Monday, 4 July 2011

Follow that Train

Falkoping – Ulricehamn     56kms    126’ ascent
Having climbed ‘The Hill’ we had the pleasure of the descent this morning. A whoopee experience, if somewhat nerve racking with the following traffic trying to decide whether to overtake these flying  bikes or tamely follow behind. We gave no quarter!  At the bottom we faced something of a dilemma. In his extensive research, Alan had read an entry referring to this part of the route which stated that there existed an old railway line which would take us all the way to Ulricehamn.  The only problem was how to locate it as none of the maps we had showed the slightest inkling of such. Being extraordinarily intelligent, we decided that the best option was to follow the existing railway line (not literally). As luck would have it, we both spotted the tiny red sign simultaneously. What luck! As those of you who read this blog regularly will know, I have a theory that railway constructors built rail tracks to climb hardly at all. And guess what, I was right.
It was another gloriously sunny day and an opportunity to take in the quite significant changes to the countryside that have taken place as we have come further south. Without the interference of road traffic, we were able to note the emphasis now on agriculture and stock rearing (not that we were actually without trees). The natural flora had attracted a vast number of butterflies, which insisted on committing suicide in the spokes of my front wheel, probably in the back as well.  After some twenty kilometres, and at about coffee time, we came upon a hut at a place called Hog. This old railway hut had been lovingly restored, was open and made available information about the local area and the horrendous crash which had occurred between a train and a milk tanker in the 1980’s. We made use of the picnic table which had been build nearby and thereby met the man involved in the restoration. He was justly proud of his efforts and keen for us to make an entry in his little visitors’ book which I had overlooked.
To reduce the boredom (I know, some people are never satisfied) the local farmers had constructed  cattle grids disguised as areas of verdant greenery. Fortunately, this sudden change from grey to green had alerted Alan to a possible anomaly and thus he stopped before his front wheel disappeared down a great hole.  By now my trusty nostril wind had got going with a vengeance  and it was with some relief that we found ourselves in Ulricehamn. We stopped to check our whereabouts and met another of those nice old ladies who suggested that if we continued for just a further 100metres or so we would find a seat, shade and a wonderful view. She was right on all counts. By now, very hot, we pressed on to our site for the night and discovered that the railway line continued for a further 30 + kilometres! (A great start for the day tomorrow)
Our accommodation this night was a very well appointed apartment in every aspect except one – It was at the bottom of a flight of very steep steps but it did have a balcony!  The exercise did us good!

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