On an overcast morning I enjoyed a rare outing on Stumpy, on my own, to Pennington Flash.
The Loopline and Busway to Leigh, then a return to the Bridgewater Canal, got me to the Flash in an hour and three quarters. Hard work due to a persistent head wind.
Readers may recognise the familiar bench at the Flash, where my flask of tea and banana were most welcome.
We plan to come here on 3 August for the 9 am parkrun, so I decided to try out the canal towpath for the route home. My memory of this towpath is one of a very slow, muddy experience. Today, given the recent dry weather, I didn't expect that - just some long grass and hardened ruts. But I was wrong about that.
Here's the bridge on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, into which the Bridgewater Canal morphs in Leigh, where you turn down the hill to the Flash.
Looking in the direction of Leigh, red clover covers the verges of the firm gravel track just now.
Continuing on along the towpath beyond Leigh, the track remained unexpectedly solid. It's good to see that the necessary crossing of a water supply over the canal has been embellished with a useful footbridge.
Now then, what about that muddy/rutty towpath to Worsley? It has gone. There's an excellent cycle path all the way to Worsley and beyond. In fact, it now goes all the way to beyond Seamons Moss Bridge in Altrincham.
They haven't quite finished this section to Worsley, as the final non slip, frost resistant gravel finish needs to be applied to the tarmac, and the information boards need to be inserted. It was great to ride along today.
On the approach to Worsley the canal takes on an orange hue. Near here are the twin entrances to the Duke of Bridgewater's underground canal tunnels - the reason for the canal's existence. The orange colour is due to the water coming from the mines containing traces of iron ore.
The route from Timperley via the loopline was 29 km, taking me 1.75 hours. Returning via the towpath, the lower of the two routes shown below, was 27 km, and ten minutes quicker.
As usual, click on the images for better versions or a slideshow. And don't forget to turn up at Timperley Bridge (or elsewhere on the towpath, which will be our route that day) at 6.45 on 3 August if you'd like to join the 'parkrun tourists' on their visit to Pennington Flash.