Well, who said that the summer was over? Who said that the rain had come and it would never stop? Errm, I think that was me…anyway it’s been fantastic weather the last couple of days and the call of the trail was irresistible.
I wanted to do a mammoth journey today but really didn’t have mammoth time to do it. My first stop was to film a video at Watership Down, which was the setting for the book of the same name by Richard Adams, which was later made into an animated film, however my original route to it was blocked due to works, So fortuitously I was able to find a better trail a little bit further on which landed me right in top of it.
The scenery was stunning. I had crystal clear views of Berkshire to the North and Hampshire to the South and yet not a soul in sight again.
I had a quick look of the map then off I went on the trail to find one of the hill top forts that are scattered over the area…and it did not disappoint. Eventually I made my way to the end of the trail, beneath a flyover and managed to cross a dual carriageway to commence the next leg of the day…onto the byways that took me over Wayfarer’s Walk to the West…and what a trial that was to be.
Whilst the weather was amazing, the trail was anything but. It was wet clay surface, rutted to high heaven in others, with tight narrow twisty bits in other places.
The trail runs the whole length of the ridge from Watership Down to Rivar Hill, with a sharp and steep fall on the right, and an undulating plateaux on the left.
The first sign of trouble was a blocked trails which I thought I could ride or jump over after I had packed out the run up to it to create a ramp.
Backing up the bike I knew I had to be committed and had to hit it square on. Well the bike launched into the air but the landing was with a thud, but I managed to keep it upright, which was a blessing.
I continued on, fighting the ruts and offering salutations to occasional dog walkers. When I eventually got it the end of this sector, I found that the way was blocked again.
This time however I thought that I might be able to ride around it after clearing the path. So it turns out that the rear tyre likes to spin freely if the belly of the bike is grounded on something. So I ended up getting off the bike and clawing away at the mud and rotten wood beneath to break free. I even employed the services of my folding space which I had in the top box too.
Suffice to say it worked and I eventually got out, but not before snapped the charging cable in the camera, which it turns out snapped something inside the camera too…and what made it all worse was when I went to put my helmet on, a bloody irate wasp decided to sting my face. Bastard.
So I eventually got back on the trail, feeling a tad tired and in pain but still determined to finish the ride. Well more ruts, a lot more wobbles until I actually came off. Only pride and ego bruised, but it was a hell of an effort to get the bike upright amongst the slimes ruts.
Another few miles later and I reached the end of the trail, swollen face, broken camera, battered body, bike muddied and hopeful that the footage would turn out ok.
What a day, what a ride, what an adventure…but I’ll be thankful of a warm bath and a large whiskey tonight…after I’ve ordered another camera that is.