August - Northiam
Report by Richard
Clem, Verna, Phil and ourselves (Richard & Anne) assembled at Hollyberry Cottage on a slightly cloudy but warm morning. Following teas & coffee we left just before 10:00. First part of the ride was through wooded lanes to Staplecross. Two stops: both chains came off our tandem (who says chains don’t come of Rohlof gears); Phil then decided to throw his tool container into the road.
Then a long gradual ascent to Battle for the tea stop. The cafe was underneath the ramparts of Battle Abbey and was very pleasant in the warm sunshine.
Undulating wooded countryside towards Westfield and then onto the main climb of the day. 700 ft up to the Hastings Country Park. Just one really steep bit otherwise steady. The sun beamed down for the last section so the pause at the top for water was quite welcome, then along the top to the view point. Normally the whole of Romney Marsh is spread before you; unfortunately today there was a slight heat haze. Then followed the steep descent down Battery Hill and onto the coastal plain. The wind was blowing 16 mph from the SW (and I had arranged for the road to be resurfaced!) so it was a fast ride at 28mph along to The Ship, Winchelsea Beach. For a well deserved lunch. The pub owner is a butcher so the Sunday roast was very tasty, unfortunately it was the only day they do not do ham, eggs and chips – sorry Clem.
Easy start after lunch along the shingle banks through the nature reserve; the wind was still behind us so it gave our lunch time to digest. A short stop overlooking Camber Sand, through Rye and then back inland to the ‘mountains’ with a short climb up to Iden. A drop back down onto the Marsh and then onto the ‘Col du Wittersham’. This has a very steep first section then levels out to a more manageable slope then a drop back down to the Marsh followed by a series of small climbs back to Northiam.
Everyone felt as if they had had a ride by the end, 45 miles 2800ft climb, but scenery and weather were superb. Coffee and chocolate cake went down really well.