"And we were flying along!" ADV Weekend in Wiltshire

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Pumpy, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. Pumpy

    Pumpy Exiled Pumpernickel

    Joined:
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    Last weekend saw another of the popular ADV gatherings in Wilcot near Pewsey.

    When Possu (main organiser) and I (assistant organiser) arrived late Friday afternoon, the camp-site at the Golden Swan was already filled up nicely.

    Beefiddler and Desert Rat (Simon1725 on here) discussing the latest orange bling
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    ... while Possu immersed himself immediately in his second-favourite pastime:
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    Bike-stripping seems to radiate some sort of magnetism - from left: Possu, Bill, RickA, Gaz, Timpo, Berin & Simon1725
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    The weather was just glorious and until deep into the night we were enjoying the warm temperatures in the pub's garden - from left (sitting): RickA, WM O'Borneo's back, Wreford Miles, Timpo's back, Simon1725, Dr JM - centre stage: MuddyMatt, Rondini, Ashbabble (completely hidden, sorry, I'm sure you made an effort to look 'nice'...), Beer, Rob (Beer's mate), Short'n'Spikey, Robbie C and Loz
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    Not sure if all of us got enough sleep that night but anyway, everyone was up early and raring to go on Saturday morning.

    Mike F - bet you didn't know that KTM sells crocs, too!
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    Lukasz and Gosia had ridden over from Oxford in the morning
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    We pride ourselves in being open to all user groups: Timpolino, who wasn't riding with us but had come all the way from the Wirral just for the social (!), and Gaz and his better half Derrin, who were exploring the trails without the help of an engine this time
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    The remaining trail riders split into four groups - led by Possu, Beefiddler, Mike F and yours truly - and off we went.

    I think the East Kennett Ridge Way was everybody's first lane of the day - here's Windy on his 990
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    Gosia, Lukasz and my trusty tail-end Bill, also known as the Oxford TRF's chairman
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    We then skirted the West Woods on what we affectionately call the 'Blue Bell Woods Lane', a must-ride every year when said flowers are in bloom.

    I always go through Marlborough to show our visitors from further afield the beautiful historical market square, but this year it was shut due to other festivities, and so our next stop was at the gate of Grassy (in summer not so) Deceptive Lane - Gosia and Lukasz
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    Due to the almost complete absence of slippery mud, we made such good progress through the Poulton Downs, along the Ridgeway and Snap Farm, that I almost forgot to grant my group a break...

    Mind you, Windy and newbies Gosia and Lukasz didn't look as if they needed a breather at all...
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    ... and soon we were saddling up again to tackle the deep ruts that lay in the High Clear Plantation ahead
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    Gosia - trail goddess in the making
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    Only-second-time-out-on-the-lanes hero Lukasz
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    Windy (almost) effortlessly steering his big battleship and Bill sweeping up behind him
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    Through Aldbourne, down the scenic Hilldrop Lane into Ramsbury, on to Froxfield and into Jugg's Wood, one of my favourite places for a P-break... Why is everyone looking down? :scratch
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    On we went to Bagshot, a tiny bit on the A338 to pick up that steep and chalky little gem of a lane into Shalbourne, until we finally reached the Wayfarer's Walk near Rivar Hill.

    Beautiful views...
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    ... and the famous trail heavily overgrown, with foot-deep ruts, the rideable line almost impossible to spot under all that vegetation - what more could we ask for? :evil
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    Well, I'm sure Windy would have asked for a smaller bike but as no one was willing to swap, he kept quiet...
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    Gosia emerging from the undergrowth
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    Lukasz wrestling his new TT600R - or was the bike wrestling him?
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    ... and Bill floating along on his CRF
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    That's what I like about Windy: regardless of any hardship the lanes, the weather or his own bike throw at him, he's always cheerful, sporting a huge smile - and the typical trail-moustache...
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    We could probably earn quite a bit of money as lawn mowers if we fitted scythe blades to our bikes. Maybe the Ramblers Association would be interested in some sort of a deal... :augie
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    Well deserved brake for tail-end Bill
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    ... and for once Gosia looked taller than her husband...
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    The Wayfarer's Walk is a funny lane in terms of Rights of Way status - mostly it's a byway...
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    ... but midway through it changes into a Bridleway
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    Then it's a criminal offence if you ride it with more than two wheels...
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    ... and between Three Legged Cross and the A34 it becomes a fully-blown byway open to all traffic again - seems all a bit random to me... :scratch

    Anyway, bang on time, at a quarter to one, we arrived at our planned lunch stop in Hurstbourne Tarrant
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    Well, yes, it could have been a bit more idyllic - maybe next time we just fill up, buy some provisions and head for a picnic in the woods
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    Bill enjoying a little rest...
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    ... before fiddling with his front suspension (last month it was the rear shock that collapsed - maybe his bike doesn't like Wiltshire after all... :dunno)
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    Bikes and riders replenished, we were looking forward to the next leg of our journey -
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    So far we had been flying along - but would we be able (for the first time ever) to complete the whole route as planned on paper?

