Saturday, 18 July 2009

Swithun's revenge

It was Saint Swithun's day on Wednesday. Legend says that if it rains on St Swithun's day it will rain for 40 days.

St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain no more

It did rain on St Swithun's day this year, but the forecast for today was OK. So it seemed appropriate to celebrate with a ride to Winchester, where Swithun was bishop from 852-862, and where he is buried.

It was quite a long ride out (63 miles) and I caught the train back. Until about 15 miles from Winchester the weather was OK, but for the last hour it rained steadily, which put a bit of a damper on what had previously been a lovely day.

I've now managed to figure out quite a pleasant route from home to Beech Hill, avoiding the busy areas around Wokingham and Reading. From there I picked up National Cycle Route 23, which took me through Basingstoke to Alresford. All very pleasant, and NCR23 weaves quite a clever route through Basingstoke, but it was a particularly enjoyable ride from south of Basingstoke to near Alresford.

But by then, the tradition of Swithun had come true, and the weather turned from sunny to very wet. So in the end I just took the direct route from Alresford into Winchester. Despite cutting things shorter than planned I still arrived much later than I had intended. I decided not to look around Winchester in the rain. I like the place, but if I had wanted to visit there would have been easier and quicker ways to get there.

Most of my route is already plotted on OSM, but I've traced a few short sections which will fill gaps. But the real point of the day was the ride, which I thoroughly enjoyed. A shame about St Swithun though.

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