Sunday, 5 January 2014

First Ride of 2014

The first day of 2014 was not suitable for riding. I like to start the year with a lovely long ride, but it just wasn't possible on Wednesday - the rain was horizontal. It didn't put Ernest off grazing (nothing would) but I didn't fancy braving the roads miles from home when I could barely see.

Friday 3rd was much more suitable, so we set off with a Graze flapjack in my pocket and the wind whistling overhead. The first sign it was going to be eventful was when we attempted to pass a tower of straw bales covered in black tarpaulin - it was so loud, flapping in the wind, that Ernest nearly turned around and went home of his own accord! 

After a long trot uphill, we turned the corner and the wind immediately quietened down as we were sheltered by trees. A rather zealous black Labrador greeted us, but Ernest likes dogs so he wasn't upset. We reached the first big crossing, the B3400 to Overton, but someone kindly stopped for us to pass safely (thank you, considerate driver). 

I believe this area is Ashe. I've tried to Google Map my ride but there are few named lanes so it's quite difficult. Along this road, anyway, are the most picturesque cottages I've ever seen. They're called Glebe Cottages, and I always imagine them in the 16th century with witches living inside casting spells. They have dark beams showing through and are just beautiful. I always stop outside just to admire them!

Further up this road was a huge puddle. I thought we were going to have to swim it was so big. Thankfully Ernest isn't afraid of water, or we would have been in a pickle. After navigating past a tractor cutting the hedges, we had about 15 minutes of calm before the wind picked up again. Trees were creaking rather too loudly overhead for my liking! The rain also started and was horizontal when we left the shelter of the trees and had to cross the main road again. 

All of this was fine, the rain stopped, we had another 15 minutes of relative calm, and then about 30 minutes from home I saw the first flash of lightening. Oh, no. Then a big rumble of thunder. Oh, no. I don't really like thunder and lightening, and certainly didn't want to be riding in it, especially as the rain started again with much more force. Ernest, thankfully, just pricked his ears up at the lightening but didn't flinch. I was really proud of him for being such a good boy, when his rider was quite anxious by then. There was another flash and even longer rumble of thunder, and we had to trot all the way home, but he was completely relaxed about the tempestuous weather, which made me relax. 

We were SOAKED. Absolutely wet through! That said, it was actually quite a fun ride - about 8 miles of fighting a somewhat losing battle with the elements, but home safe. I think Ernest rather enjoyed himself too, as New Year he had to stay in all day due to the bad weather and I didn't ride on Thursday. 

A very memorable ride to start the year. I wanted to take photos but it just wasn't possible with everything going on! 

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