    Don't miss the next episode... :ricky
    #1
  2. duibhceK

    duibhceK duibhce Kaelann

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    looks like good times!

    will the weather still be like this in a month?
    #2
  3. Pumpy

    Pumpy Exiled Pumpernickel

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    Of course, Jo, this is England after all... :evil
    #3
  4. Beer

    Beer 950 SE

    Joined:
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    superb weekend - and great tracks - good to catch up with a load of great mates - inc Loz, Timpo, Possu, SERob, Len, Rick and other...had a great laugh both nights and great trails in the day.

    big thanks to Possu for organising it:clap

    looking forward to the next one already.....

    one video:

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    and a few pics:

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    Stonehenge

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    great pub - superb tits on the barmaid as well:D


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    bluebell wood

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    #4
  5. Beer

    Beer 950 SE

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    Kent / Mid Wales
    highlight of the weekend was watching the owner of this leave the pub with the sidecar in the air through both the left and right hand bends

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    fookin classic:rofl
    #5
  6. ElleOn2Wheels

    ElleOn2Wheels Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    59
    Hi, love looking at your ride outs, the trails in the area look great!
    We met at Dazzer's Bunkhouse weekend in the Dales a short while before he and Leigh bounced off on their RTW tour :)
    I'm hoping to get my trail bike down to the Cotswolds and hopefully further south late August so I may pinch a few trail ideas from you nearer the date :D
    Currently working on a van idea as the motolug trailer isn't ideal....
    #6
  7. Pumpy

    Pumpy Exiled Pumpernickel

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    Nice pix, Nick - thanks for posting. The video could be a tad longer... :augie


    Elle, you have a PM. :D
    #7
  8. Possu

    Possu de-nOObed!

    Joined:
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    I'd like to thank everyone for attending, especially those who led the groups (Ela, Mike F & Patrick) and those who tailended the groups.

    Unfortunately I suffered camera failure (partial operator error :D) and have no pics or video's from the weekend. I can say that I really enjoyed putting the weekend together but can't take credit for the excellent weather.

    My group consisted of Robbie C, Barb, Len, Mike (WM O'Borneo) and Muddymatt who acted as tailender now that Clive, the previous holder of that position, has retired from trailriding due to infirmity bought on by old age.

    Saturday's route covered about 130 miles, was mainly to the east of the A346 and took us as far north as West Hagbourne, just south of Didcot in a loop that took us west again towards Wantage and down to Lambourn. There were a few falls, including one for me but without any injuries.

    Sunday saw us west of the A346, riding around the Ridgeway, Avebury, Heddington Steps and then a ride back around Snap Farm, Ramsbury and back to base via Marlborough. The only real fall of the day was Mike on his XR400 who hit a rock and looked to have flown about 20ft or so. He got away with it, only hurting his thumb in the process although it could have been much worse.

    One of the highlights of the weekend for me was Robbie C's admission that he'd recently spent two hours beneath the Bongo although we were under the impression that this was his new pet name for Barb, who was renamed Bongo Barb for the weekend. :D

    I'd like to thank Dave Coupland, landlord of the Golden Swan, his wife Pat and son Calum for looking after us so well, as they seem to do every year. The Golden Swan is in the heart of the Wiltshire trail network and makes an excellent base for a weekend of riding.

    Finally thanks to everyone for their donation to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance. all in, we raised a total of £264.00 which I'll be sending them by cheque very soon. I'll be requesting confirmation of receipt which I'll post up here.
    #8
  9. Pumpy

    Pumpy Exiled Pumpernickel

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    Mmm... I have to say that I preferred his previous girlfriend...
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    #9
  10. Beer

    Beer 950 SE

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    Kent / Mid Wales
    wish i'd caught his exit on video:rofl...next year...
    #10
  11. boboneleg

    boboneleg we can rebuild him.

