Each river has its favoured route, familiar, comforting and welcome as I make my regular pilgrimage - I take great delight with one in particular. This route, at the end of the coarse fisherman's season, I tend to carve more than any other - my pilgrimage to the Dorset Stour.
Most of my routes to the river could be done slightly quicker by keeping to featureless main roads, but the extra few minutes and couple of extra miles do more for the soul than a journey on automatic pilot with the wireless for company. I like the variation and expect the unexpected on these quieter byways.
I am on my way when I turn off the main road and head up past Spyway to Eggardon - here only last week on a freezing snowy day with leaden sky I spotted a white fallow deer (I spotted three today and think they must form part of the large Powerstock Common herd) in one of the dips. A magnificent sight standing like a beacon in the faded winter landscape. Past Eggardon I drop down into Wynford Eagle, past the church of Saint Lawrence and admire the lovely little river which is a tributary of the River Hooke. I do know that Wynford in Celtic is bright stream or white river, but I must try and find out the local name for this clear stream.
Soon I am waving at the Cerne Abbas Giant and marvelling at the Giants Inn (formerly The Red Lion) with its stained glass windows and before long I wend my way through the sleepy North Dorset villages which line my path to Sturminster Newton and journeys end.
It ends far too quickly, just long enough to contemplate the day ahead and the first trot of the float. The shadows of ancient hills my companions now until my return journey home which will be full of expectation - hope of a warming fire and the scent of comfort.