North Dorset Downs    Sunday 19 January 2003    

OS Map Explorer 117  Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis

Length: 17 miles

Medium (revised from easy/medium)

Terrain: Mixture Road / Off road (bridleways, farm tracks).

13 Riders to start, 12 finished

Andy (fireman!) Richard Gears, Chris Gilbert-Norton (Gilbey), Kevin Lane, Dave Mullard, Clive Ramsden, Dan Rees, Graham Rendell, Graham Seage, Derek (Graham's neighbour!), Simon, Martin Sissons, Andy Wilcox.

Weather: Sunny, after rain before the ride and directly after the ride (whilst we were in the “Crown”. Dead jammy we were!!

Riders assembled outside the “Crown” at Winterborne Stickland (83050408). Two new recruits Clive Ramsden and Simon (sorry don’t know your surname) to swell the ranks. Was that apprehension etched in their faces?

Due to “mechanical difficulties” at the Rendell household with his bottom bracket on the Scott, Dave M’s trusty £5 Giant car boot special had an outing and was going to be ridden by Graham Rendell. After a bit of faffing around and a late arrival from Dan, fresh from a late night (3am) getting in to home from London (Gilbey also) we set off. TR past the church. This section was a good warm up for the riders, passing through Winterborne Houghton. We TR onto the farm track (81040402) passing Higher Houghton farm. Met a rather nervous horse here so we had to wait while he was led past. Then we hit the first of the muddy sections, by a gate. Most got a bootful of gloop here. We followed the track, which runs up the valley (Heath Bottom/Great Hill) then climbed up through The Stubbs (79040505). Derek decided to “bite the bullet” and turn around here, so we bade farewell to him. A few riders were seen pushing up this section!! It was quite a long drawn out climb. At the gate at the top we headed diagonally right  across the field to rejoin tarmac road. TL and followed road to junction at Wolland Hill.  TR onto the Wessex Ridgeway (78050602). Stopped here for a group photo overlooking the Blackmore Vale. We had a great downhill road descent before we TR onto bridleway. Climbed up the chalky track to the top of Bell Hill (80000803), then attacked the puddle infested and muddy descent to the road (81020904). Few smiles and expressions of glee after that descent.   “Must get some goggles sometime” was also heard a few times. Here Graham’s mount, the trusty Giant, sprang a leak so we stopped for date block, spuds and malt loaf whilst he fixed the puncture. Andy Wilcox also had a puncture, so he fixed his too, to keep Graham company! Waited for another horse and rider to pass before taking RH fork and then turned sharp left, skirting the forest. TL on rejoining tarmac road (83080800). TR through gate just past Folly Barn (84020803) for a great descent through a field, Kev nearly coming a cropper at the gate! After picking up the feint track off to the right through Sutcombe Wood (84090803) we had a few near misses as it was pretty muddy and slippery, then Andy and Kev decided to fall off their trusty steeds within 10 feet of each other! Dave M went on towards Durweston village to try and catch some “Wobblies in Action” shots for the site (judge for yourselves!). We passed the church on the left, then TR into bridleway for the slippery climb upwards to a large field. A couple managed the steep climb to the top, Graham R only failing about 10 feet from the gate. He mumbled something about “I’d have done it if I’d been on my Scott with me SPD’s!!!!”   Hhhmmm not sure there**?? After refilling our lungs at the gate, a piccy stop and letting two young girls on horses through the gate, we set off again, after watching the two girls gallop along the valley down below racing each other, which looked impressive. Richard Gears decided to join the puncture club and had a flat on the farm track in the windiest, most exposed section of the ride. However the sun was still shining away. We rejoined tarmac road at Travellers Rest (84040700) then picked up the Jubilee Trail off New Road at (84010604). Then the last climb of the ride up through Field Grove Plantation, which came as welcome news for some. At crossroads of bridleway tracks (82090707), TL for the muddiest rutted track of the day. Clive decided he was going to get a move on but made the mistake of relying on brakes that didn’t work too well. We all stopped at the junction of the tarmac road, but Clive, No! He ends up on the opposite bank, having sailed merrily straight across the road (see piccys for crash site and final position). No Green Cross code training for these youngsters these days, is there? We all set off for the final dash to the “Crown” but poor old Andy (fireman) got a flat, whilst we all f…ed off, oblivious to his predicament!!    Cheers lads!!! He limped into view just as we’d finished the group piccys.  All retired into the “Crown” for some refuelling, after some had changed out of the muddy clothes and shoes. TIP: bring a clean change of clothes. Gives you all an excuse to strip off in quiet Dorset villages!!!!  Then it started chucking it down whilst we were sampling the ales!   Great timing I reckon…………….

