passing people, him not me, we stopped to gaze at the clouds. An aeroplane soared into the Cumulus clouds, followed by questions regarding it’s apparent disappearance and destination.
Strolling on we came to a building site by Leighton Street, always inspiring much discussion, alas today was Sunday and no machines were in operation. The first site we came to on the junction of Maudland Bank and Leighton Street will be home to UCLAN’s JB Firth Building, to house the Schools of Forensic & Investigative Science and Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences.
The second site, located down the hill towards Marsh Lane will be UCLAN’s new facility for sports and leisure. We peered through the ‘public viewing’ hole, located at the perfect height for a four year old.
Onwards we marched past Terry the Tyre, short stuff’s pretend cafe (a street sign just off Bow Lane), past the confetti dusted register (Look inside! Look inside!), County Hall’s locked car park (sparking a lengthy conversation on barriers, padlocks and the need to lock up a car park on a Sunday- couldn’t answer that one). After questioning why we hadn’t brought a map (‘because mummy knows the way, next time I’ll remember to bring a map’) suddenly we came to an abrupt halt, ‘Where are we going?’
I explained we were taking a mystery tour to the park, I would write the story and he could take pictures. ‘Like a comic book? he said. I nodded, ‘Similar, but on the internet so everyone can read it.’ As we listed who would be able to see his photos online, we walked on down Fishergate Hill past the comically named Moose Hotel, turning into West Cliff and onto Miller Park.
We found a ‘secret pathway’ surrounded my looming boulders, one of Miller Park’s famous grottos and climbed amongst the rocks ’til we stopped to chat to a ladybird. After gentle handling Mrs Ladybird tipped onto her back and caused much hilarity as her little legs kicked frantically in the air. I rescued her and wisely she flew away and we walked on.
It seems a little bit strange walking along the once tree lined avenue along the side of the River Ribble without the green canopy of leaves above shading us. The view across the River is still beautiful and work is ongoing as part of the Phase 2 of the Park Restoration Project. New trees are to be planted, where the diseased ones were felled and no sign of old stumps either. Into Avenham Park we also found it easier to navigate paths and the Japanese Garden, which now has a new bamboo fence. The Japanese Garden is no longer overgrown, it looks like many of the larger plants and trees have been taken out. Although it is easier to walk around without losing short stuff to the pond part of me quite liked the hidden nooks and crannies created by the greenery. Oh well, nearby signs say they are restoring the Japanese Garden to it’s original design. The waterfall will be restored, the pond has been relined and a variety of new plants like bamboo, maples and alpines will be planted.
If you are walking around Avenham and Miller Park any time soon keep an eye out for the crazy hollow tree, so hollow a small child can fit inside. It’s by the river bank just after the echoey arch bridge as you walk along the avenue from Miller to Avenham Park. I think it escaped the cull as is has a large ‘B’ sprayed on the side, which means it’s home to bats. It looks like a large set of wooden curtains! I told short stuff it was magic but couldn’t tempt him close. I suppose it does look a bit spooky.
Time for a tea break at the The Riverside Cafe and then onto the grass for a kick about. Who needs a training regime when you have an energetic four year old eh?! Anyone who doesn’t have younger family members to tire out I did notice a leaflet for Military Style Fitness in Avenham Park. If you do try it out why not write a guest post for Blog Preston and let everyone know how it goes?
Three races down Avenham Park’s steep hill and a few football matches later we go forth. Given the choice of a leisurely stroll through town for compost and a play area, well you can probably guess that the swings and slide won. We walk onto a packed play area where mini spidey finds a fellow spiderman to climbs and shoot webs with. It seems ashame to break up the game but Spidey no.2 must go home and we walk back past the wildlife area with it’s totem poll and wooden frog, up the secret steps to the replica Russian cannons.
Suddenly a bear is chasing us, we run for the steps, along the avenue, crossing Avenham Lane carefully to Bairstow Street. With the bear in hot pursuit we dive into M&S for milk and a toilet stop. What a wonderful day its been!
Moonlight Walk is a ladies only walk, starts at midnight on Saturday 5th June 2010. All proceeds go to St Catherine’s Hospice.
Can you suggest any walks in Preston or within easy reach (i.e. bus or train journey) of the city?
What are you favourite places to go for walks?
Let us know below.
Images: EJK (age 4)