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Day Out At Goosnargh and Garstang Fords 2004 - By Ren Withnell

Saturday, and the gf is not actually working this morning so we have a whole day to go ford-spotting! Of course dragging the gf out of bed early enough to make the most of the day was hard work. I'd mentioned my run out at BTB.C but I did not expect anyone to come along due to my lack of organisational skills. We arrived in Preston a little early so we stopped at a bike shop then made our way to the rendezvous point. We only waited till the alloted 10:30 and no-one arrived. I'm kind of glad really, as most of the day was spent getting more and more lost. Any fellow bikers would have murdered me for my poor navigation so being alone was a blessing in disguise.

my gf and bike parked under the motorway bridge at preston Waiting...and hoping no-one arrives!

Off we set to the first ford round the back and north of Goosnargh. Finding Goosnargh was no trouble and we only had to u-turn once to find the ford. The ford is a simple stream crossing a dirty but metaled road in a very pleasant bit of greenery.

a small ford across a narrow road Pleasant little splashy ford

Time for brunch (breakfast/lunch). All the bikers around Rivvie seem to harp on about a cafe in Chipping and seeing as we were in the area, off we went. All the roads in this are look the same. Small single track lanes with the odd narrow "B" class road here and there. Suffice to say the signposted 6 miles to Chipping took me some 15 miles to achieve. Brunch was splendid and the gf stocked up on grease and fat to keep her warm for the rest of the day. Time to find the Garstang ford

The sign said Garstang, 10 miles. I made it 15. After several runs around Garstang town center I gave up all hope of finding the western side of the ford so aimed for the eastern. Into the beautiful countryside again and this time my map-reading was spot on! The ford is down a track and I knew it was a biggie...but not like this! The track slips into a river with no exit on the other side. Wetroads.com report the exit is further up the river. Nope, I ain't gonna risk crossing this one, but at least I found it!!

a muddy road leading into a deep and fast river! Track just vanishes into a big river
my gf looking puzzled stood next to the bike "Perhaps not?..."

Only a couple of miles and about 6 u-turns later we headed for 2 fords listed on wetroads.com, but these were has been fords now featuring a concrete tube running under the road. The next and last ford was again a couple of miles and about 4 u-turns away, but we didn't dare venture to this one. Upon arrival at the correct road (I hope!) it dwindled into a track then shot off downhill at a very steep angle. We started to walk down but the valley floor, and presumably the ford, was some distance away and walking in bike boots with my dodgy leg is not a hobby of mine. Also the batteries in the camera had gone flat, bummer.

We filled up with petrol and headed to Penwortham and Lostock Hall. We tried in vain and many u-turns to find a BTB.C members bike shop, but gave up and went to my mother's house for a brew. My mother did some investigating (yellow pages) and found the number for the bike shop. One set of instructions later and we found the shop, but without instructions I would never have found it. A pleasant chat ensued then the gf and myself departed for home, my home this time. I know South Lancashire and North West Manchester like the back of my hand...but on the trip home I still got a touch lost!

I enjoyed myself. The gf says she did too. I'm fortunate that she is able to laugh at my totally hopeless navigation and this stops me from getting annoyed with myself. I've learnt that unless you know exactly where you are going then leave 50% more time just for getting lost, and getting lost is half the fun anyhow. I'd like to spend some cash and get me a GPS, but first I need to learn to read a map. Top fun.

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Reader's Comments

Dave said :-
I've looked at crossing this ford in my shogun and bottled out, so fair play to you having a look on a bike !!!
UTC
gary smith said :-
i have driven aid ford in my discovery its really not that bad its quite deep by the foot bridge but the rest of it could be walked with wellies on
UTC
Greg said :-
I've crossed the ford at Garstang many time in my Ranger 4x4, but last time I got the line wrong, Vehicle dipped to one side, water lapping up at the window, flooded engine, new engine. I only use it is shallow wayer now, there is a big hole in front of west exit.
UTC
Ren said :-
YIKES! Greg, a new engine...gutted! I'm glad I never tried to navigate this ford, I can't be going around fitting new motors all the time.
UTC
 

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