Inaugural Walk

Cut the ribbon and we're off! Guard of Honour Its a piece of cake! Norman at the Stork Signing In Will there be some for us Norman?
Breath of Fresh Air – Sunday October 18th 2009

Leader – numerous!

What better way to celebrate Stormin’ Norman Thomas’ 70th birthday than to walk one of his favourite routes? Certainly 64 people on the day felt it was a great idea, making it a truly memorable club event.

Coffee and tea were laid on at the Stork Inn, Conder Green prior to our start. This is not yet another sign that we are all getting soft. It was to give everyone the opportunity to say hallo to Norman’s wife Betty and to view his birthday cake, which really was a delight to behold with the Cockerham Sands lighthouse emblazoned on the top.

Plans to have the route officially adopted as the “Breath of Fresh Air” trail are well advanced. Word regarding a Lottery funding application to cover the cost of a guide and waymarking is expected sooner rather than later. This event gave LDWA members the opportunity to test out and comment on the definitive routes.

We all formed a Guard of Honour for Norman at Conder Green and just after nine we were underway. It is doubtful that Glasson Dock had seen such activity so early on a Sunday morning for a long time.

To give everyone the chance to be there for Norman shorter options than the full 22 miles had been organised. Reg kindly led a 10 miler and Bernard a 14. As we headed out round Cockerham point towards the lighthouse and the abbey ruins it became apparent why the route was designated “Breath of Fresh Air”. The breeze coming off the sea brought a glow to everyone’s face.

At Cockerham car park Reg led off from the main group the 10 milers who included the amazing Sue Boardman determined to be there despite still limping heavily from her horrific broken leg injury.

After the delights of the coastal section we were treated to an inland traipse towards the Lancaster Canal past the impressive Ellel Hall. As we approached Aldcliffe we all had lunch together before Bernard took the 14 milers off on their merry way.

The only disappointment on the day was the afternoon weather and we had to endure some heavy rain. It may have dampened clothing but it didn’t get to our spirits and the leg pulling with “old man” Norman didn’t relent for one minute – well done Andy and Mike!

After a quick look at the amazing Lancaster aqueduct where the canal passes over the Lune we took the riverbank path into the city centre. After inspiring views of the castle and cathedral we trekked out beyond the waterside warehouses to the disused railway line which took us back to Conder Green.

Back in the comfort and warmth of the excellent Stork Inn we had the treat of a piece of cake whilst we all filled in our comments on the route. Several of us partook of the inn fayre and the overnight accommodation and it is to be highly recommended.

So Happy Birthday Norman and thanks for everything. Well done everyone – and especially Viv, for making it such a memorable event for him.
Across to Thurnham Along the canal Approaching Bridge Autumn Colours - lovely. By the Lighthouse By the Marsh Coming round the bridge Hiya Bob! Mind the Cattle Queue for the stile Reaching the canal The 14 milers head for Conder Green Turning towards Cockerham What a good turn out! By the Marsh Yet more canal.