Worth Matravers Loop Sunday 16 February 2003

OS Outdoor Leisure map No 15  Purbeck & South Dorset map (Purbeck sheet)

Length: 12 Miles      Medium riding

Terrain: Mixture Road / Off road (bridleways, farm tracks). 

12 Riders to start, 10 finished

Vince Boon, Paul “All the gear” Cox, Andy Craig, Chris Gilbert-Norton (Gilbey), Andy Mould, Dave Mullard, Graham Rendell, Dave Simon, Simon, Dave “Downhill Demon” Smith, Martin Sissons, Chris “Sutts” Sutton, 

Weather: Bloody cold icy wind chill and a low temperature. Slightly misty with grey skies.

After missing the Sandbanks ferry, Graham, Gilbey and Simon arrived around 25 minutes later than the proposed 10am start at the Worth Matravers car park (97047706). Seem to remember Andy Mould having a similar problem last May with the ferry? Didn’t hang around too long before the off, as there was a rather icy wind blowing in from the north-east. We set off through the mud at Eastington Farm (98037709) at the start along the Priests Way, then rode the rather rocky slightly “technical” section before the fast descent on the tarmac track down to Coombe (00087808), just outside Swanage. From there we started climbing upwards on the road to Knitson Farm ((00058008). Gilbey suffered the first flat on the climb after passing under the railway bridge, so Paul “All the Gear” Cox and Gilbey stopped to repair the damage. Gilbey managed to snap a Presta valve, whilst inflating, after putting a new tube in, so had to repair the old puncture in the old tube. Then he managed to empty a freezing Co2 cannister all over his hand, whilst being lazy, instead of using a pump. Not going to plan, this one….. The group reassembled before the climb up the track to the top of nine Barrow Down. “Sutts” decided to show off his off roading skills around the signpost while waiting and Dave M nearly came a cropper on the 3 inch banking onto the road!!!!! Must get SpuD’s Dave, could be some cracker falls then! Andy Mould and Andy Craig decided to ride the road section to Corfe and meet us there after the group Three of us managed to pedal all the way up the track, however we all had to do it in stages.  We stopped at the top for some “treats” (maltloaf, spuds, bananas, Mars bars) before heading west across the top of the ridge, along Ailwood Down, past Brenscombe Hill to wards Corfe Castle. Everybody enjoyed this section as it was mainly downwind and also downhill (bonus!) and apart from spooking a few cows by belting past them a bit close, no dramas.  We regrouped at the TV mast at Rollington Hill (97038201), before hammering down the track to meet the road again at Challow Farm. Of course Dave Smith (Mr Downhill Racer) flew it!!!! From there we climbed into Corfe Castle village.  Group draped across the stone cross in the centre of the village for a sexy photo shoot, before heading off out of the south of the village for the road descent to Blashenwell Farm (95028003). Simon decided that here was an ideal place for a puncture stop, so obliged us all with a flat. Dave Mullard spotted something old, worn out and disused (“Oh I know what that is” cries Mrs M!) and went running off to snap away at the farms old water wheel. Sad old W****R! Then the great rocky climb up to Kingston Plantation, before the road section on the B3069, followed by a right turn for the group. Paul “All the Gear” Cox had a slow puncture here, but managed to fill the wheel enough to get to the pub. Dave Mullard and Graham Rendell went sailing past the signposted turning, too busy yakking. I just reckon they didn’t want to be the first at the bar! When we reached the “Square & Compass” there was a jazz trio playing in the RH bar, so we all had to cower in the main entrance hall to shelter from the icy blasts (from Dave Mullards wallet!). Still, the now habitual spicy pasties warmed up the cockles……………and the beers cooled them down again……..

