The morning was bright and crisp, the torrential rain of the last few days had been blown away, but even the wind had abated.
Perfect for a trip over the Purbecks. By eleven I was on the chain ferry with a friend and we were on our way to an appointment with Old Harry.
Apart from a few puddles, the roads were dry and the beautiful sunshine had brought out dozens of cyclists, all togged up against the single figure temperature. The bite in the little breeze there was reminded us that autumn is well and truly here.
Passing the Banks Arms, we took a left, up the interestingly rough uphill track towards the coastal path. There were a lot of people walking, their kids, their dogs, just themselves and everyone was trying to skirt the huge muddy puddles left by the recent rains.
It was about this time I wished I had invested in a set of mudguards. Even staying back from my friend’s back wheel didn’t stop the mud flying around my ears. MTB knobblies are particularly adept at digging through soft mud, and flinging it up at the hapless rider.
The ride up the spine of the Purbecks was just awesome. The stunning views of Swanage Bay on our left was matched by the sight of Poole and Bournemouth bathed in autumn sunshine, over to the right. It’s a good job there’s very little to run into up there, neither of us were really watching where we were going.
That became evident when I suddenly realised that we had ridden straight past the turning off down the Heritage Trail into Swanage. We made a scenic detour down the side of the hill and picked up the trail just before the steep descent of the chalk section.
Having negotiated the chalk got to the dirt path that leads down into the farmyard. Normally the surface is firm and dry, not today. It’s also a bridle path and it was clear that quite a few horses had churned it up … more mud.
The road from Swanage to Corfe Castle was dry, initially, but then as we got into the undulations the troughs were wet, the peaks dry, so we had a series of bespatterings as we went along. Getting to the castle, we stopped for a drink of water and got a few funny looks. It was only later that I found that I had bits of mud stuck all over my face, ears, hair, you name it, I had it covered.
By the time we got back to the ferry I think a lot of it had dried and fallen off, but I still found lumps of mud, I say mud, but there were a few cows along the way, so who knows, in some very interesting places later in the shower.
All in all, a brilliant day. Lots of fun, lots of chat, beautiful scenery, nature at its best. All that’s needed now is a nice soft brush and a hosepipe to get the remaining mud off my pride and joy … my bike I meant … behave!!!