Russell and Rachel kindly organised the May camping weekend near Calne, Wilts.

We met up on Friday evening at the campsite. We were all together on a large field, with lots of space. Marcus and Michelle welcomed us into their awning - we were glad to get out of the cold.


On Saturday Russell led the ride, of course starting with a climb up Morgan's Hill, heading for morning coffee at Devizes, next to the Kennet and Avon Canal. We dropped down along side the amazing flight of locks, then headed through Poulshot, Keevil and Semington to reach Melksham for lunch at the Weatherspoon's. Here Liz had a second go at fixing the puncture that first appeared just after we left the Caen Hill locks. Turned out Dave just missed the hole when applying the patch - sorry Liz!

After lunch we headed up to the picturesque village of Lacock, with its famous abbey, and the answer to one of the Cyclequest questions. We then headed for Chippenham, where the traffic was rather busy. Leaving Chippenham on the old A4 - much quieter than the new one - some cheerful kids started to race us. Ian and Jo took on the challenge, and of course won - shame they were then so far ahead of us they missed the left turn!

We picked up cycle route 403 which took us back to Calne along a disused railway line, through woods full of bluebells and wild garlic. A lovely ride.

After stocking up with supplies at the rather odd Co-Op, we headed back to the campsite accompanied by a short rain shower.

In the evening, after eating we all gathered in Michelle and Marcus's caravan for a great evening. Unfortunately it was too cold to sit in the awning and everyone gradually congregated inside the 'van. There was some concern over the weight load of 14 persons crammed in at one end!


Neil and Tamara visiting from the USA planned to ride on Tim's tandem, which he had kindly lent out, however their ride was aborted at the first speed bump in the campsite when the steerer's handlebars turned in the stem. Tightening up proved impossible, so Neil took to the solo again and caught us up at coffee.

Sunday's ride picked up cycle route 403 again to head east through some lovely lanes and tracks to reach Avebury for coffee.

After a short walk to see the stone circle we headed out alongside the Stone Avenue then followed the lanes to the south of the Kennet to reach Marlborough, passing through the grounds of the private school.

Lunch was in a pub specialising in pies, rather good if a little slow arriving. After lunch we retraced our steps slighly, again passing by the School, complete with helicopter presumably belonging to visiting parents. The road up past West Woods was suprisingly busy - it turned out there was an event on to view the bluebells and raise money for the Lions. We stopped at the top of the hill above Wootton Rivers to admire the far reaching views before dropping rapidly down and heading towards Devizes on a rather tedious road with a nagging headwind. Some stopped off to collect another answer to a Cyclequest question.

The climb up through Bishops Cannings proved to be tough, but not as bad as expected, while the descent the other side was great.

Back at the campsite we gathered round outside Russell and Rachels caravan for a barbecue.


Unusually most decided to avoid the traffic and leave early: Ian and Jo because they had a long way to go, Dave and Caroline as Dave's shoulder was aching, Liz and Ken as they were heading south to celebrate Ken's birthday on the Tuesday, Mark and Liz had already departed the previuos evening as Liz had to be at work in the afternoon, Russell, Rachel, Neil and Tamara as they had to return because Neil and Tamara were flying back early the next day, leaving just Michelle and Marcus wondering whether to do a ride on their own or not.

Many thanks to Russell and Rachel for organising the weekend, and to Liz for sorting out the route on Saturday.

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