This past week the south-west of England has been battered by storm force winds and torrential rain. Trees have been blown down and rivers have flooded. Yesterday (Saturday, 24 November), it rained continuously all day long and most of the night, too. Today, we were promised a bit of a respite, but what has it done today…yes, rained! The day dawned full of promise, clear blue skies and even the sun was shining. Too mucky to consider going out on the bikes, so we decided to go down to the River Stour at Eye Bridge to photograph the flooding from the bridge. We turned into the car park but were brought to an abrupt halt…even the car park was under water! It was impossible to get to the bridge. I settled for taking a photograph of the car park – the depth of the water can be gauged by the top of the litter bin peeping out just above the level of the water to the right of the photo.
We decided to go back home and try to and cheer ourselves up by thinking ahead of warmer, sunnier times to come, getting the maps out and making some plans for next year’s cycle tour. Where shall we go? We are torn by which direction to take – we are drawn to remoter landscapes and a longing for some wild camping. We have thought of the Outer Hebrides – it is very appealing, but then there’s the weather… and the midges! Currently, trapped in the gloomy depths of autumn/winter, it seems more appealing to head south for guaranteed (one hopes) sunshine and plenty of warm, summery evenings. We love the idea of being able to cycle from our front door without having to use the car and we are very fortunate in that we live close to the port of Poole, which enables us to cycle from home and catch a ferry to France. A trip to the Outer Hebrides would mean a long, long drive up to Oban in Scotland. It is actually cheaper for us to catch a ferry to France than to drive up to Scotland and pay for car parking for three weeks – and it would be more environmentally friendly to leave the car at home! What shall we do? What a dilemma! Any suggestions?