The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday 28 April 2019

Friday 26 March - Roan Fell (NY451931; 568m)

Bike in red. Walk in the funny bluey sort of colour

The Met Office weather forecast for today said that it was going to be sunny in the morning but with heavy rain coming in for the afternoon (80% chance 1-3pm, 90% chance 3-6pm); the wind was to be constant all day. The Mountain Weather Information Service said it was going to be rainy with cloudy summits in the morning but brightening, with a rising cloud base in the afternoon, when the wind was also predicted to rise, possibly to 40mph.

Faced with two such contradictory forecasts, my faith went with the Met Office, and sure enough we woke up to clear blue skies. Sense would have dictated an energetic leap out of bed and an early start, so as to visit my hill before the rain came in. However, we shelled out £23 for a small patch of ground at a campsite last night, so wanted to make some sort of effort to get our money's worth. Unnecessary showers were had and we made as full use of the electicity as we reasonably could (i.e. we charged everything), before we finally rolled off site just as the clouds were coming in.

I should, perhaps, have set out immediately upon arrival, but I was hungry so a pause was had for coffee and an item we bought that described itself as a scone, but based on the ingredients list I'm not sure that was accurate.

I should, perhaps, then have decided not to do any hill today. We've got more days available to us that I have hills on the list for this trip, so we could have just sat around for the day, but I didn't.

I made it around 4 miles into the bike leg (just past the kennels of a pack of hunting hounds who were putting up such a racket that ear defenders should have been provided for passers-by) before the spots of rain became insistent enough for me to don waterproofs. It then rained on me for the whole of the rest of the outing.

There's a track that runs to within feet of the summit of this hill, and I've read at least one account where someone said they biked the whole way. I made it to the point where the gradient for the next 6-700m suggested that if riding it was possible for someone of my leg and lung strength (which I doubted), then it would certainly not be enjoyable, either up or downhill. Walking was, for me, the way forward.

Turning at the summit I could have believed the weather had improved, but the reality was that after battling a head wind, with the rain blowing straight into my face, it just felt dry and calm once the weather was on my back.

A rainy day, but far better air clarity than any day last week.

Lunch was eaten on the hoof as I strode back down to my bike. Arriving there I was not looking forward to the ride back (progress this year: I packed the mud guards and even have the front one affixed to the bike; it would have been handy to have added the rear one for today's trip). It passed quickly enough, but not without an small incident where I ground to a halt mid-stream, resulting in me plunging both feet into the water. Careless as I'd managed to keep my feet pretty much dry until that point, and this was the final of 6 or 8 fords.

Back past the barking dogs, a greeting to a farmer on a quad bike, then it was full steam ahead back to Bertie, with the rain in my face much of the way.

Mick met me at the door with a towel and my cuggiest PJ trousers. My bike is currently locked to a bench outside (no chance of emptying Bertie's boot to put it inside in this weather!) and the shower room is full of dripping gear. As I said earlier, perhaps I should have just stayed in today...

8.8 miles biked, 4 miles walked, a total of 450m of ascent.

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