Leanne back, with another chunk of updates!
Day 43-Saturday 17th May:
The lads encountered the first rain of their time in England-well, we knew it had to happen sooner or later! The day was spent walking along the Liverpool and Leeds canal, and yet more money was given to the cause from kind donators in a tea shop on the way. It was also a bit of a sociable day, as the lads became friendly with a group of men in a boat on the canal-they apparently go boating there together every year and were what John S described as a 'bunch of characters' (although they still didn't turn down the offer of a cup of tea on the boat!). They also came across two walkers named Frank and Phil who were doing the long walk themselves...although this time from Land's End to John O'Groats-they've been going since April and don't expect to finish until July so the pace is obviously a bit slower than our lads! Camp was made outside the small town of Nelson, near Burnley (most famous for a tradition of extreme left wing politics, which led to it being nicknamed 'Little Moscow'!) with tea consisting of stewing steak with curry powder and rice.
Day 44-Sunday 18th May:
A sunnier day, and the Johns found themselves in familiar territory as they passed through Todmoren (pictured above)-a location they'd visited on a previous walk. With some of the locals remembering them, they were able to camp at Todmoren cricket club (also where they stopped off last time) and gain free admission to the cricket match taking place that day. Not too shabby! There was some bad news though, as John S's JetBoil, which he had actually managed to fix the day before, broke again...apparently the mesh from the aforementioned tea strainer was too weak. Bah! Still, the Jet Boil was not required that night-the lads had fond memories of Todmoren's Indian takeaways and were more than happy to try out another!
Day 45-Monday 19th May:
After the hospitality shown by the cricket club, the lads were in good spirits this morning-and this was only improved when the club's resident professional Gulam Bodi (who possibly plays for South Africa, but unfortunately cricket is one of the few sports I have absolutely no interest in!) presented them with a collection from the club members. The connection to Todmoren then grew as after deciding to continue their walk along the canals, the Johns joined the local library to get more information! The rest of the day was spent following the Manchester and Rochdale canal...although this seemed like a bit of a bad decision after a while when their trail started leading them through some decidedly dodgy areas. Their worries weren't eased when they met a local policewoman (PC Janice Parrott) who flashed her body armour and 'jokingly' suggested she arrested them for their own safety-they now had to decide whether to camp on the clearly dangerous canal paths, or continue walking on in the dark, and neither were options they were massively keen on. However, things worked out ok in the end when they came to a factory by the name of INX, which prints drink can labels. They were able to camp out in the grounds of the factory surrounded by people working night shift and had a relatively comfortable night, despite having stones thrown at them by some local lads at some point after dark. I have to say though, I think this was all very important to the whole experience for the lads...it wouldn't be much of a walk if there weren't some adventures along the way!
Day 46-Tuesday 20th May:
After a bit of a restless night, the lads were now determined to walk through Manchester (the canal conveniently cuts right through the city) and be out the other side by nightfall! To this purpose, they were up and raring to go at 7:30am, stopping only after a couple of hours to get themselves a free Full Monty breakfast and more donations from a burger van on the way. They even got part of the Manchester A-Z photocopied for them to help them find their way, so it turns out there are nice people in Manchester as well as Scotland! The walk continued non-stop all day, until at 6pm the lads set up camp on the Huddersfield and Peak Forest canal in a little place called Romily (of which I can find absolutely NO information online!). It didn't take them long to question their choice as they ended up right next to the main train line into Manchester, with trains zooming past every two minutes...but still, it surely had to be better than the night before!