Ride Report – Stalbridge to Tolpuddle

Saturday 28 September 2019

Three Pubs and a Puncture

Six riders (Mary, Paul, Martin T, Charlie, Ron and I) and two non-riders (Lorraine and Richard) met at Dike’s Café for coffee prior to leaving on the ride to Tolpuddle.
The weather was bright but with a strong westerly breeze which Paul reminded us that had been in his face all the way on his ride in from home. That said the forecast was predicting rain and strong winds for later in the afternoon so I planned a direct route for our ride home from lunch to ensure we all arrived home dry.

We set off via Stourton and Bishops Caundle, King’s Stag to Hazel Bury Bryan before taking the easier route to Ansty Cross.  From there we traversed along the top of the ridge line taking in some stunning views before the long downhill run into Milborne St Andrew.  Then on to cross the A35 and turned into the strengthening wind towards Tolpuddle arriving at the Martyrs Inn on the dot at 12:30.

It was at this point my well laid plan started to go wrong.  The pub had only one Chef available and a large party booked in although their web site states they don’t take bookings and were unable to accommodate us.  So after some discussion we set for Athelhampton House café some two miles down the road when contrary to the forecast it started to rain quite heavily but it was just a passing shower and soon abated. On arrival at Athelhampton House we were met at the entrance by a large wedding party so that venue was out.  Plan  three; we would head on to the Blue Vinny pub again a couple of miles down the road in Puddletown.  On arrival the omens were not good the car park was full and the place was packed. A quick enquiry at the bar confirmed that they were only serving booked customers.  So plan four, a ride of three miles to our lunch venue of a couple of weeks previously, The Oak pub at Dewlish.

Shortly before arriving at Dewlish there was the familiar cry from the rear of the peloton “Puncture”. At this point Ron decided to carry on directly home having no confidence that he was ever going to get fed.  While Charlie repaired his puncture I pressed on to recce the pub and finally I found a venue that was prepared to feed us.

After a very good lunch with quick service we set off for Ansty Cross once more where Charlie left us, taking the easy route home while us four remaining riders set of over Bulbarrow to Okeford Fitzpaine and Hammoon where Paul left us for his short ride home. That left Martin, Mary and I to ride on under darkening skies to Todber were we split to go our separate ways.

I am glad I decided to take the direct route after lunch as the skies opened shortly after I arrived home.

I did 96.4km (59.6miles) and climbed 1098m (3602ft)
 David Matten

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