Thursday 14 May 2015

A Savage Cycle Ride to Elston

After last night's fairly gentle trip round town on an evening as bright as chrome, today's ride was a far more wild affair under cirrhotic looking yellow-grey clouds with a strong wind blowing.

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

Ground ivy

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

Elston mill

Oilseed rape next to the mill

All  Saints church, Elston

The East Stoke reach of the Trent, beyond feral oilseeed rape


  1. Hope you are enjoying your few days of, photos look good of the wild flowers you have found.
    My husband enjoys biking, and works in a bike shop sometimes think we have more bike bits in the house than the shop !
    Amanda xx

  2. I wish I was handier with tools, I can do really really basic stuff but not much else. Luckily my stepfather is incredibly handy and intelligent

  3. Thank you for your comment on my red insects. Thank you, too, for reminding me about the name of Ground Ivy. We learned the names of many wild flowers when I was in junior school, but that one had slipped my memory. I was beginning to think it was a kind of Toadflax, and kept forgetting to check.