Ride by Rachel and Russell

*****Report by Rachel and Russell

Not having had much opportunity to check out the ride since the arrival of the autumn gales, we set off in reasonable conditions with fingers crossed and a firm hope that Saturday’s torrential rain wouldn’t have caused too many problems with the route. The first loop took us out through the backstreets of Farnborough, nipping smartly across a couple of unmanned level crossings, towards Pirbright ranges, up Tunnel Hill and a long, curving descent back to Ash Vale. Unfortunately, a road closure in Ash, due to Remembrance Sunday parades, meant a detour from the route but with no added miles we reached the coffee stop at Manor Farm Café in Seale in reasonable time. There waiting for us were Helen and Brian and Helen, bringing us up to 5 1/2 tandems. Brian and Helen joined us for the few miles to Tilford, warning us as they left that the ford at Frensham (Ford? Oh, THAT ford!) had been at axle height a couple of weeks previously. No worries, we thought, there’s a walkway alongside. As we trundled along the road to Frensham Little Pond a couple of riders came towards us shouting “impassable!” but being intrepid tandemists, on we went. And what did we find? Three recovery vehicles, a Ford with a flooded engine and flooded ford with its walkway under water. Verna came to the rescue and found a soggy but passable track through the bushes so, only slightly wetter, off we went again, skirting Frensham Great Pond, neatly avoiding a swan and a covert of coots, up to Mellow Farm, through the cutting, and then to lunch at The Jolly Farmer at Blacknest.

Fed and watered, we climbed from Bentley to the highest point of the ride, with views across to the South Downs, then down again to Crondall and Crookham Village where Ken and Liz left us. The last few miles took us along slippery paths to Fleet, around Fleet Pond and through Southwood Woods back to Farnborough. Rattling over the cobbles, we crossed the airfield back for well-earned tea and cake.

Just over 42 miles and 1960ft of climbing

Making our way around the ford - Photo by Russell

Made it! - Made it!

S&S TC Nov 15 - To download click on the link and choose Save Target As

Unmaned railway crossing #2 - Photo by Dave

At coffee in Seale - Photo by dave

The nettles stung! - Photo by Dave

Trying to guess the route - Photo by Dave

Ken waits patiently - Photo by Dave

Ready! - Photo by Dave

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