Royal Muddy Ox   Sunday 16 March 2003

Weather; Cloudless sunny skies, light wind (perfect!)

Length: 25 Miles

Riding time: 3 hours

Terrain: Mixture Road / Off road (bridleways, farm tracks, grassy sections, muddy Ox drove!).

 13 Riders started, 10 finished: Keith Berry, Vince Boon, Paul “All the Gear” Cox, Richard “Mind that puddle” Gears, Chris Gilbert-Norton, Gavin House, Rob Mould, Dave Mullard, Graham Rendell, Simon, Graham Seage, Dave Simon, Martin Sissons.

 After the previous day had been glorious cloudless skies, Sunday’s forecast had promised more of the same. 13 riders assembled at Tollard Royal in glorious sunshine (Don’t believe me, check out the ride piccys!). Diversions on the B3081 meant a few late arrivals, where as Rob decided to ignore the signs and drive on. There was no road closed or major works so the gamble paid off. Quick group shot by the picturesque village pond, complete with fish in it, before we set off past the pond and took the BW to the summit at Monks Down (ST937207). New member Gavin had a bit of a nasty fall on the climb, caused by his SpuD’s tension being a bit too tight (Bikelab’s fault!!), so he couldn’t release his feet from his pedals. Everyone enjoyed the downhill track (Ashcombe Lane) which had some great steps to launch off on the fast descent. After Berwick St John, just after Cross Farm, Gilbey had a flat. Normally not a problem except this section had just past the farm and all the cows had been “busy” on the track. No licking fingers, then!. Plenty of new baby lambs were excited to see us all at Norrington Farm. Few close calls, on the path along the stream bank, to the church at Alvediston. At West End, Vince, Rob and Gavin decided to leave the ride as mechanical and family commitments loomed. The OS map was left with them, so they could navigate back to Tollard Royal. Hope the rest of us can remember the route. Long Bottom valley provided some steep grassy descent practice for the riders, but the smiles disappeared pretty quick on the long grassy climb up along Church Bottom valley. At the top Dave Simon had a flat, so the group took the opportunity to do a bit of inpromptu sunbathing. Great views across the Fovant Valley on the left although we had to keep our eyes and ears peeled for “greenlaner” motocross riders who seem to favour this part of the county for riding the bridleways. On the hillside at Chiselbury hill fort we all stopped in the glorious sunshine for a tucker break (maltloaf, bananaloaf, dateblock, fig rolls, bananas…….we’ll get fat!). Then Mr Rendell piped up “thought this was a bike ride, not a bloody picnic!!!”    All remounted for the muddy track section, until the reservoir appeared on the right. Here we reassembled. Quick count up revealed 2 missing…..Mullard and Graham. So after a while Gilbey rode back to find out where they were and what had happened. Transpires, Dave had had a flattie soon after leaving the hillfort. Group enjoyed the fast downhill into Broad Chalke. Daves flat reappeared (shoddy repairing, I reckon) at the village so whilst he fixed it, Graham Rendell, Graham Seage and Richard Gears sneaked round the corner into the “Queens Head” for a pint each. When the main group rounded the corner 10 minutes later, the three of them were sat outside the pub, basking in the sun. Bastards! Good uphill climb into open countryside past Field Barn, then climbed on track over Knowle Hill. The OX Drove had dried up quite a lot since the “recce” ride a few weeks previous, however Richard still managed to find a big puddle to fall off in (SpuD’s revenge No2) Nothing at all to do with Gilbey saying “we rode through it on the recce ride” What Gilbey really said was “Dave and I walked round it on the recce ride!!”  Just everyone misheard………. Regrouped at road junction near Woodminton Down. Turned off road passing Middle Chase Farm. Crossed a few fields then regrouped at Sessions Gate. Paul Cox was beginning to get a bad leg cramp so Gilbey and Dave dropped back to keep tabs on him. Must remember the emergency salt ration in the first aid kit next ride! Met up with the B3081 road at New Barn,TR and followed it back to Tollard Royal.  Vince, Gavin and Rob were still in the pub when we got there. So much for early getaways!!!!  

