Saturday, 11 August 2012

Day 1&2 The Wandering Walton's quest for Olympic Gold! .... "Post Boxes obviously"

What can I say, it’s been a busy month with both Lilie Rose and Ben on their school holidays. Holiday Club’s, Sports Club’s and who can forget “The Olympics”. After such an amazing opening ceremony it could only mean one thing for Team GB and the British Nation as a whole,  GOLD Medals , lots of them.

As I start this write up Great Britain is placed third in the Olympic Medal tables with 25 yes, 25 GOLD Medals. How fantastic is that? I for one am Proud to be British. Team GB have raised every single persons spirits though out Great Britain to levels of excitement and happiness not seen on these shores for many a long year. I for one would like to thank each and every competitor, organiser, volunteer, guard, police person and  our fantastic military machine for making the 30th Anniversary 2012 Olympic Games the most uplifting, inspirational event ever seen on the planet. Thank You One & All from the Wandering Walton’s.  

“Back down on plant Raymondo”  Mr T had been sat still, very still indeed to be quite honest. Apart from a couple of jaunts around Derbyshire with Jeannie & a ride down to J&S Motorcycles near Chester with Ben the two of us had ground to a halt.

Scooting through the few websites I frequent, YamahaSuper Tenere Forum, The Manc Riders Forum,  & TheIron Butt UK Forum where on the 4th of August  I was pleased to spot Bunnyman’s thread aptly named “Ride Idea” which read:-

“Apparently a post box is being painted gold in the home
town of each Team GB gold medal winner.
Only staying gold for 6 months, but visiting them all
should make an interesting ride”.
And so the seed was sown and The Wandering Walton’s quest had begun. Martyn I’ve just got to say your idea is both inspirational and brilliant, well done that man.

My first thought after looking at the link Martyn had posted to the post offices official location site Gold Post Box Finder was this is going to be fun. After quickly plotting  the 16 Gold Post Boxes into MapSource I came up with a few figures and a basic SS1000 Route which I posted as a reply on the IBA UK Forum 

“Just hooking them all together and back to Manchester is 1774 miles.

1378 without the return trip.

Plus the games have not even finished yet


Ray (Roy)

At this point I had no idea Team GB were just about to go into Gold Medal overdrive!

After a few posts request help to get the exact coordinates from fellow IBA UK Members I started plotting the Gold Post Box sites in MapSource by looking at their locations, putting this into Google Maps and finding a local post code. How I wish I’d done things differently but with a list of 38 locations I was ready to hit the road, the aim to visit each and every one, taking photos of them all whilst enjoying a leisurely ride around our Great British Isles.

Wednesday 8th August 2012 - Day 1               Days Mileage 119 Miles – Total 119

Huddersfield. This was my first destination, local and quite simple to find taking that I had just done a search on Google Maps and acquired a post code for the local hotel on the other side of the square. “Road Closed” What a great start to my quest! Still that’s the beauty of being on a motorbike, up over the pavement and parking at the side of the box I “bagged” my first ever Gold Post Box, I was off!

Huddersfield Railway Road
Ed Clancy Gold medal Men's Team Pusuit

 Hebden Bridge. “Sorry love there’s no Gold Post Box here, you need Hebden in North Yorkshire” said the very helpful Post Office attendant.

“This is going to be a long day” I thought to myself as I walked back to Mr T.

Colne. Sure enough there it was Hebden on the Garmin 660 Sat Nav, 32 miles away luckily for me Colne was on the way and as it was only 17 miles away that was where I headed. The local postman was doing a collection just as I arrived, after asking the local traffic warden where the box was, I was 200 meters short “not too bad from a postcode search” I thought. The postman was happy to take my picture just as soon as he had locked his van. A crowd gathered (something which is starting to become a regular event) asking me what I was doing, I explained I was visiting all the Gold Letter Boxes within the next 6 months as that’s how long they were to remain gold before reverting to their original pillar box red.

