|Snowdrift in Green Lane after Storm Emma near my house: 2 March 2018|
So last week when a friend invited me for three days cycling around Cheshire, I jumped at the chance. Not only would it give me some valuable training but Cheshire is an unknown county for me and I wanted to see it. As usual, I went by train and my wife accompanied me on her route to Cumbria.
I had read about a major weather warning for Scotland nicknamed "The Beast from the East" but Scotland is a long way from Cheshire.
Three days were just perfect but it was cold. The temperature ranged from +2 to -2C. Cheshire is a beautiful county with lots of dairy farms, old buildings, beautiful villages, not very hilly but has a good number of warm friendly coffee stops and the walled city of Chester on the River Dee was well worth a visit.
Cumbria too was cold, in fact icy cold and I froze on my only short bike ride. Wednesday, 1 March was the day of two Red Alerts for snow and high winds and this was the day for our train journey home. Red Alerts are the highest level of weather warning in the UK with danger to life. One was in the Scottish lowlands and the other at my home in Devon. Added to this, there was to be a high tide at Dawlish in the afternoon and the railway closes if there are storms due its proximity to the sea. Dawlish was on our route. This promised to be a challenging journey. Cars slipped and slithered all over the place on the journey to the train station. I had a bike and my wife had a big case.
There were no trains arriving from Scotland because one had broken down on Shap summit but two were sitting waiting behind it unable to get through. Eventually the broken one arrived with what smelt like a very worn out clutch. I don't know if trains have clutches but they shunted it off into a siding. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. We were told that there were to be no more trains to Scotland but one arrived from Scotland. Somehow and despite three changes we arrived at our local station on time. Trains were being rearranged and we could hear controllers working furiously what to do with trains that were stuck or in the wrong place but piecing it altogether. We watched the high tide coming in at Dawlish.
It was not over at home. It is just over a mile from the station to our house. I had planned to cycle home, collect the car, drive back and collect my wife. The roads were sheet ice. It was too dangerous to cycle and our car could not cope either so it was a long walk dragging a case and bike through the snow. I then to get some food so this entailed a 3.5 mile walk to find the supermarket that just enough food for the night.
The wind roared during the night and this was followed by a 21 hour power cut. Dinner was made over our open fire and comprised jacket potatoes and toasted bacon sandwiches. I took a few images of the snowy scenery. Not only was it unusual but it was nature in the raw. Yet somehow, one tiny daffodil showed that Spring is not far away.
Today, there is still some snow. I managed a 48 mile ride along the Dartmoor Way to Lustleigh and the weather was a balmy 6 degrees C