Friday, 7 September 2012

Day 3&4 Goes On!

Well after a couple of weeks in sunny Spain it was time to head back through France sadly missing the Olympic closing ceremony but delighted at Team GB’s 29 Gold Medals. How we ended up with 57 Gold letter boxes I really don’t know but we did. It took me hours to plot each and every one into MapSource which I use to plot routes on my Garmin 660.

One thing for sure I knew there and then that visiting them all was going to be a challenge. Then it clicked, we still had the Paralympics to come. Sitting there watching the opening ceremony I was thinking even if they just match Team GB I’m going to have my work cut out to get round them all in 6 months.

That was last week and as of today (Thursday 6th September) my map has gone ballistic with a total of 88 Gold Post Boxes. Covering the whole of the UK, the Isle of Man & even one on Sark which has really put the cat amongst the pigeons as it’s a “No go zone” for cars and bikes from what I read on line. So without further ado it was time to get Mr T out and start “Bagging Gold Post Boxes”big time!

Thursday 30th  August - Day 3                            Daily Mileage 96 Miles – Total 310

First stop was Manchester to visit LBK one of my close Manc Rider friends who unbeknownst to me had had an “Off” whilst we were away resulting in him smashing both wrists so badly they needed pinning and plating and breaking his thumb in the process. No other vehicles were involved and the reason for the accident remains a mystery. Other than the theory put forward by someone on the forum that he must have slipped on a Banana skin! What is apparent though it has not dented his passion for riding so good on yer LBK that’s what I say. Oh and Bev you’re a star, there is just no way would I do what you’ve had to do!

Get well soon LBK!

Disley. Having spent a couple of hours cheering LBK up I only wanted to visit a couple of post boxes. The ride down through Manchester was uneventful but very pleasant as I ended up riding through the Goyt Valley somewhere I’ve not been in years. Arriving at the White Lion Pub on Buxton Road I was surprised to find the painter still there cleaning up. He was kind enough to move out of the way so I could take the all-important picture and after a brief chat about how busy it had been there since this morning’s painting I was off to Leek.

The White Lion Pub, Buxton Road, Disley
Sarah Storey Gold medal Women's Cycling: Track C5 Pursuit

Leek. It’s only 23 miles to Leek via Buxton but Leek town centre was an absolute nightmare with two of the major roads closed and diversions everywhere. Traffic was at a standstill and I was getting a bit “stressed” to say the least. Arriving at 4.30pm really didn’t help matters but slowly I made my way around the outskirts and into what turned out to be a very small one-way system. Turning left into Sheep Market through Market Place the road then right and right again heading back along Stanley Street an back out onto St Edward Street. The trouble being the Gold Post Box is just 50 foot along Derby Street. Spotting it I could see I looked like a pedestrian zone so I gingerly coasted in switching the engine off so as not to bother anyone. Fat chance of that. For the first time I was shouted at by some elderly chap from across the street. Pointing out I’d just gone the wrong way up a “one-way” street!
Whoops! So folks I apologise now for my little misdemeanour and promise never to do it again, honest!

Derby Street Leek
Anna Watkins Gold medal Women's Double Sculls Rowing

Day Three - 2 Gold Post Boxes

So with my total of Gold Post Boxes visited standing at 10 it was a swift-ish ride back to Rochdale. A little stressed out due to the circumstances and traffic but looking forward to my next outing.

Wednesday 5th September - Day 4                     Daily Mileage 307 Miles – Total 617

Flint. Plan of attack yesterday was to just “bag”Flint and Wrexham as they were sat all on their own in Wales. So after saying buy to Lilie Rose, Ben & Jeannie I was off down theM62, M60, M56 and arrived in Flint an hour later. Flint can I just say you have done Jade Jones proud with the sheer amount of pictures, bunting, banners. You have got everything and the town looks simply amazing. Only thing that shocked me was the petrol prices! £1.47 as I left the M56 onto the A548, £1.41 at the Spar garage, £1.40 at the BP on the way out of town (where I filled up) only to be £1.35 20 miles down the road in Wrexham. Simply Amazing!

Church Street Flint
Jade Jones Gold medal Taekwondo Women's 57kg

Wrexham. Again a short 23 mile ride had me parked up on Town Hill were I asked a passing chap to do the honours with the camera and that was that. Or was it? No it was far too early to call it a day and so what did “Mr Garmin 660” suggest? High Street, Aldridge was 67 and a half miles away, decision made.

Town Hill Post Office Wrexham
Tom James Gold medal Men's Four Rowing

Aldridge. A nice ride down the A528 to Shrewsbury, then along the A5 onto the M54 past Telford which was followed by a short stint on the M6 and finally past Walsall on a few B roads. Pulling up alongside the Gold Post Box on the pavement I took my picture and was away in a flash. I stopped up the road to see if anything else was near and low and behold High Street Bedworth was 30 miles down the road in the wrong direction. However as I was there and it was still only mid-afternoon I thought I’d best just get it done.

High Street Aldridge
Ellie Simmonds - Gold medal Swimming: Women's 400m Freestyle - S6

Bedworth. Were the town centre is protected by electric bollards that after walking quarter of a mile from the car park to having had a picture taken of myself by a very nice elderly gentleman I discover from a friendly local chap “in his car” that the bollards go down at 4.00pm. It was now 4.05pm. So it was back to the car park to get my bike and come back and get another picture as I’m trying my best to get all the Gold Post Boxes pictured with Me and Mr T. I know Sark is going to beat Mr T but not me!

High Street Bedworth
Nick Skelton Gold medal Equestrian - Team Jumping

Getting charged £3 for the M6 Toll on a motorbike is just “wrong”! £3, I was gutted but as they say “every cloud has a silver lining” and my silver lining was the fact I was home in time for the news of Paralympics GB Team winning another 3 Gold’s, what can I say other than you are all simply

Day Four - 4 Gold Letter Boxes 

Now I do have just one more confession to make. At the beginning of the week I was busy plotting and cross checking that I had all the Team GB and all the Paralympic GB Gold Post Boxes on my map. I was annoyed to discover only 4 Gold Post Boxes had been plotted on the Gold Postbox Finder site. Annoyed that much that I did no more and Tweeted Royal Mail.

The Wandering Walton@Jap_STi_3

Why are there only 4 Gold postboxes on the GoldPostbox finder site? Cant' plot them if you don't update site 19

The Royal Mail were kind enough to Tweet me an apology back.

Royal Mail News@royalmailnews
Sorry about the delay, we're trying to get it updated as quickly as possible cc.

Tonight (Thursday) on my return from another round trip, I find they have updated their site with 27 locations so from “The Wandering Walton’s” I would like to say a massive thank you to you and your team. Well done. Mind Wikipedia have a fantastic reference site with all the locations and co-ordinates so if your thinking of “bagging” a few yourself check them both out at 2012 Olympics gold post boxes in the UnitedKingdom

More to follow very soon...........................

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