Colne Albert Road
Steven Burke Gold medal Men's Team Pusuit

Hebden North Yorkshire. What a fantastic ride from Colne to Hebden through some of North Yorkshire most beautiful countryside, all A & B roads with a couple of single track lanes thrown in for good measure. The Post Office is so picturesque and tucked away at the back of the village. Shame a Land Rover had parked straight in front of it but still managed a nice picture all the same.

Hebden Village
Andrew Triggs Hodge Gold medal Men's Four Rowing

Day One - 3 Gold Post Boxes

Friday 10th August 2012 - Day 2                           Days Mileage 95 Miles - Total 214

Manchester. Ben decided he would like to join me on me trip today so we headed off to “bag” another 5 Gold Letter Boxes. As Manchester is on our doorstep and I used to work 20 feet from its location on the corner of Albert Square it was a quick and easy ride through Chadderton and down into Manchester city centre. Traffic was as it always is but once through the roadwork’s on Chadderton Broadway it was plain sailing. As luck would have it there was a very friendly female photographer who offered to take our picture. One down, four to go.

Manchester Albert Sq
Philip Hindes Gold medal Men's Team Sprint

Bolton x 2. As luck would have it there are two Gold Letter Boxes in Bolton one on Churchgate and the other around the corner on Deansgate. We had to wait a little while at the Churchgate box as there were a load of children making a documentary for school about the Olympics and being filmed and having their pictures taken in front of the box. The teacher asked if Ben would like to be interviewed on camera but he declined. So I was quizzed about our ride and what we were doing. Luckily it was not on film but the teacher did take down all our replies and photographed us instead. In all the excitement I forgot to ask her to take a picture of us both with my camera!

Bolton Churchgate
Jason Kenny Gold medal Men's Team Sprint

The Deansgate box turned out to be a bit of a pain to find only as I had taken a short cut through the town centre. I parked in front of Fred Dibners’ Memorial Statue were I was lucky enough to ask a very helpful young man who pointed us 200 meters down the road to our destination. Postcodes don’t you just love them! Arriving at the box we had to wait for a couple of locals to finish taking their pictures and once again out of the blue a chap asked if we would like him to take our picture together which he did. Do you notice a pattern forming here? Even the Gold Post Boxes are bringing the Great British helpful side out of everyone.

Bolton Deansgate
Jason Kenny Gold medal Men's Sprint

Chorley. Turned out to be the easiest and quickest box of them all to find. I stopped the bike at the side of the box, got off,  took the picture with Ben astride Mr T, then got “bibbed” by an old couple wanting to pass. Still I think it’s the best picture I’ve taken so far. I remounted and pulled out of their way only for the female driver to almost reverse into us as we plumbed in our next destination! When in Chorley, Bikers beware of old ladies bearing “Blue Badges” as they cannot reverse for toffee!

Chorley Market Street
Bradley Wiggins Gold medal Men’s Cycling Time Trial

Eccleston. Damn post codes are driving me to distraction! No I do not want to park up in a cul de sac to cause the local “curtain twitching brigade” to go into total shock! Still with assistance of a local chap out on his bike we soon found our way to destination number five the Carrington Centre. Parking on a “No Parking” zone to get the picture we were in and out as quick as you like. So that was that, job done for today. As a reward I took Ben to lunch at Millennium Motorcycles in St Helens where we enjoyed a tasty bacon and egg bap before taking a steady ride back to Wardle.

Eccleston Carrington Centre
Bradley Wiggins Gold medal Men’s Cycling Time Trial

So far so good however when I returned to the computer to take a look at the post office web site I was both shocked and surprised to learn we now have a total of 46 Gold Letter Boxes. I set to zooming right in to street level viewing and also discovered I can plot each and every location within 10 meters by just taking my time. I got to bed at 1.30am, tired but very, very happy that I’ve now plotted each and every Gold Letter Box that were available as of Friday the 10th of August. Now all I need to do is get out there and take some more pictures, lot’s more!

Day Two - 5 Gold Post Boxes

“Stop the press, Team GB have won another Gold……………….. Come ON!”

To be continued……………………

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