Beacon of dark

The Worcester beacon is a properly pointy landmark at 425 metres above sea level. Which is pretty close to what the surrounding plain is at, with uninterrupted views east to the Siberian Steppes* and – to the west – the proper mountains of Wales.

Allegedly. Because every time I ascend the southern slope of this Worcestershire Alp, the last 50 vertical metres are generally in cloud. From which a light, and yet extremely irritating, drizzle visits moistness on my sweating person.

The descent off the top, and in the dark is one of the finest in the Malverns. It’s long, varied, bumpy, occasionally significantly involving, and well worth the twenty five minute climb from the valley bottom to get there. All was not sweetness and dark tho, as we’re extending our night rides a little further every week. And as you’re gurning up the beacon’s lower slopes, it’s a nasty realisation that you’re less than half way round.

Thursday’s ride played out at 27k with 3100 feet of climbing, all within a three hour weather window through which the rain incessantly poured. I was staggered by my lack of total brokeness at the end, but disappointed with my ‘drunken demon possessed manikin‘ assualt on the downhills. The fitness is quite new, the rubbishness sadly constant. I blame the tyres.

And since that felt like two rides in one, this weekend shall be bike free. In addition to being a bit leg weary, Random has somehow made it to her eighth birthday, and all my time is taken answering the same question “Is it my birthday yet?”. This started about a week ago and has become a little wearing.

Birthday obligations were not sufficient for a bit of pointless parent hobbying to take centre stage today. After fetching** the SuperCub out of a tree, and finally getting to fly one of my scary engined models under the beady tutelage of a ex Squadron Commander, I got bored of rules and chucked the Wildthing off a big hill in Shropshire.

This time it didn’t fall out of the sky straight away. No, that required my notorious flying skills to send it fifty vertical meters down into the valley. But only once – after that, the whole thing went rather well, loops, staying above the ridge, failing to properly crash and a lack of nervous twitching made 30 minutes pass like 30 seconds. I absolutely loved it, which makes me a) geeky and b) desperate to develop a machine to give me twice as much leisure time.

And it’s so much less hassle than engines. On my day off on Friday, I spent another two hours in the same muddy field for 8 minutes instruction. The flying was great and surprisingly non catastrophic, but the sacrifices to the God of Nitro Engines is becoming tedious in the extreme. As is ingesting a fuel that has so many warning notices, it comes in a separate leaflet.

Tomorrow I shall be a) riding my bike b) flying my glider c) flying my noisy trainer or d) Making Jelly and collecting bit of wrapping paper from where the dog tried to eat them.

It’s probably d) which has to be the right choice. I’m not always good at those.

Hope it rains then.

* Although you’d need some pretty funky binoculars, and the word would have to be flat but I’m not letting such things ruin such a dramatic statement.

** Not me. I chucked a hissy fit and refused to have anything to do with it. The builders took pity and nailgunn’d four fence posts together and beat it out of the tree. I fixed it and flew it afterwards but it’s a bit bent. The front end goes left, the rear goes right which reminds me of a certain political party.

2 thoughts on “Beacon of dark

  1. NBT

    Actually, I’ve worked it out, you should be able to see Daventry or thereabouts looking east, and Llandrindod Wells looking west.

    Bored, me?

  2. Alex

    Sounds like it. And it’s not quite as raffish as the Russian Steppes to be frank. I’m not one to let the facts get in the way of a good story. Or Daventry come to that.

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