It stopped raining about 9am so I enjoyed an hour and half walk exploring the woods. Saw a male Kestrel [the first for several years] and a buzzard. Which went off complaining loudly. I may have seen my first Skylarks of the year but no song yet. Raining for the last mile but it still looks promising for a ride. It certainly isn't as dark as it was earlier.
I set off after coffee into a roaring wind and light rain. Struggling to maintain 10-11mph on the aero bars into the headwind! Down to 7-8mph for a while. I met a very tall horse with a tiny girl aboard. The horse turned broadside to the lane as I approached from behind! The rider insisted I pass as the horse rolled its eyes at me. It settled down as soon as I was gone. Thankfully it stopped raining and then stayed mostly dry after that.
I bought my brake noodles in an LBS and finished the shopping. No stock as usual! Coming back was a doddle even going uphill. The wind was so strong it was chilling my back though the Aldi rain jacket, rear vent. Saw another Kestrel. It was only a couple of miles from the first sighting so may well have been the same one. It kept twisting and turning as it dive bombed a field from low altitude. Probably hunting a rodent but obviously not helped by the strong wind. Birds are amazing for their extraordinary flying skills. 17 miles.