Saturday 27 April 2019
It was depressing midweek to look at the weather forecast and see that Storm Hannah with high winds and rain was due to arrive during the ride on Saturday. So it was of some relief to see the forecast on Friday evening was predicting winds up to 47mph but little or no rain. On leaving the house on Saturday morning and initially tuning west on my ride to Shillingstone the strength of the wind foretold a very hard ride to come. I was therefore quite surprised to follow Roger into Shillingstone Station and find Ron, Ben, Charlie, Ed and Paul already there, although it was obvious that Paul would not be partaking, as he was dressed in his country wear with a dog in tow. Once we were sat down for coffee we were joined by Jill and Jenny on her way back from a park run in Blandford.
We set off from Shillingstone with Roger, Jill and Jenny finding a variety of excuses for not joining the ride, so Ron, Ben. Charlie, Ed and I headed to Child Okeford and on to Iwerne Minster. We then climbed Tower Hill to the top of the ridge and down into the Tarrants taking advantage of the wind on our backs. As we turned west towards Tarrant Rawston we almost came to full stop as we felt the full force of the 45mph wind which only abated when we turned up the hill to Tarrant Rushton.
As this was not my first time leading a ride to Pamphill I decided to save myself from being berated for taking the cross country route along some flint covered tracks, so we took the longer route via Witchampton and Wimborne.
We arrived at a busy Pamphill café to luckily find the only 5 seater table in the place free (you can’t book on Saturdays) and ordered a selection of somewhat pricey food and drinks. The service was quick and the food was excellent setting us up for what we knew was going to be a hard ride home.
We set off towards Shapwick with little protection from the hedges and riding into the full force of the wind. This continued with little respite all the way to Blandford where we picked up the trailway which initially gave us some protection from the wind. We then had to negotiate the exposed part of the trailway towards Durweston which proved very hard going but partly alleviated but putting Electric Ron in front as a wind break. We finally arrived back a Shillingstone where Ron left us and the remainder of us stopped for a well-earned drink.
Ben departed for what must have been a very tough ride straight into the west wind all the way back to Yeovil, while Charlie. Ed and I decided to stay on the trailway to get some protection from the wind as far as Hammoon. Then on to Manston where we experienced a quick rain shower and turning north for home with the wind on our side at last.
I rode 100.1km (62.2miles) and it was very hard work.