Ride Report – Gillingham to Warminster

Saturday 23 November 2019

I arrived at Orchard Park on a wet and misty morning not expecting many takers for the ride to Warminster.  Shortly after, Richard N arrived in his car in non-biking gear but there was no sign of anyone else in Lycra.  After getting a coffee and listening to Richards account of his recent trip to the Indian Ocean there was no sign of other riders so I thought I was going the have a quiet Saturday in front of the TV. Then Jill arrived with Paul followed by Ron, Doc David, Ed, Charlie, Mike P and finally Mary.
Both Jill and Paul stated it was drizzling and damp and they were going home but the remainder were reasonably keen to ride, so no lazy day in front of the TV for me.  So seven of us set off past a very busy new ALDI shop and on through the middle of Gillingham and on towards Stourhead. As we climbed the weather really clagged in requiring constant cleaning glasses to maintain some semblance of vision ahead, which I put down as the reason for taking a wrong turn and ending up in the middle of Kilmington.  At this point there was a cry from the rear of the peloton “pee stop” so we waited for over  5 minutes while Charlie found a bush (why it takes him over  5 minutes  to have a pee god only knows).  Then on towards Maiden Bradley, only to encounter a very large puddle across the road which even Ron managed to negotiated without falling off or shorting out his electrics.
Then to Crockerton and up the steep climb into the Longleat Forest, before turning right for the decent into Warminster.  At this point Ron decided he was going home saying that he had no lights and he had to get home before dark.  On Richard N’s advice we decided to head on to Weatherspoon’s for lunch rather than Morrison’s and managed to grab the last two free tables.  Lunch was very good value (burger and chip together with a pint for £6.25) and served in record time. We then had to force ourselves out of the pub and back on our bikes for the run home which I planned to be as short as possible as the light would be fading quickly.
As we left the pub the weather improved a little and I selected an off road route via the park and intended to then follow the national cycle route to Sutton Veny. Unfortunately after having taken a different from planned route through the park I turned the wrong way on the cycle route and we ended up on the A350.  As the weather was again deteriorating we continued on a busy A350 to Longbridge Deverill and turned right through the Deverill’s and up the long climb over Mere Down.
From Mere we retraced our steps via Milton, with the light starting to fade quickly we spilt up at Wyke for our final runs home.  A round Trip of about 60km (38miles).

David Matten

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