Micro-tour. Day 2: grippy.

Today, it is fair to say, made me feel like a cyclist again.

It rained, then it rained some more. It was windy, unremittingly so, and the gradients… there were many. In short, perfect source material for Basil Bunting.

Today also offered potential for photographs given the elevations and expanses I was aiming for. However, for the most part the blurred line between land and sky proved to be a nebulous, watery affair. On the one occasion clouds rolled back the imposing edifice of Inglebrough was revealed. I doubt that even today the view from that fell top would afford the views one is capable of seeing on clearer days. It receded pretty much as quickly, almost resigned to the fact its lofty nature was wasted somewhat.

I also got chance to partake in a pastime of many touring cyclists: sheltering. Under a railway viaduct, a tree, a bus shelter… all were welcomed, although chugging on several Kit Kats and some dangerously blue ‘energy drink’ as curious tourists entered the latter (then swiftly left) made me feel like some circus attraction, as pools of water leached from my feet.

Actually, I lie: I did get some wind assistance. For two short spells I headed northwards and made full use of the strong currents to guide me into my destination. As I descended from the beautiful Forest of Bowland region I had a brief chance to explore (I will return here soon, the networks of quiet rolling lanes are a cyclist’s dream), entering the Lune estuary the roads became busier and a little more frenetic. This is typical in areas where even modest centres of population meet with natural water features, as people cling to the land available to them, while sizeable expanses of uninhabitable marshes, saltflats, or floodplains sit peacefully adjacent. As a result my route began to change direction constantly, seeking out the quietest, and lumpiest roads available. Yet despite the constant battering by rain and wind I did keep thinking one thing: if this weather was unleashed from my native north east coast rather than the sub-tropical west, everything would be several degrees colder and invariably even grippier.

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