Saturday, 8 September 2012

Hot In Hammerwood

Most of us
By Philip Clarke
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 10:24
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The sky was clear blue as 16 of us gathered in the Hammerwood village hall car park. We were pleased to welcome back Grace after a long absence due to Achilles Tendon problems - the rest has obviously done her some good as she completed the ride without a single "off"! Once we had (eventually) all gathered at (ie found) the start point, with Jack once again generously volunteering for back-marker duties (ably assisted by Grace for those frequent moments when Jack has a rush of blood and can't resist overtaking everybody with his customary motorbike noise), we set off, only a few minutes late. We took the Vanguard way north, before turning south-east towards Cowden. The trails were finally dry, after this so-wet summer, with a few kicks uphill and down to add to the enjoyment of being out on such a beautiful day. The only hiccups were when we encountered a quadbike hurtling towards us, shortly followed by some feisty young horses on the trail. Heading east then south we did a quick mile of the Forest Way before a relaxing tea stop at The Pantry in Hartfield. With our muscles relaxed and our tans topped up we popped back onto the Forest Way for a couple more miles before taking the Vanguard Way again, northwards back to Hammerwood. I've just discovered an additional benefit of being a ride leader - somebody (was it Aled?) has set up a Strava segment for a small climb here and somehow I've managed to get a "King Of The Mountain" on it, although I may have to pay Mark H for taking out everybody else half way up :-) Graham