Wyre Camping Weekend
We were not optimistic about the weather for this weekend and although Friday afternoon at the Hopleys Campsite was lovely and warm it did not last over until the Saturday unfortunately.
Richard Barnett arrived on Friday evening so three of us adjourned to the Beer and Pizza tent. The weather however gradually deteriorated overnight with cold wind and rain showers.
Robin Seward arrived in good time on the Saturday which made a total of three MBS riders and three locals from Worcester. Plus Margaret and granddaughter Leah looking after Basecamp.
A short stretch of road and we were into the Wyre Forest and at the top of the Secret Garden run (made famous by a total of 10 punctures on the last MBS visit!). Surprisingly conditions were not too bad considering the number of heavy showers that have hit Worcestershire over the last few days. Dry in places under the trees; but a bit like a skid pan in others and with plenty of muddy holes to catch out the unwary. A slightly roundabout route took us back up to the Visitor Centre and then down The Far Side, a first for MBS riders. We then followed a slightly devious route over to Button Oak and back where Mark Bonnes earned himself the nickname “Mr Rotavator” for his spectacular efforts in a particularly muddy hole. Camber was next up and is well known to MBS although it is now quite well worn and the small bridge at the halfway point has gone. Good fun though and the actual Camber section still demands respect. A short and steep climb followed before Caravan took us all the way along the edge of the Dowles Brook valley, in my opinion some of the best riding in the Forest. This section finishes down a steep drop (Dog Kennel) with numerous options. We chose the easiest line but I still managed a lie down in a dead tree near the bottom! On re-grouping what I thought to be mud on my glasses turned out to be a live slug. Another devious route back out of the Forest, a short road ride and we were back at the campsite, muddy and damp.
A total of 22 miles, 2613 ft climbing, 4 hrs 44 min and in my case over 2000 calories burned. Robin was particularly pleased to visit as he was born in Bewdley but had never ridden here before.
A lengthy clean up and showering session followed and eventually more beer and pizza.
The weather improved slightly for Kinver on the Sunday. Five of us started, Richard and I were joined by Tom Scott and Richard Ford from MBS and my friend Paul Lyons from Kinver. On this occasion the obligatory pre-ride faff also included a brew up in the camper.
Kinver is completely different to the Wyre, very dry and sandy, almost like riding on a beach in some places. We set off over Kinver Edge and started a big loop North towards Stourbridge on bridleways and the odd section of road before entering The Million forest with its unusual sandstone climb out. The tracks here are now quite overgrown now in places with aggressive nettles and brambles. Richard F managed to stab himself in the hand on a thorn going down a very pebbley b/w known locally as Suicide Alley. The route then starts to swing West and South round Stourbridge; but before reaching the outskirts of the town we rode down a fine piece of singletrack where Richard F managed a step to the right and fell over into the brambles – twice. A mixture of sandy Roman road, b/w’s and road took us through Caunsall and back up to Kinver Edge. Offers of a bit of further cheeky exploration round the Edge trails was declined in favour of tea and banjo’s in the small farm shop café at the start point.
Another successful ride in a new location for MBS. 16.7 miles, 1840 ft climbing, just over 3 hrs riding at a very social pace and for me 1200 calories burned.
All in all a successful and worthwhile weekend with excellent company and some good riding in, at times less than perfect conditions.