Saturday 14 July 2018
As we were house sitting at Hartgrove Farm and the projected weather forecast was good I thought it would be a good idea to start my ride from there. So on another lovely sunny day 18 riders turned up at the farm for tea and cakes on the patio. The riders were myself, Ron, Charlie, Alan, Jim, Richard N, Tony, Mike P, Ken, Dave M, Ben, Peter, Nicky, Mike A, Roger, Ed, Robin and Lorraine. 10.45 and I still hadn’t managed to get everyone away from the cakes! Roger, Ed and Lorraine were all going straight back so 15 of us eventually set off down the hill towards Bedchester where we turned left and made our way through the quiet lanes to Melbury where there were a few moans about the steep inclines (there were more to come). Across the A350 and up to Melbury Abbas (the worst hill) and just Zig Zag hill to come! which is not as bad as it at first seems apart from the rough surface. The views at the top across Charlton Downs are spectacular especially on a clear sunny day which it was. More rumblings about the hills but then a lovely slight downhill run from Ashmore (where we lost Ben off the front, hope you got back ok Ben) to Farnham and all was forgotten. A meander through Minchington and Gussage St Andrew to the A354 which had a constant stream of traffic heading for the coast and made for a difficult crossing. All safely across and onto more nice quiet lanes through Gussage St Michael and Gussage All Saints and we were there at the Horton Inn a mere 18 miles but spot on time at 12.45. Caroline had arrived by car and was putting the front wheel in her bike ready for the second leg after lunch. We all ordered our food and drinks and sat outside in the lovely weather. Those who ordered sandwiches got them quickly but anything cooked took some time to arrive so consequently we didn’t get going again till 14.20. With Ken leaving us to find his way back for the Tennis and dogs we retraced our steps for about a mile before turning left. Jim decided he’d had enough and left for home and unbeknownst to me Robin followed instead of turning with the rest of the group. So Mike A chased after him to bring him back into the fold. Together again we carried on through Moor Critchel and Witchampton and some lovely lanes to Tarrant Rawston where we lost Robin again going left instead of right despite my shouting! Again Mike A had to give chase and bring him back. After that it was a straight run up the Tarrant Valley via the Tarrant villages Monkton, Hinton and Gunville a long hard climb but with the reward of a fast downhill into Iwerne Minster. From here Caroline headed home and the rest of us headed back to Hartgrove via Bedchester (another hill). 8 of us stopped at the farm to finish off the remains of the cake while the rest left for their various abodes. A round trip of 40 miles with great weather and no major incidents, thanks to all who came.