Tour of Britain, Coldingham Priory and cycling against the wind

This week, my wife and I went to the bonnie town of Jedburgh in the Scottish borders, to see the start of Stage 3 of the Tour of Britain cycle race. The  photos below shows the magnificent back for the start of the race – Jedburgh Abbey which was built in the 12th century. There was a stage where all the cyclists signed in so it was good to see many riders from Le Tour de France and British interest focused on Team Sky including Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.

This week saw the start of my local History Society‘s season of talks. The first talk was an interesting exploration of the archeological evidence for the site of the original Coldingham Priory. Coldingham is a village about 20 miles (32K) from Dunbar. There has been a continuing debate over whether the original abbey, built in the 7th century, was sited where the present priory remains are or on one of the hills at St Abb’s Head, which has been featured in this blog a few times. There is no conclusive evidence for either site.

Today, cycling against the wind – more like a gale. The local forecast was for winds of 30 mph (49K) and gusts of up to 50mph (80K). At times, I was struggling to cycle, even on the flat. Earlier in the week, I heard part of a programme on weather on RAdio 4’s Book of the Week. It discussed where wind came from and how it affected all our lives in different ways, as well as famous winds like Le Mistral and hurricanes which affect North America each year. Poets have been fascinated by wind for centuries and a collection of wind poems (scroll down and ignore the adverts) gives many examples. My favourite is Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind, with the unshakably optimistic finale of “O Wind/ If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind”. This is the equivalent of cycling against the wind  in the knowledge that when you read half way and turn from home, the wind will be on your back and you can fly along.

Jedburgh – start of the Tour of Britain

Jedburgh Abbey

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