Kiss Me Hardy”  Sunday 27 April 2003  

OS Map Explorer 117  Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis

Length: 25 miles

Difficulty: Moderate to hard! ( But you all will be able to do it!).

Terrain: Mixture Road / Off road (bridleways, farm tracks, steep hills).

8 Riders to start, 6 finished

Chris Gilbert-Norton (Gilbey), Kevin Lane, Dave Mullard, Dave Simon, Dan Rees, Graham Rendell, Graham Seage, Simon.

Weather: Slight SW breeze, sunny spells.

Eight “Wobblies” turned up in Martinstown for an early 9am start. We parked under some particularly noisy rooks nests. Hazards of living in the “sticks” I reckon. No Sunday lie-ins in this village. I’d get the gun out. Dave Simon turned up, having got Andy “bike boy” Sherwood to fit Gilbey’s old Suntour forks & front wheel plus Dave Mullards Deore disc brakes to his Muddy Fox the day before. Dave, a scrounging bastard?………Naaaahhhh!   No more “rigid” riding for Dave from now on.  Well apart from the homelife, maybe Group set off through village, before TR onto BW climbing up steep hill to Eweleaze Barn. Then a hard slog across fields to join the South West Coastal Path. Mullard was finding this part hard going for some reason (Mrs M?). And this was the easy section of the route! We stopped for photos at Hardys Monument (Nelsons Hardy, not Thomas). Some bloke told us we could be destroying rare species of grasses by riding off the gravel around the monument. Thought he was being a bit over the top until I read that it was indeed a S.S.I.I. area! Kev had just done an impressive 15ft skid across the grass in front of the “David Bellemy” type. Now I know why he was so pissed at us…Nice one Kev!! Still revenge on Kev was not far away. We all TL onto the next BW signposted “Black Down Barn” for the “technical” descent through Benecke Wood.  This section had claimed Gilbey and Graham Rendell on the “Recce” ride, so Kevin decided to fall off in pretty spectacular style at exactly the same spot. Banged his leg up a bit, but wouldn’t let any of us apply Germolene and kiss it better??? Everyone else managed the descent OK. Gilbey got into “anorak” talk with 2 R/C flyers past the farm, and was told to hurry up, by everyone else. The  “Tractorsaurus” , a sculpture made out of old tractor and farm yard parts called for another photo stop, .before setting off down the fast road section into Portesham. We then picked up the old railway trackbed to Abbotsbury. Think everyone cussed a bit at the steep climb out of the village, passing Jubilee Coppice. Still Mullard had a “gleam” in his eye whilst passing all the new born lambs (Hmmmmm?) onto the top of White Hill

Everybody seemed most impressed (NOT!) at the Stone Circle. A few near misses in Abbotsbury Lane, Graham Seage managing to leave his bike and run along side it at one point, whilst Dan forgot to keep his mouth shut along this rather cow-shit laden lane. He spent a few moments at the bottom of the track at Lower Farm gagging and retching, so he must have swallowed something nice and wholesome. on the way down….cow pat pie…After crossing the A35 Dorchester-Bridport road we all stopped for some spuds, date block, malt loaf, fig rolls etc. Dan seemed full up? I now eat a more varied diet on these rides than I do back home!!! Keep regular too with all those figs and dates!!! At the Roman Road, Dan (hangover, beer excess the night before) and Kev (prior dinner commitment) decided to “split” and took the escape route along the tarmac back to Martinstown. The remaining 6 riders passed Compton Barn then TR onto BW and crossed the bumpy, rutted, fields to Long Lands Farm). Then a fast descent on the paved road (best speed 43mph!) down into Southover village, We TR off road onto BW. At Muckleford village we stopped for some more food, Dave having had enough riding  by now! After Higher Skippet Farm, we had our BW path across the field blocked by a field full of cows. Decided to go around the edge. Then we spotted “Mr Fox” walking amongst the cows. He didn’t spot us till we all rode over the crest of the hill. He was heading for the water trough, but changed his mind pretty sharpish when he saw us lot steaming towards him, so he scarpered. “Tally Ho!, Tally Ho!” 

