Words and photos: Debbie Davies
So the day starts at Barbury Castle car park with Sarah , Caroline, Sharon, Kat, Kaye, Iryda and myself and the usual discussions of what is the best coat to take . We leave those tyre pressure conversations to the men.
An overcast sky greeted us as we set off over the Barbury Fort and on towards Hackpen hill. The first incline saw all the previously discussed coats being shed as the sun started to break through. Yet again a ladies ride was blessed with lovely weather.
There was a brief diversion into the woods at the top of the hill to play on a few of the mini jumps and then it was on towards the promised cake stop.
It was along the byway near Tottendown woods where our good deed of the day was completed and a lost little dog was reunited with her owner. More Miss Marple than Caped Crusader but it was the perfect excuse to recover from the hill climb but we wont tell any one that! Then onwards, with lots of chat in the process, towards Avebury and that cake.
The cafe didn’t disappoint with some great home made baking and refreshments. There was a chance to catch up with more chat and a bit of 4 wheeled play with some very cute tractors. I blame it all on Kat!
The return route picked up some grassy bridleways, that led to some unexpected nettles along the trail. I promise they weren’t there a month ago. We are hardcore though so the complaints were few and only a handful of Dock leaves lost their lives at the end of the trail.
The bridleways through Winterbourne Bassett and Broad Hinton were very dry and quickly completed along with a couple of miles along quiet lanes. It was then back towards the Ridgeway from Uffcott along more Bridleways and some very rutted tracks that caused some hilarity at the back as we tried to find the perfect route …there wasn’t one.
The steepest hill of the ride came at this point and it was a challenge to see who could reach the top still riding. I hadn’t mentioned the fact that the route climbed all the way home and there was more to come. The next hill, up the grass side of Barbury Castle, was where we had our one and only mechanical failure and left Sharon with a non playing bike. Sarah to the rescue with some ‘out of the box’ thinking and we made our slow way back across the last field to the cars and another bit of cake . I did say ‘there may be cake’!
A big Thank You to the Ladies that came and yet again made it a relaxed social ride, nettles aside!