    Joined:
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    Excellent, don't you just love it when all that tall grass is hiding the ruts :rofl
    #11
  12. Dr JM

    Dr JM Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    A great weekend all round. Cheers Steve & Ela.:clap
    #12
  13. Pumpy

    Pumpy Exiled Pumpernickel

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    Absolutely, Bob, it caught me out on the second day on the aptly named 'Lawn Mower Lane'... :rolleyes

    I come to that later, but now on with the -


    Saturday Afternoon Report

    After Tarrant Hurstbourne we carried on the pick up a little gem in Swampton, a lane that is clearly sign-posted as 'Bridleway' on one end, 'Right of Way' on the other and appears on the OS map as Byway - not one of Hampshire County Council's finest hours...

    Anyway, it is a nice trail with grass, woods, protruding branches and a bit of mud - good fun. We then joined the Unclassified County Road through Stubb's Copse in Wadwick and headed for the A34 via Woodcott, Dunley and Litchfield to pick up the Wayfarer's Walk from the lay-by.

    And here I'd like to apologise to all readers in general for not taking a photo of the entrance for future reference - but especially to avid aeronaut Lukasz for not stopping at the Geoffrey de Havilland memorial a hundred yards into the lane, which commemorates the flight pioneer's very short first flight in his very first aircraft which had taken him two years to build before he crashed it roughly here between Beacon Hill and Seven Barrows back in 1910...
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    Well, I thought the group had stopped anyway despite me skipping the landmark, but it turned out that someone had just needed a little after-lunch siesta... :augie

    Was it Gosia?
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    Or Windy?
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    Couldn't be Lukasz, could it?
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    And Bill looked innocent, too... :dunno
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    They wouldn't tell - and so we carried on to the gate...
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    ... which leads on to the beautiful meadow section
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    Here Bill offered to swap CRFs and this was such a revelation to me - it was a completely different bike!
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    It turned out that the previous owner of my steed had replaced all gaskets with home-carved grommets to lower the compression - presumably to ride trials down in Devon, where the bike was from - which explains a lot: the lack of umph, the eternity it takes to get up to speed, the rough running, the loud engine noise, the oil leaks, the white smoke when closing the throttle, etc, etc. Lucky is who has a personal mechanic at home who makes a top-end engine rebuild sound like a piece of cake... :crash

    Due to the lack of slippyness we were flying along the next sections of the Wayfarer's: the Rabbit Warren, across the A343, the Ox Drove, circumnavigating the Bridleway bit again on tarmac, but then I had some new lanes on the menu: a lovely stony descent from Combe Hill into the village of Combe. I think it was one of Windy's favourites of the day... :hide

    Just imagine the combination of a huge lardy 990, a long first gear, not much of an engine brake, a steep slope, potato-sized rocks, a family with small kids coming up the other way - and you get an idea what Phil had to put up with... But he made it down to the bottom unscathed! :clap
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    Wonder if he's still smiling...?
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    Cheer up, Windy, we are all grateful for a breather!
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    Through Combe, Church Lane and finally on to the narrow and heavily overgrown Heath Lane...
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    ... until we picked up the Wayfarer's Walk again near Buttermere. We rode a short stretch of our morning route in the opposite direction and then continued west over the Rivar Downs
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    Unbelievable - the grass was even higher than last month!
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    Spot the trail riders!
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    What did I say? Stay in the middle rut - the two outer ones are just too much hard work...
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    Finally we all made it to the end of the famous trail - everyone seemingly pleased that the ordeal was over...
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    ... but, alas, little did they know that the next byway on the route was 'Snotty Lane'...

    Would we actually complete the whole loop that day? Without major incidents? With enough time for an ice cream?

    More in the next episode... :D
    #13
  14. Windy

    Windy Been here awhile

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    Great stuff as Always Ela!

    .. and yes I was still smiling, though it might just have been the relief of not mowing down a couple of small children - did I mention I hate going downhill? :D

    Thanks to you and Steve for another great weekend - Great to catch up with everyone, see you all again soon I hope!

    Phil
    #14
  15. Pumpy

    Pumpy Exiled Pumpernickel

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    Well then, 'Snotty Lane' branches off a narrow road in an acute angle, starts with a huge puddle and continues uphill with exceptionally deep and slippery ruts. And until someone cuts a line in the centre I would recommend: stick to the left!

