May 15th 2011
Elham and round about
After nearly six weeks of wonderful weather, our first Ragstones ride for some time, was drizzly with a cold north easterly wind blowing. Five stalwarts set out from Elham Square , Peter ,Rosemary, Judith and John of Millstone and a fairly new member of the happy band, Mick from Bedrock.
We had been promised lots of exciting downhill descents but of course that meant a number of horrendous uphill bits, first. The first just outside Elham goes straight up to Lower and then Upper Park Farm, before meandering over to Bladbean. Our chief navigator had then spotted a lovely road with green dashes on the map, which proved to be downhill ditch with three gates. Rosemary took one look and decided that it would be safer to walk down, although the rest of the intrepid crew descended very fast. Fortunately Mick got the gates open in time and there were no casualties. His only comment was, that he hoped we were not coming back the same way, and be forced to ride back up it.
Reassured, we cycled on towards Westwood windmill currently under restoration, and then descended fast into Lynsore Bottom. The rough road and fast pace, might indeed mean that the place lived up to its name!! Once down the road continues fairly smoothly through woodland and pasture, until we reached the turning for Wheelbarrow town.
Here three members of the party decided to brave the track, while the sensible members stuck to the road. However, fortune favours the brave, they saw a young fox running across the lane with its lunch, a rabbit in its jaws.
We reached the Lord Whisky tearooms quite early, but Jo, Mick's wife had beaten us to it and was consuming coffee, while waiting for the lunch party to arrive. As ever good food and excellent service made for a long and quite boozy lunch as Peter and Judith had brought three bottles of wine for us to enjoy, and neither Jo or Mick were drinking. Needless to say that quantity was too much even for us and fearing we would all fall off our bikes later, we kindly donated some to the staff.
After a final indulgence of rhubarb crumble, we got back on our bikes, and were indulged in a fast descent into Elham, without even having to climb up yet another hill.