Graham Rendell got a flat a mile from the end of the route on the single track BW leading into Martinstown. This track conveniently exited right next to the  “Brewers Arms”. As the weather was now sunnyish we all sat outside the pub. Superb ride, pretty tough, but enjoyed by most, I think!  

Swire Head”     Sunday 22 June 2003       

Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure map 15: Purbeck & South Dorset (Purbeck sheet),circular route, 2½ hours with stops)

Length: 12 miles

Terrain: Purbeck hills, quite hilly with a few great downhills, slippery on tracks, rocks.

9 Riders to start, 10 finished!Richard Gears, Chris Gilbert-Norton (Gilbey), “Loggo”, Dave Mullard, Pete Robinson (met halfway round) Dave Simon, Graham Seage, Dave Simon, “Sutts”, James Wilcox.

Weather: sunny spells, spitting rain for a short time.

After the early morning thunder and lightning storms which had raged at 5am, it was suprising to see a good turnout of riders assembled at Corfe Castle car park. Started riding at 9.15am after a ”Soreen” group photo in the Corfe Castle car park. New riders were James Wilcox and “Loggo” Good downhill by paved road to Blashenwell Farm, then up the rocky steep, slippery climb to the plantation at Kingston. James ended up pushing as he wanted to save his energy!! Then the gentle grassy tracked climb up to the viewpoint at Swyre Head Dave Mullard gave us a sinterlating conversation on the pitfalls of restoring his metal rocking horse salvaged from the tip. He’s gonna paint it up and give it to his neice for Xmas. No expense spared there then, Dave! A few spots of rain greeted us at Swyre Head. Excellent views across Kimmeridge but couldn’t see Portland through the grey rain clouds.The track along the ridge was remarkably dry in comparison to the March 2002 ride. Everyone enjoyed the slippery but excellent fast,downhill descent at the end of the ridge. James mumbled something like “would be better with suspension” Seem to remember Martin Sissons mentioning the same thing last year. Martin went out soon afterwards and bought a Trek with front suspension! Re-joined the paved road near Kimmeridge. Crossed the road for a short stretch along a grassy field, then down the slippery, wet steep, rocky descent to Steeple Leaze farm. The farm dogs were luckily tied up this year but still greeted us all with a noisy chorus. We all passed an abandoned boat (?) at the zig-zag climb up to Creech hill viewpoint. We all stopped at Grange Arch, for a few piccys and James and Gilbey did the gargoyle impressions on the top of the arch. Then across Ridgeway Hill, Knowle Hill, to the descent to the Steeple road. Whilst going “hell for leather” down the track, we passed a rider in an orange jacket pedalling up. Then on closer, blurred inspection, it turned out to be Pete Robinson, who had set of late from Corfe and decided to cycle anticlockwise in the hope of meeting the group somewhere. The  "Banks Arms" was mentioned so he turned around and joined us. When we reached West Hill we realised we were too early for the pub opening so decided to tack on a loop up to the mast above Corfe on the opposite ridge. So after the very steep descent down West Hill, with some riders pushing, some falling off and “Sutts” winning the “totally out of control, but managing to somehow stay on the bike” award, we took the Studland road for a mile then turned right for the climb up to the radio mast. Some pushed but Gilbey decided the descent was too good to miss so rode back down then back up a second time, passing some “pushers” still on their first ascent!!!! But the last downhill into Corfe was enjoyed by all. The pub served us before opening time which was nice, and we were accosted by a rather nice blonde “slone ranger” type outside who seemed to take an unhealthy interest in sweaty MBR’rs. Still I reckon it was the bright yellow “Soreen” T-shirts which attracted her attention.    

