A brief visit to Challock and a vow to return
It as one of those days. Ruth, John and Peter set out to ride to Challock - a quest that had failed twice before.
With an early start from Bedrock, Ruth and Peter made a rendezvous with Millstone John at Clayville. From there they made a further expedition into the Essetford region and finally found a route via an underpass to Great Chart. From there the ride went swiftly through Hothfiled - the bogs were noted for a visit on another day - and Westwell. But by the Wheel Pub at Westwell, the Ragstones found their road blocked by an infernal pothole filling entourage. What could they do? Turn back? Never said Ruth - we Ragstones never go back! Go to Eastwell instead opined Peter. But no, these drastic measures were not necessary - further down the road was another turning and the Ragsones were able to bypass the infernal pot-hole filling machines.
A steep climb to Challock along a quiet lane with spectacular panarama of downs' landscapes was the reward. Fearing the lateness of the hour, as John of Millstone needed to finish early to attend a funeral, the Ragstones sped through Challock. What a shame! This is a very photogenic village and the Ragstones resolved to return, to explore the Dene holes, photograph the scuptures in Kings Wood and perhaps even venture down the lane to visit Challock Church, famous for its wall paintings. These delights will have to wait for another day.
Scant of time, the Ragstones sped towards Wye and the 12.30 deadline for John of Millstone to peel off. Who would have thought that Challock to Wye was possible on a bicycle in 15 minutes. It is! The speeds down White Hill to Boughton Corner ensured that little time was lost. And they were in Wye ahead of schedule in plenty of time for John of Millstone to prepare for the afternoon ceremony.
It was sad that Peter and Ruth had to enjoy their excellent meal at the Kings Head without the company of their Ragstone brethren. But they made the best of the task as they could and emerged over two hours later having enjoyed an excellent lunch, but nevertheless regretting that others could not have joined in.
The early start resulted in time in hand, so the return trip started with a ride in the opposite direction to Crundale and Waltham in the chalklands area. Reality struck home when Ruth announced that she had to get home in time for an evening get together with friends, so the ride finished with a quick storm up the gradient to Hastingleigh, a whiz down to Bulltown and Brabourne, followed by a speedy climb from Sellindge along Harringe Lane, to return just in time for Ruth to meet her friends still dressed in cycling gear.
What a day! 43 miles and lots of adventures. And still, we need to explore Challock on another day.