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Ride To The East Lancashire Fords 2004 Part 2 - By Ren Withnell

Another Saturday and the gf isn't working...but still I'm under orders to not pick her up before 10.30. I'm pleasantly suprised to find she's awake and in the shower when I arrive! Of course the usual timekillers keep me waiting, things like sorting the hair and making sure everywhere is locked up, but we eventually leave before 11.30. We take in a short farmtrack onto the motorway network then along the M65 to it's end.

The first ford is west of Foulridge. Foulridge, unlike it's name suggests, is quite a pleasant town on the edge of the industrial and engineering strip the M65 follows. A backroad leads us past a canal with barge trips on offer then into the countryside. A short run takes us to the ford. The ford is very simple and in pleasing surroundings and the odd ducks floating across the road!. The gf wants to take home one of the fluffy Lamas in the nearby field and I have a fight on my hands as Lama-knapping on a motorbike is not easy. Time to leave I think.

a ford across a narrow road with a duck paddling upstream Note the duck, fording the ford. They seemed to fly upstream then float by, then do it again. Perhaps it's some sort of duck dare game, to float across the ford.

The next ford is East of Foulridge in an area called Noyna. I'd seen on wetroads.com this was an unusual ford in that a stream runs along the road for a short distance rather than flows accross it. Again we are following single lane country roads until we find the ford. And what a ford! The road slips into a stream with concrete blocks and pebbles for it's base. This carries on for over a hundred metres and simply returns to tarmac at the other end. This would be one seriously fun ford to play in...but for one problem on a motorbike. Anyone who has crossed a stream on foot will know you get a green slime on the rocks which is incredibly slippery. This applies to all fords and especially on a bike you need to be very careful. On a plain straight ford, as long as you keep straight and the water flow is not too strong, you can splash through with some gusto. On this ford the surface is very broken up, there is a bend to navigate and plenty of the green slime. This meant the gf had to carefully get off the bike mid-ford as the bike was sliding everywhere. Even solo I had to walk on the bike, being very careful where I place my feet. I was glad to get out. Even walking across to get piccies I nearly slipped over. Still, I should imagine it would be great fun on a quad!.

a narrow stony and slimy ford runs alng the track for some way as a car drives by Alright for you car folks, I was nearly on my arse down here!

We set off again to head homewards. Hunger called and after much searching we found a garden center with a cafe. It was very posh, very expensive and not very impressive or tasty. We really really need to be bringing lunches along with us. With the cost of fuel and a fancy meal this day out will stand us at £20. Making butties will nearly half this. We live, and sometimes we even learn.

On our way home we stoped at Houghton Bottoms ford. This ford crosses a real river, not a stream. It has steep banks and only leads to a farm, so no reason for me to cross. If I'm honest I chickened out again as I had visions of me floating off to the sea while the bike rested under 2 feet of water. I'm sure it could be done...but why risk it for no reason? Upon re-reading this I now realise I am getting old, sensible and probably boring.

a muddy track leading to a deep river Perhaps one day...when I am rich and have a big 4 by 4

We set off home. It had rained, we had only been a little bit lost this time, I'd nearly dropped the bike on ford-slime and I'd realised I am a tight-arse and a chicken and I'm getting worse as I get older. Other than that we'd really enjoyed ourselves.

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Reader's Comments

florence said :-
did the noyna this weekend 5 of us just ploughed in without testing the water first...............like sensible peeps....
1st one got bogged down / dismounted and recovered bike then fell over when bike was safely parked, oops.
2nd one made it with lots of slips and seriously wet feet, he hotfooted it back to tell us/ me not to risk it..sweetie...tooooooooooo late, girlie here was beyond the point of no return. Amazingly i did not drop my bike more luck involved i suspect. all crossed safely in the end, huge fun but definately risky , toooooo much slime. xx
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