London to Brighton ride     July 13 2003

Riders: Richard Gears, Chris Gilbert-Norton (Gilbey), Dave Mullard, Dan Rees, Graham Rendell

"Upton Heath Razz" August 17th 2003 

Riders:    Paul Brooks, Paul "All the gear" Cox, Steve Heap,Dave Mullard, Grahan Rendell, Graham Seage,  Simon, Martin Sissons

Isle of Wight  Sunday September 14 2003     

OS Maps:Landranger 196 Solent & Isle of Wight, Explorer OL29 Isle of Wight (West sheet)

Weather: Sunny 

Length 21 Miles

Terrain: Mixture Road / Off road

Riders: Richard Gears, Chris "Gilbey" Gilbert-Norton, Graham Rendell, Dave Mullard, Chris “Sutts” Sutton,  Andy Sherwood, 

Six turned-out for the “Wobbly Wheelers” second “overseas” trip to the Isle of Wight.  All bought return tickets (£8.50) before boarding the “Cenwulf” for the 8.15 sailing on the 30-minute trip to Yarmouth, which gave us a chance to check the route. Morning teas were bought on the ferry and we all adjourned on to the "sun deck". An absolutely georgeous sunny day was developing. On disembarking men and machines from the ferry, we picked up the footpath passing the old watermill, then TR onto the old railway trackbed signposted Freshwater and followed the track alongside the River Yar past Backets Plantation. This flat section provided a gentle “warming-up” for the group. On reaching the road, we TL and joined the “Freshwater Way” along the Causeway. At  junction with the B3399 Newport-Freshwater road, headed straight across the staggered junction and then TL onto the bridleway. TR at next bridleway, then TL for the gravel path climb up onto Afton Down passing the keen early morning golfers to meet up with the “Tennyson Trail”, then crossed Compton Down to the 150m high point at Brook Down. Descended down the steep chalky, rocky, and rutted descent to meet the B3399. Climbed from the road for the steep ascent to the 203m summit at Harboro. Some pushed, some made it on bikes.  We all regrouped at the top. Then a good descent across Mottistone Down, then down to cross Lynch Lane. Followed the gravel track up the other side and carried straight on at the reservoir picking up the “Worsley Trail” then headed across Limerstone Down. We were looking for the BW off to the right which headed off down the steep slopes of Fore Down and skirts historic North Court before coming out in the pretty thatched village of Shorwell. Eventually we picked up a feint track and it turned into a fast descent across a grassy slope. The descent was enjoyed by all, I think, judging from all the yelping and hollering. Joined the B3323 Newport-Shorwell road. TL along tarmac known locally as the Cheverton Shute, then TL up farm track after Rowborough Farm, to tackle the now infamous “Crank break hill”. A few hardened souls managed to keep traction on the chalky surface, but most succumbed to pushing. However the reward at the top was the Korean version of sushi, "kimbab", sticky rice, pickled raddish, tuna and beef mince wrapped in seaweed sheets, prepared the night before by Gilbey's girlfriend, Young-Joo. Everyone sampled them and judged them to be a success. We all set off again onto Idlecombe Down. 

The "Sutts" Abduction.................

Now.... you have all heard of the "Roswell incident" involving alien abduction etc. Well this next bit is on par with it. We reached the edge of Brighstone Forest to discover "Sutts" was not with us. Better go back and find him, we thought. Retraced the route for some 1/2 mile, only to  find "Sutts" bike abandoned on the path, but no sign of him anywhere? The area was very open. No sign of Mr "Sutts"....only a farmer ploughing the field in a tractor. "Gone for a wee?", "Murdered by the farmer and bundled in the tractors cab, maybe"? We shouted out for him....no answer.....then the alien abduction theories set in....there was no other rational explaination!  As we all began to gaze skywards (it's true!) we heard a faint cry...sounded like "help" to us....bloody hell, "Sutts" is injured...we all rushed back shouting "Sutts,hang on mate, we're coming" only to find him walking towards us, further up the track kicking the dirt!! He'd lost part of his brake and had gone back on foot to comb the track!! Bastard!  Sherwood bodged the brake and we set off again through Brighstone Forest passing Ballibury Hump (210m) on our right. We TR for the excellent recommended fast single track descent down to the Brighstone-Calbourne road. Someone had laid loads of tree stumps and sections of timber across the singletrack, either to prevent bikes coming down it or to add some more fun to it. Anyway most of us bunny hopped them all, however Richard managed to misjudge one and ended up going over the bars!!  Followed the track opposite up Westover Down, then exited the forest enclosure, so we could tackle Brook Down uphill, and gain the benefit of the downhill across Compton Down golf course, as we felt we'd earned it! Then we retraced the outward route along the Causeway and the former railway line back to the old station at Yarmouth. We found a pub where we could leave the bikes safely inside and adjourned for some cool beers, crisps and peanuts. These were not enough for "Cake Boy" Sherwood, who set off, fixated with hunger and returned 10 minutes later with some "Granny Pasco's shortbread fingers". Pretty foul they were too. Spent the whole of the return ferry crossing trying to give them away!

