|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Dear fellow members and friends
22 January 2008
With Burns Night coming up on Friday it seems, the poet's address to 'Mousie' seems all too appropriate
Well, that might be going a bit far – I hope my alternative proposal (below) will avoid grief and pain. But what on earth is Ian talking about now?
The next ride on 3 Feb was planned to be one of Jim's. But earlier in the week I got an email from him:
Poor Jim, with those wet and cold feet! So, that scheme went agley.
Next Leon leapt nobly into the breach with a ride based on Burgess Hill station, but on that route we seem to be in replacement bus territory. So, I've come up with something not very original but a slight variation on some we've done before.
Talking of future rides I can now confirm the provisional dates for the rest of the year. As and when we get volunteers to organise rides I'll pop their names in after the relevant date so prospective ride planners can see what's still available
Here are the dates: 3, 17 Feb; 2, 16, 30 March; 13, 27 April; 11, 25 May ; 8, 22 June; 6, 20 July, 3, 17, 31 Aug; 14, 28 Sept, 12 Oct, 2, 16, 30 Nov, 14 Dec.
I'm definitely going to be away on 30 March; Leon is looking at possibilities then but is there anyone else with a definite proposal? (Please make sure to research train availability – one needs to check the 'details' on the website to make sure it's a 'train' and not a 'replacement bus'.)
Isle of Wight: I've had a letter from Brian (Hutton). He writes:-
Brian goes on to tell a really good tale from his racing days. You'll find it at the end of this circular, after the report of Sunday's ride. [Note to Fred – Please put it on the 'history' page at a later stage.]
The Next Ride
Sunday 3 February 2008
We're heading for the Star at Normans Bay. Since this is a popular pub for lunch on Sundays I'm planning for us to get there around noon – like we did at the Cricketers a couple of weeks ago – before it gets excessively busy. So we'll take a fairly direct route – dipping into the Cuckoo Trail then immediately out and over the by-pass on the parallel path, then down through Rickney etc.
Then, especially if we also leave fairly early as we did at Berwick (and depending on the weather and how we feel on the day) we can take a more meandering route back - over the railway line, past the Martello tower, and on to Pevensey Bay then through the grounds of Pevensey Castle and then just down the road we can pick up the bridleway (the route of the '1066 Country Walk') for a couple of miles. But if this looks dodgy on the day there's an easy road alternative without adding to the distance.
Either way, back through Hankham and Glynleigh joining the Cuckoo Trail at Summer Hill as we've often done before with the option (again, depending on the weather and how we feel on the day plus whether there's time before the train).
Catch 10.20 from Brighton Station or meet at Polegate Station at 10.49. Return trains at 15.42 and 16.02.
Points of Interest
The Pub Brigid Chapman's East Sussex Inns has this to say:-
Good job we don't need a respectable citizen to vouch for us. And we'd better look out for those Coastguards; they sound even fiercer than those 'chuggers' we met that time on the Cuckoo Trail!
Talk of smuggling and the Sussex Wealden Iron industry reminds me of other features of this ride. We shall see examples of no less than three separate coastal defence systems from periods of time widely separated from each other. Anderida, the huge Roman fort dates from about 290 AD. It was one of a series of Saxon Shore forts which seem to have been an effective guard against Germanic invasion until after the legions withdrew. Best part of a millennium later, after 1066 a Norman castle was built in one corner of the fort – again part of a series of fortifications guarding the shore.
At the time of the Spanish Armada of 1588 a gun emplacement was put in and during World War II machine gun posts and accommodation for troups. Some pill boxes remain.
In the early 19th century - 1803-4 when Napoleon I's invasion army was building up near Boulogne there were the Martello towers. If you want to know more about them there's an excellent website www.martello-towers.co.uk which is where I pinched the following information from about the one we pass.
This low-level tower has survived whilst its neighbours in both directions have been washed away,despite being in a precarious position in 1873. It stands boarded up on the shingle at Norman's Bay and has mostly been unoccupied since the Second World War.
Along with Tower 54, it supported the gun battery situated between them at Rockhouse Bank. In 1820, the tower was fitted with a semaphore machine to enable messages to be sent, and was known locally as the 'Semaphore Tower.' The other towers also fitted with machines were numbers 31 between Bexhill and Hastings, 27 at Dymchurch, and number 4 at Folkestone.
On January 4, 1819, Blockade man John Aston was on duty near the tower, and at about 4 a.m.went to investigate a vessel he had spotted coming close to the shore. He was subsequently attacked by smugglers, but four other officers came to his aid, and despite attacks with sticks and stones being made against them, managed to seize the boat and the smuggled spirits.
The tower was later used by a Mr. A.T.M. Johnson in connection with experiments with a system of wireless telegraphy which he had invented. Having been a professor of music, Johnson's invention revolved around the tuning device he had developed which consisted of a metallic reed. The reed was the subject of a patent and Johnson subsequently formed a company in 1905 and applied to the Postmaster General for a licence. He did this in conjunction with an Eastbourne solicitor, Mr. Walter J. Wenham, son of Alderman J.T. Wenham who owned Tower 55, and was responsible for the destruction of Towers 59, 68 and possibly 63. The syndicate conducted all their experiments in the tower for a year, when the Eastbourne Gazette of November, 7, 1906 announced that "The American and Canadian rights of the Johnson Secret Wireless Telegraphy Syndicate have been sold to an American for two hundred thousand pounds."
