This was te first ride of 2015 on my standard cycling route, a 15 mile tour out along the Sustrans 64 to Votham, and then across to (nearly) Elston, before coming back home through Thorpe. Only today I thought I'd divert through Thorpe proper and come home along the old A46, a rather safer proposition since the bypass was built.
Elston is rarity nowadays; it's a small village that has managed to keep hold of its pub, although it took a residents buy out to be able to keep it open. I've never been to it though, Elston is 5 miles out which is a bit too much for a tipsy walk home! The village is dominated by yet another All Saints Church, with its pretty slim tower, and the former Elston Hall that nowadays functions as a huge spa for my most hated of words - "Pamperings". The thought of other people touching my nails gives me utter utter creeps.
Strangely, most of my cycling thoughts were memories of watching greyhounds racing over the fells, prompted by hearing it on "Open Country" on Radio 4. My grandparents took me, in Grandad's red Ford Escort 1.1, up to a stone circle up in the Cumbrian fells somewhere, it may have been the famous Castlerigg circle but I really can't remember as we are going back to about 1978 here!
The dogs came hurtling up the hill from the West, with us spectators kept a little way back from the route as some skulduggerous types had been baiting some of the dogs with meat to give their own hounds a better chance of winning. Given that these trail races can be 10 miles long or more up and down steep slopes, I don't blame the dogs for stopping for a snack.
In the way of the Tour De France, the "Dogeton" was through in seconds, and we drove back down the hill towards the silver ball at Sellafield and home in Egremont, a town that has joined Hungerford and Dunblane these days in having an unwanted fame.
|Surveryors marking out a new A1 turn-off. Great.|
|Speedwell on the Sustrans 64|
|White dead nettle|
|Cowslips at their best at the Cotham turnoff|
|The upper reaches of the Devon, teeming with small fish but none of the big barbel you sometimes see spawning here|
|Oilseed rape next to the mill|
|All Saints church, Elston|
|The East Stoke reach of the Trent, beyond feral oilseeed rape|