"The Romsey RompSunday October 19 2003 

Map: Explorer 131 – Romsey, Andover and Test Valley – South Sheet 

Distance: 18 miles (according to Dave Mullard!!)

Riders: Richard Gears, Chris "Gilbey" Gilbert-norton, Dave Mullard, Dan Rees, Graham Rendell, Martin Sissons,  Simon, Graham Seage, Andy Wilcox

Weather: Sunny but cold

Started at the “Lions Head” pub on the Common at Middle Winterslow. We all had to wait for Dan Rees and Martin to arrive, as they got their Upper, Lower and Middle Winterslows mixed up!  We set off following the road past Yarmley Farm. At T-junction, TR then shortly TL onto byeway. Bore right onto byeway taking next left heading WSW towards Pitton. After a great steep downhill, we missed the left fork heading into Pitton and had to backtrack a bit. Then Gilbey had a flat. Pump problems delayed the restart, also Andy Wilcox had a flat at the same point. Started off again up the  steep hill past White Hill Farm. Just past crest of hill, we TR onto byway, bearing left at fork in front of small copse. This byway consisted of some great singletrack through the woods until we met a road near Cloverlands. Straight onto road and shortly afterwards TL heading for Farley. At next junction, we TL towards Parsonage Farm. Followed this road around to the right, then left, past the church. We took next BW on left, bearing right through Church Copse and Hound Wood, Gilbey coming a cropper after failing to get through a gatepost gap, and was yanked off his "trusty steed" by his bar ends! Joined road at Home Farm. Turned right onto road then almost immediately left onto a BW. We followed this BW straight through Bentley Wood. Andy Wilcox got caught up in a "Tarzan creeper" whilst riding through Bentley Wood and was pulled off his bike!  We got a little disorientated at this point as the byway wasn't too clearly marked. Rejoined road at Home Farm. TR onto road, then TL at South Lodge following road into the village of West Tytherley, through the village, TR after pub and followed road past Village Farm until it turned into a track. TL onto BW and followed past some disused pits until it met the road. TL onto road and at T-junction,TR climbed steadily until meeting byway where road bends right meeting the Roman road. Took stony bridleway, climbing towards Smiths Plantation, assembled at the OS trig point at the top for some pics and a bit of food, before staying on this bridleway, bearing right for a steep dusty and blindingly sunny downhill to Church farm. The dust caused the guys at the back some visual problems. However the riders at the front enjoyed the fast downhill immensely!! Followed track to meet B3084 at Broughton. TL and followed road, taking BW on left just past buildings on the left. At Broughton Down Farm TL onto bridleway climbing steeply through nature reserve up Whiteshoot Hill until crossroads of bridleways on other side of hill. We all stopped to fix a puncture at the top (can't remember whose!). However, good excuse for a breather and some malt loaf. An old Army Air Corps 1950's Auster spotter plane flew over us, probably on a flight from Middle Wallop. It was going so slow it looked like it would drop out of the sky. TR towards Buckholt Farm, where Gilbey then got a flat, before meeting road after passing through a farmyard. TR onto road, then onto Roman Road at T-junction. This met the road at Middle Winterslow, which we followed back to the pub. Quite a few punctures on this ride, caused by the dreaded hawthorns.

"Plush Bash"   Sunday November 16 2003

Riders: Steve Heap, Dave Mullard, Graham Rendell, Simon,

Weather: heavy drizzle and mist

Abandoned due to poor navigation, sorry not abandoned "just came to an early finish" in Dave Mullard's words!

"Xmas Pub CrawlSunday 28 December 2003