Cycling the Downs (Version 2)

There’s a saying that says

What goes up must come down.

But when I’m out cycling

I’m not messing around

When I say what goes down

Must come up again too

At least when you’re cycling

The South Downs through.

They rise from the seaside

At an angle that’s cruel

At times I would wish

I was powered by fuel.

The heat of the day

Seeps right through my shirt

As I push up the hillside

Trying to put on a spurt.

I’m pumping the pedals

With thighs that could kill.

Calves that are splitting

And lungs fit to burst.

My heart rate is rising

I hear its loud tick,

And my breath comes in gulps

As I give the next kick.

And little by little

I gain on the top

As my energy fades

Almost dying away.

But the achievement is magic

As I look at the view

Out over the sea

The horizon is blue.

As I breathe the fresh air

My mind’s blown away

And I think I’m a king

In my own special play;

That I’ve conquered my enemy

In battle today.

And I look with disdain

On those coming by car

And I feel that my place here’s

More worthy by far,

For I’ve risen up high

Through the strength of my thighs

And I’ve experienced a victory

You can’t quantify.

Photo and poem copyright Englepip


Daily Prompt: Above Ullswater



P1150776Above the valley and the lake

We look down from the silence

To the busyness and beauty below

A toy town of village cottages

On the lower slopes and

The lake like a puddle,

Miniature steamers plying its waters.

Sounds rise from below,

Shouts of children in the beck

Paddling and dam building in the summer sun.

And the hooting of the steamer as she leaves port

To sail the length of Ullswater.

But no traffic. Not here.

The trees occasionally obliterate the view

Like the frames on a triptych

Fringing the scene with foliage.


And all the while the shadows

Race across the hillsides,

Turning greens into purples

And back again as the cloud scapes

Weave across field and fell and crag.


From above, we marvel at the distance

And the depth of this poetic landscape,

Subject of Romanticists

And we feel  the history of the place

Walking in the steps of Wainwright

But also Wordsworth, Southey

Coleridge and Lamb

And it is the lambs themselves

Whose sound punctuates

The high land: hauntingly plaintive.


We look down from above and

Feel like self-satisfied gods

Admiring our faultless handiwork



If you have never visited The Lake District of the UK, I thoroughly recommend it. There are still pockets of quiet and you can sometimes have a whole mountainside to yourself.

These were the hills traversed by the Lake Poets of the eighteenth century, Wordsworth and Coleridge the most famous. Whilst they concentrated their walks to the south of the lakes, they had a great appreciation of the whole district. Wainwright was a great fell walker of the last century, who wrote amazing guides to the walks there.


via Daily Prompt: Above