Letter from Exmoor: …….. can you hear the silence? ……………

By Gary Scarlett. First published on his Blog “Chunky Mamil” on 5 December 2013

I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit lately and riding my mtb so I thought I’d put both of those straight today. I have been riding though and meeting interesting people so although the keys have been idle I haven’t. With my rest days falling during the week and a last minute window in my good friend Jennifer’s schedule, I grabbed the opportunity to visit her and ride some of that flat stuff last Wednesday. Nice riding around the levels a real haven for birds, swans, herons, starlings the odd magpie and even a partridge but no pear tree 🙂 We rode some of those long straight roads they like around there but thankfully with little wind, stopped for coffee, chatted and even found a hill to ride up on the way back.Yesterday started a bit damp but I had to get out so did a quick loop on the road bike, it wasn’t too bad and was glad I got out. Still lots of colour about but as a friend of mine commented about this photo, winters coming over the hill 🙂

In the afternoon I was invited to lunch by the lovely Elke who promotes all things good on Exmoor through her Exmoor4all website. She had organised a Christmas lunch for some Exmoor business folk and kindly invited me along too as I always try to show how wonderful it is around here through the blog. The location was The Culbone, a pleasure to get to as it means driving up and along Porlock hill with great views to enjoy on the way. The food was excellent and so was the company, nice to meet people I sort of knew through twitter and some new people too.

So to today, very windy so definite mtb day, getting blown across the road on the road bike didn’t appeal at all. The usual slog up to Hopcott but sheltered and the trails were dry after this cold snap and rapid progress to the top of Grabbist hill with the wind behind me. Although it was dry the tracks are covered in leaves and hide roots, rocks and toxic dog leftovers, luckily just the odd stone whacked me in the shin today.

I went for a loop around the Crown estate woodland on the other side of Dunster, hard going in the wind on the exposed climb up and around Black Hill to the trig point. The descent was very quick but a bit boring on the fireroads but once nearer Dunster I rode some more interesting tracks before heading back up Grabbist Hill.

After negotiating the ascent of Grabbist I headed back up the ridge and down some of my favourite tracks back towards home, felt good, rode up stuff, not a bad ride at all.

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