The tower was put up for auction as well as Tower 57 in August 1908, but was withdrawn after failing to reach its reserve price, bidding reaching £500. The tower was said to be elaborately fitted after its use in the wireless experiments. However, the tower had become a summer residence by 1910, a balcony added to the seaward side,and extra doors and windows knocked through. Used by a Mr. Cave, his son was in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and served with Commander Hilary Mead, who compiled the first historical survey of the surviving Martello Towers of England in 1948.
An additional concrete roof was added in 1940, the 32-pounder cannon being dismounted. The tower may have briefly been used as a residence again since the war.
Apart from flaking stucco, and the chimney pot balanced at a dubious angle, the tower seems to be in reasonable condition, and is safe from the sea for the time being. A photograph shows that at least two original partitions are still in place with a floor that looks original.
In 1999, Tower 55 was sold for habitation, and was auctioned in April 2004 with a guide price ranging between £130,000 and £150,000 - see BBC News. The tower fetched £285,000.
So there you have it!
The Last Ride - Joyce's Report
20 January 2008
On what was promising to be a blustery day with ominous black clouds, 6 of us – Roger our leader, Suzanne, Fred, Richard, Jim and myself met at Brighton station, to be joined at Worthing by Mick and Ann. Noting and regretting the absence of Leon we assumed it was because there were no trains between Brighton & Haywards Heath (although one member expected him to cycle it!).
The start at Worthing station
On the train we noted with apprehension Suzanne's report that 22mph winds were forecast coming from the west – and we were heading west! At Worthing some talk about whether the route could be reversed, but, in the glow of the start of a ride, we decided to be hardy and carry on through Worthing (not the most cycle friendly place by the way: cycling forbidden on the seafront esplanade, no cycle lanes, except for one of those "now you see me now you don't" affairs).
Worthing's Spanish quarter
Goring is boring!
So along the seafront we went, battling against that fierce un-remitting west wind, envying the seagulls effortlessly riding it and with the accompaniment of the sails of the sea surfers and kites, themselves like great birds, Shelley said it:" Wild spirit, which art moving everywhere, Destroyer and preserver ..." (Ode to the West Wind).
Police investigate wood theft
Jim and Mick check out the timber
Mick with contraband timber - Jim's photo
Jim being a rebel
All the way along the beach we saw timber from the wreck of the Ice Prince, less no doubt than Saturday, but still receiving the attention of the "beachcombers", from the van load to the couple carrying two boards on their heads, with apparently little attention from the authorities – one almost expected to see a cyclist with boards strapped on (it is true that Fred did pick up a "memento", but small enough to go in his bag). But what a relief to turn inland out of the full rage of that wind... into Bungalow Land, followed by Garden Centre Land, and then, outside Angmering into an extraordinary vast new estate, with apparently no shops, the nearest school a couple of miles away (where do the little ones go ?). This ride was turning out to be a course in social/geography and opening up for me an entirely new vista on Sussex.
Riding through the 'Bramble Green' urbanisation
Giant greenhouse - what do they grow in there?
Lunch at the Lamb
Exterior of The Lamb Inn at Angmering
Finally – Joy! into Angmering, a pleasant little village, and the Lamb pub where the welcome and the food were excellent. After a delicious lunch we continued our social research, this time through a series of private estates (with gates!). I remarked on the fact that, whilst there were plenty of Velux windows, nowhere in all these posh houses was there any sign of solar energy of any sort. I suppose they have no need to worry about the cost of heating these vast houses, and people who have three cars in their drives are perhaps not going to worry about climate change...
Nice segregated cycle lane out of Angmering
Jim takes a detour
The East Beach Cafe
Kite surfers - Jim's photo
Back to the struggle against the wind along the coast to the East Beach Cafe, which rusty metal or not I liked. But it was full so we decided to continue to the Harbour Lights for tea and cakes before the train, where we flopped with that satisfied exhaustion of real work (only 17 miles but it felt like 30, who says the Clarionets are wimps ! !) . A fascinating ride, thank you Roger. And the last cheering word from Shelley on the West Wind: "The trumpet of prophecy! O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
Fred carries off a souvenir - Jim's photo
[More and bigger photos on Flickr]
'Robbed!' Brian's Isle of Wight Tale
Visiting the IOW brings back cycling memories for me. In 1959 I rode in the lsle of Wight Grand Prix, a major race of about 65 miles which did one lap of the island. I went across on the ferry with Bill Lievesley, a top rider from Yorkshire who had joined my Brighton club. We arrived early and I suggested checking the finish out. The programme said 'climb Wootton Bridge hill, turn left at the top, and finish 200 yards down the road'.
At the foot of the hill there was a large garage and petrol station with flags flying from the roof so this made an excellent place to look out for. Bill and I were in the front group of about ten riders as we saw the garage. Bill immediately launched an attack and I took his wheel. At the top of the hill we were still first and second - We expected to see the yellow flag with 200 yards to go on the corner at the top but there was just one marshal there.
We sprinted down the road for 200yds but then saw the yellow flag and the crowd. We passed the flag, where the finish should have been, still first and second but although Bill managed to hold on to win I blew up with about 5O yards to go and ended up 7th. We argued that the info was misleading but it was too late to do anything about it and so the club was denied a first and second place.
Thanks, Brian. Another great story. Keep them coming!