photo credit Three Oaks: Brian Cookson OBE
The Sky was angry my friends that early morning we rode off to Lancashire.
But we continued anyway, heading west, then north, towards the sleeping mass of Longridge Fell, crossing the River Ribble and continuing inexorably through Ribchester, all thoughts of the Roman Legionnaires who built a fort here almost 2000 years ago, put to one side.
As we continued our fast paced ride through the valley roads we soon came upon Stonygate Lane, which runs to the north, and partially follows the route of the old Roman road, that we began to feel like an advancing roman cavalry riding our two-wheeled steal steeds into uncharted territory. Throwing caution to the wind our small peloton pedalled fearlessly and furiously onward.
Onwards and upwards, always upwards. It seemed as if we would never reach the summit. Then suddenly, the unexpected happened. Seeing nothing but the top of the fog as we crested the hill we were suddenly thrown into a large flock of slowly moving wooly sheep all bunched up on the narrow country road.
It was at this point that things took an even stranger turn. One that would have a profound effect upon me for years after. One that I never thought would ever happen in this part of the world, in my lifetime.
Faced with the inevitable crash into the flock blocking our route I instinctively launched off my bike, managing to hold onto the handle bars, and I hurled myself into the muddy road bank. Covered in muck I leapt to my feet, and let out a piercing lusty call up to the heavens!
It was then that I saw it. The strangest, most unexpected thing. I turned to my friends “What on earth is that?” I cried, astounded. A voice from the back replied. “It, it’s, it’s a……” but before he could finish things took a much more sinister turn.
While some of us managed to avoid crashing into the flock of sheep, our compatriots riding behind us fared less well. No time to take evasive action. They plunged into the wooly flock. Disc brakes cutting the ears and limbs of some ewes. Blood sprouted like a gusher. The Horror!
And so we rode home.
Those of us who could. The rest rode home in a sag wagon that was accompanying our audax group. We will regroup, heal our wounds, expunge the horrors from our souls, and ride again.
A twitter story. Contributors: Brian Cookson, Vanni di Ponzano,