Monday, October 4, 2010

Changing Skies

Sunday October 3: Here in the Flatlands the weather has been decidedly changeable with sun, rain and wind, and varying temperatures. Unfortunately the sun seems to have lost out to the rain and on Sunday the wind had entered the battle. But, I had a spare couple of hours, my wife and daughter were both busy preparing stuff for the week ahead so despite the rain and wind I togged up for a cycle ride.

When I say togged up I think I might have gone a little overboard with waterproof socks, waterproof leggings. a waterproof jacket and waterproof long-fingered gloves. Did I mention that it was raining? Oh yes, I also had my fluorescent yellow bobble-less bobble hat. The hat never had a bobble - that is just the easiest way to describe it. When it is raining hard it helps to keep the rain from running down my forehead into my eyes - I think.

For some reason I broke the habit of a lifetime, a habit I break so often I am not sure I should really call it a habit. That age-old newly invented proverb "the cyclist who battles into the wind getting there will be richly rewarded tenfold with a push on the way home". I, for some reason wondered what the Fens out towards Wicken would look like in the wind and the rain and ignored the fact the getting out there seemed easier than I had expected. This is the route and here is the BRT Link. As usual it is flat and around 55Km/32 miles long - it just seemed much longer on my way home. The tweak on this route compared to all the other ways I take around the Fens was I that I followed NCN51 from Cambridge through to Swaffham Bulbeck before heading down the shared cycle path alongside the main road towards Lode - where it follows the Lodes Way.

Cambridge Lodes Way Loop 5 Annotated.jpg

This is the shared use path between Swaffham Bulbeck and Lode alongside the B1102. The recent repairs to the path look as if they are suffering from subsidence. In fact it looks as if something heavy might have driven on the new bit and that caused it to split away. It is almost wide enough to cause a problem for a cyclist. I hope that white pain on the pavement indicates that it is scheduled to have a repair done. If not I'll report it to FixMyStreet or CyclingSorted or the street.scene email address on their introduction page. Looking at the picture I wonder if the white paint relates to what looks like a recent patch to the main road. If so I wonder whether it was one of the vehicles doing the patching that "broke" the pavement. It was cycling back towards the Cambridge direction that I realised how windy it was, you can also see the grey skies in the background.


After a while there seemed to be some blue patches in the sky and by the time I had reached the footbridge over Burwell Lode you could quite clearly see some blue sky. When it is windy it certainly keeps the weather moving. This picture was made from 3 (x7 HDR) pictures.

Burwell Lode from the bridge 2.jpg

This is the same scene as above and made using the same pictures, but the horizon was crooked in the leftmost scene which make it look as if there is a hill off to the left - there ain't no hills out here. It shows how easy it is to edit pictures and lose the image. (For those that are interested, I first combined the 3 HDR pictures for the three viewpoints (from 7 exposures for each picture) using Photomatix 4.0. I then tweaked and straightened the resulting 3 pictures to get level horizons using Picasa. The link points to the PC version, but there are also Mac and Linux versions as well. Finally I used Photoshop Elements 8 to combine the three pictures into one. The link points to version 9, but I have 8 - apparently the panorama software has been enhanced.

Burwell Lode from the bridge.jpg

I cycled along the Maltings path alongside Wicken Fen and then back in through the entrance. The new bit of gravel is getting churned up and I guess was put in to facilitate the building of the new Windpump. Hopefully it will be fixed once the building work has finished. I am not sure where the new pump is to be sited but just before the bridge over Monk's Lode I noticed that on the Reserve side an area had been fenced off.


I probably protest too much about the Newnham Drove and the locked gates - this is Newnham Drove and look at the skies. (The picture is made from 2 x 7 exposures.)

Newnham Drove.jpg

I normally take pictures in the Cambridge direction from the newly opened Reach Lode Bridge - so for a change here is the view looking back towards Wicken Fen. Visually it is more cluttered with Pylons and other cables.


The view looking up Reach Lode from the bridge - more blue skies and I am feeling rather over-dressed. In fact the return along Lodes Way is into a strong wind and despite the fact I am crawling along it is taking a lot of effort.


By the time I got home I was wetter (yes - sweat) in all my gear than if I had set off without waterproof gear and then dried off in the wind. In fact the weather was so nice my wife and daughter had disappeared and locked the house up. I usually take keys with me, but not always and not this time so I was locked out. I tried their mobiles - nothing, so I popped round to some friends who often look after the house when we are on holiday. Fortunately they had a front door key, unfortunately the front door had its chain in place. So I took off my, damp on the inside, rain gear and went back to my friends and had a warming cup of coffee. They did not complain about my sweatiness. It turns out that my wife and daughter had gone out for a breath of fresh air as the weather had turned so pleasant.

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