Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
Click for Northbound hike
DS40 Hind's Head
DS40 Charnock Richard sign
Days S33 - S43                                                                   North of England
Day S40 - Barton to Charnock Richard
Day S39                     Pounding the pavement                        Day S41
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Scottish Highlands
Central Scotland
    Southern Scotland
North of England
English Midlands
    English West Country

Northbound Home
Wednesday, April 2,  2008

Time of departure: 8.45 am
Time of arrival: 4.00 pm
Place departed: Barton, Lancashire
Place arrived: Charnock Richard, Lancashire

Miles: 17.5
Cum miles: 550.2
Percent complete: 56.7

Bed sign The Hind's Head, Charnock Richard ***
Cost for bed and breakfast: 35 ($70)
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DS40 Flowers
DS40 Last Orders pub
Martin dropped me in Barton this morning at the same spot as he picked me up yesterday evening. In the interim, a tired and dirty hiker had been transformed into a fresh, clean one. Armed with Martin's sandwiches and Sue's caramel chocolate shortbread, not to mention their nurturing, I was ready for action.

On a route almost identical to last year's, though in the opposite direction of course, I pounded the pavement all day with a satisfying result in terms of mileage. I felt I needed to achieve mileages like today's for a couple of weeks to relieve my schedule pressure. This meant walking on roads, which didn't offend me, though it featured in half the comments from others.

There's another reason that I don't mind roads: it keeps me close to the British way of life. After all, you can walk in the countryside in most countries. A sheep is just a sheep, and manure is just manure. I didn't come from the States to see only countryside.

The street scene here is full of interest for me. The cars are different - smaller and more maneuverable - and the buses are different and so is their place in society. The houses are different, with durable masonry or stone walls and concrete tile or slate roofs, and people place a high value on "old". The stores are different in their appearance, their goods and their prices. Why do band-aids that cost 1 ($2) for 50 in the States cost 2 ($4) for 10 here? Why do the high-overhead main street stores still dominate retailing? The sidewalks are busier. The pubs have much more character than any at home. The people behave differently towards strangers. . .

Given that supermarket food is priced 25% higher than in the States, why is restaurant food priced 75% higher? Why are medical check-ups here so rare and so rudimentary? Compared with the States, why do people place a low priority on dentistry and a high priority on home decor? Why do building codes specify electrical outlets that have twice as many safety features as in the States (all plugs are grounded, all plugs are fused, and all outlets have a switch at their sides)?

Of course some things are interesting because they're just the same as at home. Why are most tractor drivers under 20- or over 70-years old? Why do people only scoop their dog poop when someone's watching? Why, oh why, do some people litter all the time, and some people never? Why is Bingo popular among smokers?

This isn't intended to be a balanced or learned commentary about British society. I'm just trying to explain why I rather like walking on roads and even in towns.

And there's something else. I've never quite gotten over the fact that a pint of beer cost 0.09 ($0.18) when I graduated, and costs 2.50 ($5.00) now. Most of the pubs are on roads, so it's quite clear where I need to be to research this matter. There, I beat around the bush a bit, but I got to the point in the end.
Day S39                                         2007 and 2008 Daryl May                                          Day S41