The pedalling photographer

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Last gasp of summer

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Several weekends ago the weather forecasters predicted a warm and sunny
weekend – ­ the last of the summer. We decided to seize the opportunity and
get out for a cycle camp, the first since our Brittany cycle tour in
May/June.

We gave ourselves Friday afternoon off (one of the few perks of being
self-employed, ­ after all, I am the boss!), packed up our gear and cycled
off to the village of Sixpenny Handley and its campsite. It is a short ride
of only 15 miles but it was certainly H :O) T; ­ so hot that several times
Chris had to stop after climbing a hill and douse herself with cold water
from her drinks bottle! She has vowed to get a better-ventilated cycle
helmet!

On arrival at the campsite, we were slightly dismayed to see the family
field heaving with, well, families. We could see our anticipated weekend of
peaceful R&R being nothing but a figment of our imagination! Fortunately,
the camp owner led us to one of the quieter fields at the back of the
campsite, known as the Donkey Field, which Chris thought quite apt!

We had asked a couple of our cycling friends if they wanted to join us, but
only one, Trevor, could make it. He arrived shortly after us and we had soon
set up camp, so we then wandered over to The Shed for our fish n chips
supper.

The following morning it was again sunny and H :O) T – ­ we couldn’t believe
our luck! The morning was spent lounging around in our Helinox chairs
talking about subjects as diverse as cooking equipment (we carry the kitchen
sink and some, Trevor has one pot and a cooker), bikes, the consumption of
alcohol, cycle helmets, illness, Prince Harry… and generally putting the
world to rights!

Having munched through a breakfast and then a lunch without really budging
from the spot, we began to feel guilty and felt it was about time we dragged
ourselves out on our bikes. Trevor, he who loves hills, planned to cycle up
the well-known ­ and feared ­ Zig Zag Hill out of Shaftesbury, which
apparently is No 1 in the list of the top 10 bendy roads in Britain. After
seeing the look of horror on Chris’s face, I decided on something a little
more sedate, if still somewhat hilly. Can’t be avoided in this area.

Trevor set off looking like a kamikaze cyclist (see photo) –  perhaps this is
how the thought of tackling Zig Zag Hill made him feel! We pootled off on
our own route, making our way to Win Green, the highest point in Cranborne
Chase –  I didn’t tell Chris that! Almost there, we had stopped to admire the
view – ­ good excuse for a breather – ­ when we saw a flash of red and white
zoom past in a blur. Trevor, on his way back to camp! This was a good enough
reason for us to abandon our attempt to make it to the top of Win Green and
begin our descent back to base.

The following morning was spent slowly packing up the gear, loading up the
bikes and trying to guess when the predicted rain showers were going to
arrive. Fortunately, everything went to plan and we arrived home before the
showers started, feeling fully refreshed after a thoroughly enjoyable
weekend.

Author: Mike McEnnerney Photographer PhotoLink Images

I've had a passion for photography for as long as I can remember and have been running my own photographic business for many years (www.photolinkimages.co.uk). This also carries over into my personal interests: I love the great outdoors and enjoy nothing better than to be outside taking photos (www.mike-mcennerney.smugmug.com) and combining this with my hobbies of Yoga, cycle touring, camping, backpacking, canoeing and just being out in the wilds, or as the Australians say "beyond the black stump" farther into the outback than the city lights.

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