    After riding mostly off-camber through mud, stones and rampant vegetation you may (or may not - I remember one year when not everyone conquered the trail and we had to turn back...) emerge on the relatively flat top of Botley Hill
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    But as you can see, this byway is absolutely suitable for big trailies... :augie
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    ... although it's certainly more enjoyable on a little bike...
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    Isn't that right, Bill?
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    Windy couldn't agree more - would anyone be willing to swap bikes for a couple of lanes?
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    Mmm, not really...
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    The trail then continues through the woods: narrow, twisty, slippery and quite dark - until it suddenly spits you out on the tarmac between Oxenwood and Tidcombe.
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    Again, if you are lucky that is... :evil
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    At that point, nothing could unsettle Windy anymore...
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    Right then, what's next?
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    Yeah, you have probably guessed already - after the fast and easy White Lane to Herridge Stud Farm it was, of course, on to the notorious Brick Lane...
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    Stay in the middle and don't look into the abyss on both sides - easier said than done, especially when it's wet...
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    Fortunately, on this occasion it wasn't and we were almost flying over the bricks once used to grade the byway...
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    Bill decided to take the chicken route along the field - but considering that his front suspension had gone earlier, I think he can be forgiven...
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    Can we go now?
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    On to East Grafton, and as we had made such good progress, there was enough time for a break at Burbage Services for fuel, coffee, ice cream and some lazing on the lawn...
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    Sooo, with (technically) only three and a half lanes to go, we should be able to complete the route, shouldn't we? If nothing unforeseen happened...

    Don't miss the next episode!
    #15
  16. boboneleg

    boboneleg we can rebuild him.

    Joined:
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    Inspired by your report Pumpy I rode up to Newbury on Thursday and rode the trails in the same area. I managed not to drop the bike all day but those hidden ruts were damned hard work in the heat and my speed was very slow.

    A long and hard day (I set off at 05.00) but enjoyable anyway :D

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    #16
  17. Pumpy

    Pumpy Exiled Pumpernickel

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    #17
  18. Pumpy

    Pumpy Exiled Pumpernickel

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    From Burbage we briefly joined the A338 south and then branched off onto the long and fast byway leading over the Crow Down. We reached the boundary of MoD territory again, turned sharply right and explored yet another of those lovely overgrown summer trails...

    Who's this?
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    Ah, Gosia and Lukasz - making life difficult for themselves in the outer rut...
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    A quick 'Heave Ho!' and they both continued in the middle - considerably faster than before. :D

    Left at the Pump House, passing Milton Hill Farm (where the byway is paved - how dare they?!), crossing the road at Down Farm and then entering MoD country proper near the Everleigh Barrows.

    May I just point out that we are all on the same lane?
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    Riding buddies... :D
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    Approaching the gate near Grant's Firs
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    And then we met a lonesome rider who immediately addressed me as "Pumpy?" - it was REM, testing how his F800GS would behave on the trails with all the new luggage fitted
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    Funnily enough, after several years we had just seen him the Thursday before when he graced the Oxford TRF meeting with his visit
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    General approval, yep, the equipment should do nicely for a trail bimble through Spain :thumb
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    We were on the home stretch now and for the first time ever since we started the UK ADV Meetings in April 2007, I managed to complete the whole planned route with a group - it was a fantastic feeling of achievement!

    Still, the greatest reward for a run leader must be when everyone is happy at the end of the day and sports that distinctive big trail riding grin...
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    ... not to forget the moustache, of course!
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    We were the third group back on the campsite and thus still had time to relax a bit before dinner. There is nothing like a good work out on the trails!
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    A man who has it all... :augie
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    Some people come to the Golden Swan only for the Belly of Pork - Gosia is one of them
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    The vegetarian options are not bad either - well, not that Matt would know about it, but Gaz and Derrin do!
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    Berin obviously struggled to look nice (I wonder in whose group he had been riding...) but Mike F and Simon1725 looked like they had had a good day
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    Derrin, Dr JM and Berin (second attempt, slight improvement...)
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    Short'n'Spikey and RobbieC
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    RickA - cheers!
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    WM O'Borneo
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    Windy, still looking a bit ruffled, and Ashbabble
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    And yours truly, Possu and Pumpy
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    Gosia and Lukasz still had to get back to Oxford that evening
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    Well, they are still young and can cope with excessive mileage on and off the trails in one day... :augie
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    We others were glad that we just had to cover the distance between pub and tent. Spirits were high in the Snug Bar...
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    ... and outside (Mike, I hope you are only rolling cigarettes for your mates and not smoking them yourself! :eek1)
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    What other surprises would the Sunday hold?

