Well here we go again with an early start at Daves to meet Stubbsy. I’m met with an eery silance as everyone is just a bit apprehensive. Especially young Stubbsy as it’s his first tour. We have a quick photo-shoot and then we’re off to meet Bingo at Longage (Lyminge).
We soon met Bingo and with a quick hello we are off with Garmins buzzing like crazy as all of us are out of practise. It should be impossible to get lost in Kent and the plan is to head for Tenterden and then check where we have to go from there.
We even met a few lost sheep along the way making us feel like we are in Wales already.
It’s a lovely ride and we are soon at Tenterden for a little coffee stop. We reset the Garmins and off we go.
Guess what I was the first to get lost! Who said “It’s impossible to get lost in Kent”. I’m distracted by a junction pub but after 10 mins I’m back on line to meet up with the rest to the chorus. “How the xxxx did you get to Japan?”.
With a cheeky smile and word to myself I was reminded that if it weren’t for Linny I’d still be riding around Ukraine!
From here we then had really good 20 odd mile along an old railway line with superb riding.
[this is the Forest Way which follows the old TunbridgeWellss/East Grinstead/Three Bridges railway line closed in the Beeching cuts of 1967. Plans are to link this to the Cuckoo Trail at Groombridge. This follows another old railway line south to Eastbourne].
This line follows the upper Medway valley, through the High Weald and passes close to Ashdown Forest made famous by A.A.Milne and Winnie the Pooh. No time for Pooh-Sticks though. All of us really enjoyed the track and it went a lot further than we thought.
After that we stopped for a little food at East Grinstead and then carried on to Crawley.
The urban sprawl outside Crawley was boring and in the end we crossed and re-crossed the M23 three times! As a bonus we went through a woodyard so that at least kept Dave entertained.
We cracked on until Horsham and had dinner in a Western themed pub. It was a bit strange but the food was very welcome and naturally we had a few beers.
Then we ambled the last few miles on to the first camp. It’s a nice spot but I made school boy error : I should have checked how the tent went up before this! Eventually got it up but then I couldn’t figure out how to open it to get in!
All good in the end. Sadly we had no beer! Dry tour this year. [Ed: who’s he kidding?]