Rutland Water–pandemic style

11 Oct

Rutland WaterOne of my favourite short breaks is to take a bike ride out to Rutland Water (it’s about 25 miles) and camp for a couple of nights. The pandemic has closed my favourite camp site, but I thought it would be good to go over anyway.

And this time I could save on the camping stuff.. result! Booked myself into a little hotel right in the middle of Oakham, and I was off!
The first problem was that I forgot where I was going straight off the bat. Headed out of town in the wrong direction – a rookie mistake that cost me around 5 or 6 extra miles.

Flying Insects | Barrettine Environmental HealthThe second mistake was opening my mouth when a wasp flew towards me (or I rode towards the wasp, the end result was the same). I swallowed the wasp, but not before it had had chance to sting the inside of my throat. Ow!

Over to RutlandAnd then of course, I had forgotten the hills. South of Rutland Water is a series of folds in the landscape, as if someone has forgotten to iron a shirt that’s been screwed up in the bottom of the linen basket for three years. I managed most of them, but I will confess that one of them defeated me, and I had to dismount and walk up. Uppingham School were out for cross country.. they didn’t seem to be enjoying the hills any more than I was.

I diverted off my usual path, which found me on the Uppingham-Oakham main road. That is one HELL of a hill. Downhill. I have never been so fast for so far on a pushbike. The sheer rush was worth every minute of the agony of the hill climb the other side. I could almost feel the wind rushing through my hair. Or perhaps that was my imagination.

Three hours after I started, I rode into town. Time to soothe my aching legs, and soothe the savage throb in my throat with a couple of pints of the local IPA. Oh, yes, I slept well.

Oakham CanalThe next day I awoke to a street market under my window. Worth a little wander round – it’s all a bit strange with face masks and everyone taking care to avoid each other. A little diversion North of the town found me cycling down an old canal – all very tranquil and pretty.

And then, time to return. I wasn’t looking forward to the hills so I decided to take the long way round – which very pleasantly had me riding through the woods and gravel trails around the North Shore of Rutland Water. It was weekday quiet, but a few hardy souls were riding, jogging or just walking round the shoreline. A pleasant enough diversion that again added five or six miles to the total, but left me with a far smoother route home. Not flat though – this ain’t the fens out here where Rutland, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire all vie for mastery and Leicestershire and Cambridgeshire want to get in on the action as well. They may be rolling hills, but it’s a lot easier rolling down them than it is rolling up them.

No wasps, no punctures, no need to dismount.. all in all an excellent ride home – just in time to get out and walk a very excitable lurcher before dinner!

Getting a bit cold for camping trips now – but looking forward to next year being back to some sort of normal…


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