23/02/13 The Road to Workington…

I’m a fan of the cycle path – and I love the look of wind turbines – imagine my delight then when both my penchants were indulged pretty much all the way to this West Cumbrian town.

Nerd.

I’d had a night in a field next to Maryport – I must confess I ground to a bit of a halt after enjoying the free lunch at the Lifeboat Inn…

Radio 4 – the Now Show – and then gentle unconsciousness right through to about 2 in the morning when I heard….

“Sssshhhhh!” and muffled laughs.

“Hello,” I said in the way I would greet an old friend…

Another “Sssshhh!” a laugh, then the sound of feet quietly legging it into the night….

So, disturbed from my slumber, I did what anyone would do – I looked around the interweb for as much information on Frank Sidebottom as I could…

Yeah, I know, it’s not quite counting sheep.

I was woken again by a chap cutting the grass in preparation for a football match.

He’d been in the army – narrowly missing the Falklands – but experiencing some of the horrors of the Gulf War.

He wasn’t terribly impressed at the level of psychological support given to servicemen – although he acknowledged ‘Beasting’ had all but become a thing of the past – in his experience.

We chatted for a while, he took one of my cards, and he drove off to shorten some more of the field.

These are the bits of the walk that are so valuable – a kind word – a laugh – sharing of stories – a flake of someone’s life…

Wind turbines are incredible – the massive whoosh of the blades – the other worldly appearance – I find them quite mesmerising.

The cycle path into Workington took me through some wild/ nature reserve/ parkland…a couple of teenagers grinned by on their mountain bikes thrilled at the prospect of the muddy tracks and hills all around.

I was taken back to the skills course at the Glentress mountain bike er…theme park…near Peebles in the Scottish Borders.

My daughter, Kate, was born cycling so she found the track a doddle.

She was about 10.

Bravely I asked her if there was any part of the course that I might struggle with…

“No – it’s easy,” she reassured me.

The thing with this track was – probably still is – once you start there’s very little opportunity to stop.

I loved the uppy-downy-banky-turny course until I observed the 10 foot drop!

Thankfully there was a small space where I could pull off the course to observe the more experienced nutters zip down the hill without a care.

Ok – brake gently – lean right back – and away they go…

I can do that…

I was nervous but determined as I approached…braking gently…leaning back…hey, I was doing it!

I hadn’t paid a great deal of attention to the sudden turn at the bottom…

I slammed on my front brake at the same time cursing the day I’d ever been persuaded to use clip on shoes and pedals.

My bike did a kind of judo throw on me as I flew over the handlebars swiftly followed by the rest of the bike.

I lay in the wreckage a while watching my more competent counterparts fly by…..

Then I saw Kate…she got to the top of the drop…and turned left, following the more gentle and, frankly, less suicidal route down the hill….

Meanwhile…on the road to Workington – I met the lovely Chloe – she leaves school this year and will be off to college to study child development – she chummed me into town and went off to get her friend something for his birthday.

Costas was calling me. Other caffeine bearing boutiques are available.

I didn’t even get to the counter before the manager told me to sit down – she would get my lunch/ drink combo for free so impressed was she at the ramble.

And that’s where I am now – people watching – waiting for the lovely Ella to come up and indulge me in a scheduled – not a gear slippage – weekend in Edinburgh that incorporates going to see the rugby with my brothers.

How spoilt am I?

Fairly

Walk a Mile

Chris

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This entry was posted in falklands, inequality, mental health, walking, war and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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