Just a short ride today, 12 miles, because of suitable campsite locations (and hills). We did a fair bit of climbing but the scenery was green and treeful, and the roads quiet, so I didn’t mind.
There was no phone signal at last night’s campsite with which to book ahead, and none for the first few miles. Eventually I was able to make the call, and stopped at a junction in a tiny village, whereupon three cyclists on flash bikes approached at speed from the direction we were heading. Slowing for the junction and eyeing the trailer and all our gear, the last man said “You’re brave, going up the hill with that lot. It’s a big hill”. Seeing my expression, he added “But it’s a good hill, you’ll be fine, you’ll get up there”. The hill was not visible at this point, being round a bend, but in my imagination it was now alpine, possibly with a little snow near the top, and goats above the treeline. What does he mean by ‘good hill’ I wondered. It’s almost a contradiction in terms.
We rounded the bend and started to climb and soon it was too difficult ride any further. I adoped what shall now be known as the ‘good hill procedure’, because it sounds positive. It goes like this: remove helmet, get dog out of trailer to walk, proceed bit by bit on foot, try to remain cheerful. We were at the top in no time and didn’t see a single goat – just a nice view towards the Cotswolds and a good place to play sticks.
The last section of the ride was via a two mile long gated road from Catesby, where we passed a large ventilation shaft that served the Great Central Railway’s Catesby Tunnel.
The gated road went through the middle of a farm and had no traffic, so Raisin ran alongside the bike.
The campsite is at the edge of a pretty village called Badby, full of ironstone cottages but famous for its bluebells. Here though, it’s a bit ramshackle, being a field within an animal shelter where the owner rescues horses primarily, but also goats, rabbits, cats, dogs and a tortoise. There were a handful of caravans on site when we arrived, that all looked lived in, judging from the long grass round the wheels, and saggy awnings. I feel like an intruder here, although everyone is friendly enough. It’s my choice to cavort round the country with just a tiny tent to sleep in; I sense these people might not choose to be here if they could help it. Anyway, some of them are having a barbecue and a few beers and the music is quite loud but what can I do? My mate Patrick from Ironbridge would no doubt produce a bottle or two from somewhere and join them. I just want to sleep, curmudgeonly old goat that I am.
Postscript. It’s 9.30pm and the music seems to have stopped. Patrick would have expected that; he knows most people are OK. Here’s another picture of a nice ironstone building in Badby.