Sunday 25 March 2012: A Winter Tree on a Summer's Day
The weather is doing very strange things. It's still only March but it felt like summer this afternoon. It was ridiculously warm for the time of year. People were out in force, having roadside picnics and even barbecues. Most were in shorts and T-shirts and there was skin on show that was decidedly more red than pink! The British people seem to take it as a national duty to roast themselves on the first warm sunny day of the year. The only thing that was odd about this perfect summer's day was the trees. The trees had no leaves. They are supposed to be green in summer!
I let the morning fog lift before heading out on the bike, allowing the air to warm up and enabling me to set off with shorts and sleeveless shirt. What a joy that was. My plan was to reverse my route from last weekend and cycle into Swaledale via Fleet's Moss and Buttertubs, then this time ride a good stretch of the valley to Reeth, before climbing back over Redmires and then back home via Bishopsdale. I reckoned that would be close to 100 miles and my estimate was almost exactly spot on. The counter was just short when I reached home (from 7 hours and a couple of minutes in the saddle) , so I cycled past the house a few hundred yards so I could call this my first ton of the year. It would have just bugged me to stop at 99.8 miles!
So, for the third successive Sunday I have been blessed with a beautiful day for cycling. They've all been different, though, and it's been fascinating how I've noticed different things in the different light each time. Whereas last weekend the clouds were the main feature of the day, today it was the haze, which softened all the landscape shots. In the end, despite being fairly sure I wasn't going to blip yet another tree today, I had to choose this shot. It's my favourite for the day, and my lasting memory of the ride will be of so many beautiful winter trees being silhouetted against a bright blue sky. And I just love what's going on with these wispy little clouds.
I've had so many lovely comments this last week, which really warrant and deserve a response. Plus I've not been able to thank people individually for the many hearts I have been honoured with. For now, at least, let me just say a big thank you to all those people. You know how you are. I've said it before, but they really do mean more to me than you can possibly imagine. This is the most generous community of people I've ever had the privilege of being involved with. You're amazing. I hope you all had a fantastic weekend too.