Saturday, 3 October 2015

Ooops! Must Try Harder…

By Colin Morgan
Friday, October 16, 2015 - 17:18
colin morgan's picture

Having led a ride round this same route a couple of years ago, I appear to have suffered from a smidge of lackadaisicality this time round. 15 old friends set off from Leigh on a misty morning with great expectations of the sunshine to come later. A mile later I was a tad premature with the turning onto the first bridleway, turned too early and took us all into some rich bloke’s big driveway. This was the first of only 3 (slightly) wrong turns, but RCC mtb riders are very demanding in their expectations. Oops, a slight wrong turn thru Reffolds Copse and the murmurations continued (“He’s looking at the GPS wrong” etc). Thru the cow field I struck a deal with a local dog-walker – he’d hold the gate open for us if we’d clear the field of cows so’s he could walk his little dog safely. Little did I know the cows were in on the ruse, as they all tried to follow us out of the gate on the other side of the field, much to the concern of some of our less intrepid group members (see pic of Cheryl being very brave, once on the safe side of the gate). Just past Holmwood, we took the right fork, but with more lackadaisicality I failed to leave a marker, and managed to lose 3 of our group who took the left fork. Oops again. I set off to look for them, but fortunately they found me before I got lost too. From Coldharbour I took the “less traditional” route to Leith Hill Tower, being much longer to keep the mileage up and including a very nice road down-hill much appreciated by Colin. The steady climb thru Abinger Bottom and Wotton Common avoided steeper paths and gave me the opportunity to (accidentally) vary my route to the tower (don’t think I’ve ever managed to do it the same way twice!) By 11:45, the mist was still obscuring not only the sun, but also the views from our hilltop tea stop. Still the substantial selection of hot food (a beef and ale pasty) made up for that. Sadly, my route had been prepared about 3 years ago and therefore didn’t include the wonderful new section of Summer Lightning, but I don’t think anybody else noticed J (note to Dave – please send me the gpx). On the way back thru Redlands Wood my continued lackadaisicalty was observed by Colin and Dave who nevertheless enjoyed my inclusion of some cracking fire road descents. I was pleased not to lose anybody on the long straight bridleway back towards Leigh. A lovely sociable ride with loads of banter, fine weather, followed by a couple of pints at the The Plough. Perfick!