    To be continued... :D
    #18
  19. bill_qaz

    bill_qaz n00b

    Joined:
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    4
    Thanks Steve for organising a great weekend:rofl & thanks to Ela for leading our group and taking the pictures.
    Regards Tail end Bill
    #19
  20. Pumpy

    Pumpy Exiled Pumpernickel

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    Oops, I should quickly finish this report before the Clogfest this weekend, I suppose...


    Sunday

    Breakfast baps were served in the barn by landlady Pat, who has her own ideas what 'nice' looks like...
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    Beer and Beefiddler were already discussing trails - "and this is when you come out of the woods and the lane goes like this..."
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    Possu and Matt getting ready for their ride while the 'part-timers' watched with a heavy heart - or maybe not...
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    Muddymatt - rarely have our bikes looked so clean on the second day...
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    At first it seemed that no one wanted to ride with me anymore: Gosia and Lukasz had gone home, Jenny hadn't turned up at all, Windy excused himself with being absolutely knackered and the usual requests for an 'easy' ride on the Sunday didn't come forward - I suppose, the dry weather made all the rides fairly 'easy'... :dunno

    In the end, Bill and Patrick took pity on me and the three of us set off to ride my Salisbury Plain - Stonehenge - White Horses - Avebury - Historical route: starting with the muddy track near Little Abbotts, Grant's Firs again, the West Everleigh Down, through the Windward Ball Plantation, over the Marlborough Road onto the chalky byway that leads you into the completely overgrown lanes along the fields towards Oldlands Piggery.

    Into East Everleigh and further grass cutting was on the agenda - Bill at the end of the byway to Lower Everleigh
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    Nobody seems to ride this lane apart from us...
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    Patrick showing us how to mow the lawn in style
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    Gracefully floating down the hill...
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    Three yards before the ditch...
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    ... but as a skilled rider he mastered this obstacle easily and thus I can't provide any embarrassing photos, sorry.

    Bike fiddling on the Plain
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    Bill repositioning his carburettor, which had vibrated out of its seating on the fast bumpy lanes
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    My own CRF needed some encouragement to start by then - little did I know about the underlying issue at the time, but more about that later. Obeying the rule that you shouldn't go trail riding by yourself but take (at least) one or two strong men along really paid off here: Bill and Patrick helped me bump-start my bike on several occasions and off we went again... :bow

    The mandatory tourist pic at Stonehenge
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    Gentlemen who lunch...
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    By the way, also make sure that among the strong men you take is at least one experienced mechanic... :augie Bill had the brilliant idea to check if the battery contacts had come loose - and they had. From then on my CRF started on the button!

    After lunch in Stapleford we kept flying along and exploring some new (to me) permissive byways until big red flags in strategic places like Orcheston and Tilshead put an end to my planned route... :(: After several fruitless attempts, we rode a few miles on the A360 up to Gore Cross and took the right turn that leads you onto the Wessex Rigdeway and the perimeter road around the Westdown Artillery Range.

    Other trail riders seemed to have been caught out by the red flags, too, like this group we met at Redhorn Hill near Urchfront
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    "Ah, Oxford TRF!", I heard someone saying - it was Trevor from the Bristol chapter of the Trail Riders Fellowship, who we had taken out in September 2011. Small world... :D
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    We enjoyed a bit of a much needed break together...
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    ... but couldn't carry on together as our time was limited; we had to cut our route short and head back to Wilcot. And phew, we were back four minutes before the agreed return time, and more importantly, before the Great Organiser... :evil

    We packed up...
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    ... (re)counted the weekend's shenanigans...
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    ... and licked our wounds
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    The start of a tale of woe... (if you want to know more about my CRF's fate, click here).
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    And this wasn't the end of the traumatic experiences that afternoon... :augie
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    Not sure if anyone really wanted to know what Simon was wearing underneath his towel... :eek1
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    And then it was time to say goodbye to our friends, the fantastic trails in Wiltshire and Wilcot
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    A big thank you to everyone who came along and made the weekend such great fun, especially to all the run leaders and tail enders...

    ... and our splendid hosts Dave and Pat at the Golden Swan! :clap
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    We'll be back - in fact we are this weekend. :ricky

    See you all on the trails!

    Ela
    #20