Sunday, 14 September 2014

A trip to Norfolk and badgers at the window!

Two weeks from September 1st

It took me several days to recover from the ‘Beast run’ I was still disappointed with my time for the race, but I did manage two 3.1 mile runs round the town in the week, one at quite a fast pace 9.02 min miles. I have entered the Minehead Exmoor Stumble in October, I need to keep up the miles with more hills as the event is an up and down race.
That week I also managed a great day out with the Blackmore Vale CTC group, I met them at Mapperton Gardens for coffee and cake after a 15 mile ride down through Beaminster on a very misty morning, I did put my rear light on to ensure I was seen!!. The tea and coffee and walnut cake  went down well, the sun now putting in an appearance, burning off the mist, very nice tea gardens and well worth a visit. From there we made our way through the lanes to Axminster taking in Melplash, Salway Ash before several very steep hills around the great named villages of Whitchurch Canonicorum, and Wooten Fitzpaine these hills showed up on my Garmin as 18%. We picked up Cookes Lane that led us into Axminster where we had a very pleasant lunch in the ‘Arts Café’ garden.
The group the headed back towards Chard via Chardstock and a very ‘lumpy’ route back to Yeovil, I said goodbye at Chard to make my way home, I did 45 miles but the group did 65 miles, and many feet of climbing. A really good ride in great weather, really good views across Dorset on the quiet back roads.

Sunday the 7th saw us driving across the country to Norfolk for a few days away in the van. It is an area I had not visited before so we knew nothing of the area. We arrived in Cromer after a 300 mile 7 hour drive at the ‘Incleboro Fields’  caravan club site, it was very, very busy and we did struggle to find a decent pitch, and finally pitched in the trees, not the best of pitches but we decided we would look for a better pitch in the morning.
After finding a new pitch the next morning, more in the open, and  more level, we walked the couple of miles into Cromer, through the pretty village of East Runton,  with its typical Norfolk cottages, the front at Cromer with its pier was a wonderful example of a holiday resort, there were plenty of people around, enjoying a late break. We were able to climb the tower of Cromer Parish church 50 metres above the town, a very steep stone stair case with restricted passing places led to the top, providing stunning views of Cromer and the surrounding area, well worth the £1.50 entrance fee. The sunshine was warm, but a chill easterly breeze kept the temperature down.

View north from the church tower over Cromer

View South from the church tower over Cromer 

We spent the other days visiting Sheringham, Wells next the Sea, Great Yarmouth with its huge ‘fun parks’. We managed to catch the train from the West Runton, next to the campsite to Norwich, a very pleasant trip showing the best of the Norfolk countryside, the Broads, and showing its not quite as flat as I imagined. It was good to see the fields full of crops, compared to the fields around our home county, which are given over to raising cattle.
The site was a well laid out site on different levels,  with toilet blocks for each, spotlessly clean, the van was very comfortable and warm.
The four day trip passed all too quickly, and Thursday saw us driving back across country, calling at the ‘Shopping village at Bicester’ where there were crowds of people buying from the expensive designer outlets.
No running whilst away, even though I took my kit I decided to be lazy and give myself a rest.
We continued our ‘mini break’ with a usual run down to Sidmouth on the Friday, with a visit to the ‘White Horse café’, noticeably the wind was warmer and sitting on the beach with our coffee was very warm in the Autumn sunshine. Friday also saw me getting a few miles in [30 miles] on my bike.

Another first on Saturday was the visit by badgers in the evening  to our French window doors, eating cake we put out earlier. We had long seen evidence of badgers on the garden where they had foraged for worms and bugs by digging up my lawn [joining the squirrels] I put out a few peanuts and turned on the outside lights in case they returned, they did, two this time hoovering up the nuts I had put out, beautiful creatures so close.

Sunday the 14th September
A ‘Peleton’ of 4 set off on a circular  ride starting with the alpine like climb up through Yarcombe on a misty, damp, but warm morning. We met the A303 which for a Sunday was quite busy, before branching off towards Farway and the quieter lanes, it was nice riding along the ridge, good road surface gave us a chance to set a good pace. Great views either side of the ridge. We soon hit the A3052 and turned towards Beer/Seaton before turning to Colyton past Morgan Hayes caravan site. A really long descent took us down to Colyton, and chance for a snack whilst looking in Soans cycles shop window. Colyton is a busy little place with nice cottages etc. We were soon climbing the 15% hill to get over to Whitford, Andy struggled a little having not ridden for a while, at least he had gears this time, he normally rides single speed. The sun continued to try to break through the clouds without success, giving us a continuing dull but warm ride.
After Whitford we followed the River Axe for a short time before another 15% short sharp hill up to Kilmington and the busy A35 to Axminster. Up through Axminster, fighting with the traffic through the town before dropping down to Weycroft mill and a left turn through Smallridge and All Saints, we were glad to leave the traffic behind. A rolling route round the pleasant, but narrow lanes led us to a steep downhill with some large potholes, before the final steep last climb of the day up to Chardstock, another 15%+ climb. The lanes back through Hook and Burridge were quite, grass growing in the middle gives some idea of usage, open gates with newly mown hay or cereal crops were much in evidence.  Before finally getting to Chard, much to the relief of Andy – 39 miles covered with 3000ft of climbing, and over 2500 calories used.  A fantastic ride over some lovely countryside and through narrow lanes, mostly with good surfaces. Some good climbs that were not to challenging [except for Andy]. The sun finally came out when free wheeling back down the lane to home. Mrs B had been busy making some nice tomato and lentil soup and cheese muffins for lunch. The fine weather continues! great if it went on till the end of the month.
Back to Bikeability this week after the summer break, I think its forecast to rain on both days!!

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