If your idea of a quiet post-Christmas bout of relaxation consists of sprawling across sofas, slumbering in armchairs, or just not emerging from the bedroom until lunchtime on Boxing Day, join your correspondent in the sloth corner! If you are made of sterner stuff then joining Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder and his wife Sue on a stiff six-mile walk, in a wonderfully bracing seven degrees of Celsius, must be your best option.
To quote the Chairman of the South Fylde Group of Lodges and Chapters Ian Ward, “Question – what’s the best way to feel better after over indulging during the Christmas festivities? Answer – Walk! Walk! Walk!” Well yes, Ian. Your correspondent was dragged by his long-suffering wife (also called Sue) on a bracing 400 yard walk along the front at Cleveleys – well 800 yards really, we did have to walk back to the café for a seasonally calorific snack before driving home to tea.
However, back to the script! It seems that David, Sue, Ian and his schnauzer dog (Molly) were joined by some very fit people. There was mountaineer Bill Hembrow with his wife Ann and son David; John and Ruth Bradley and their two boxer dogs (Fred and Wilf); Ray Pinkstone and his dachshund (Freddie), joined by Dave and Paula McKee, along with Dave and Helen Barr.
In all 13 walkers, suitably attired, set off from Poulton Masonic Hall with their four-legged friends leading the way, making for the River Wyre. The first miles lead the walkers from the heart of Poulton, via Breck Road, to the banks of the river at Skippool, the Roman and mediaeval port for the area. The next two miles followed the picturesque banks of the River Wyre to Stanah Country Park, a popular recreational facility in the North Fylde area. They adopted a comfortable pace, passing many like-minded hikers wishing to ‘throw off’ the excesses of the festive season.
With three miles completed, it was time for a ‘refueling’ stop at Stanah Country Park. Hot soup, bacon baps, teas and coffees were the order of the day. Refueling completed, the next three miles took the walkers, through the country lanes of the North Fylde, eventually returning to their starting point at Poulton Masonic Hall.
All concerned agreed that the exercise had been well worth it. “Same again next year?” asked David. “Absolutely” they all replied – although Freddie the dachshund didn’t look quite so eager!
Pictures courtesy of Ian Ward