|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Reports from Autumn 2006
Sunday 12 November
A bumper turn-out
Joyce in her new council hi-viz, going under the arch
Entering the new section of the Salterns Way
The Crown and Anchor at Dell Quay at last
View from the garden
Back on the road after lunch
A record 9 bikes in a space officially designated for 2 only
Good thing the train terminated at Chichester!
Bikes were again allowed to be heaped up on the Southern train and we all had a pleasant ride back East with glorious sunset surrounding us. Jim and Janie vowed to return and thanked us all for making them so welcome. They said they enjoyed the little diversions and didn't even mention the sewage farm. So a lovely autumn day of fun and adventure for Joyce, Sue, Tessa, Jeff, Jim, Jim #2, Anne, Mick, Roger, Fred, Janie and many thanks to Ian for organising, leading and planning the ride hope we can do the other half another time.
Sunday 29 October
Having had a streaming cold all week, I got to Saturday evening thinking it was unlikely I would make the ride. However, the extra hour gave me time to bestir myself and I am so glad I wasn't wimpish enough to stay at home. In fact, quite miraculously during the whole ride there were no signs of cough, sore throat nor even fatigue… So there you are – Clarion rides:- the cure for everything!
Neil, Anne, Joyce, Mick, Jim and Jeff
Met up with Anne, Mick, Jeff and Jim at the station – (good to see Jeff and Jim back in the fold ) and Neil, our leader, at Hassocks. It was a glorious autumn day and stayed that way all day, perfect for cycling. Along lovely, quiet Underhill Lane where the abundance of berries this year was noticeable, as was the fact that trees are still very green.
The Downs through Old Man's Beard
Then along (I think) the road to Offham – here there were one or two cars which dared to be on our road …. but it was well worth it for the wonderful views of the valley to the left and the Downs to the right. Back on to wonderfully quiet lanes – it is quite amazing that in crowded East Sussex one can find such oases – then on to what we all agreed was very good food at the Royal Oak in what seemed an unbelievably short time. There the conversation ranged from future planning for B&H to what we should do for the Christmas lunch.
Lunch at the Royal Oak
Waiting to cross the main road on the way back, Neil suddenly turned into action man by leaping off his bike to grab a terrified dog which had slipped its leash and dashed across the road. Quick action – particularly as he first thought it was a deer when he first saw it! The owners were duly grateful… Then via Plumpton Green passing the lovely Streat Church.
Stopping by the church
The bridleway was a bit hairy – great pools of water – Anne and I did our balancing act, but this time managed not to fall in . You have to have one adventure on every ride! On towards Ditchling and tea at the delightful Stoneywish Nature Reserve where we were tempted by the wonderful array of cakes.
Tea, talk and cakes
Arrived at the station in perfect time – except that Jeff, Anne and I somehow got left on the platform! We had split up and hurrying to get to the bike space (like good citizens) the doors suddenly closed. No guard, so the driver presumably didn't know he had left us abandoned (well that's the kindliest interpretation). After the initial shock we wiled away the hour reasonably happily by a combination of cross-word, newspaper and laughing at the thought of Mick's and Jim's faces when they got off at Brighton to discover we had disappeared (actually we didn't let that happened cos Anne phoned Mick…
Charge of the Light Brigade
This was a really great ride – just undulating enough to give some interest and nice downhill runs, but nothing really taxing – almost car free and wonderful views. One definitely to put in the list for a return. Thanks Neil.
Sunday 15 October 2006
[Warning: the text below may contain clichés which you find excruciating]
Fred, Joyce, Marc, Roger and Suzanne started the day well with a lively conversation on Brighton station concourse about how trains no longer had guards'-vans for bikes as this meant wasted energy on trailing empty carriages. We then got on the train to Polegate… and it was trailing four locked carriages. Fortunately this did not make us late at Polegate as Anne and Mick were waiting for us and after the traditional hapless passer-by had been dragooned into taking the official photo, off we set up the Cuckoo trail.
Mick, Fred, Suzanne, Joyce, Roger, Anne and Marc
The autumn sun dappled through the branches as we wended our way northward along the old railway line. An excellent surface made easy riding and as we rode we saw rabbits, woodpeckers, badgers, horses, foxes, cyclists, walkers, mushrooms, berries, bushes and trees – admittedly many of these were depicted in delightful woodcarvings along the way or on the lovely filigree railings of Cattle Creep Bridge but we enjoyed them all, real or artistic. We passed by cool dingly-dells and sunlit rolling fields; we caught a glimpse of lake and rode across a vertiginous embankment built by manual labour some hundred and fifty years ago; under and over graceful brick-built railway bridges and we even whizzed along the abandoned platform of Horam Station. And then back into the car-borne world via a short footpath.
The Cuckoo Trail
Water and view stop
A new bridge over 'steep descent to road'
Sculptural bridge – Anne's photo
We had arrived at the 'Runt in Tun' pub. Lunch in their sunny garden with the view toward the south spread before us was a delightful break. This didn't satisfy Roger who had to challenge anyone in the assembled company to a game of chess. As the pieces were 18 inches high and the board measured 6 foot by 6 foot there was no disguising the fact that he was roundly trounced by Mick.
In the pub garden
Victory for Mick in the first Clarion Chess Challenge
The Runt in Tun
It was all downhill after lunch. We had risen from Polegate (40 metres above sea level) to Heathfield (80 metres above sea level) so we reaped the benefit of what we had sown in the morning as we gracefully glided southward to a welcome cup of tea at the The Old Loom just north of Polegate by-pass.
Joyce approaches tree full of berries (Rowan?)
The Harvesters (appropriate for Autumn) – photo by Anne
It had been a grand cycling day out – for Clarion riders, but for so many more including the many children seen riding on the Cuckoo Trail (thank you National Cycle Network).
Looking down the lane - photo by Anne
We arrived at Polgate station to find a train waiting for us (engineering works can have their silver lining) and a helpful guard. More cyclists were accommodated elsewhere on the train and even more got on at Lewes. Nothing to mar the day. If it wasn't for the yawns, the creaking knees and the rather painful backsides, you would never have known we had all done 21 (and a half, Joyce assures me) miles.
[NB Anne's photos of Fred getting stuck on the childrens' slide in the pub garden, used as a surrogate Tate Modern have been censored! - Fred]
Sunday 1 October
Tessa, Ian and Marilyn at the start of the Cuckoo Trail, southern section
The deserted A22
It looked welcoming at first, the newly laid surface following at a safe distance the almost deserted A22 south towards Hampden Park along Sustrans route 21, but suddenly, without warning we were teleported to Slough, or rather the industrial estates of outer Eastbourne!
At last - the sea
Walking the dog
After crossing several roundabouts and consulting unhelpful signs, we eventually found the sea and headed east towards Sovereign Harbour. Along the coastal cycle path we had the alarming experience of a Dotto train heading straight towards us (something I was not quick enough to photograph). At Pevensey Bay we took a couple of wrong turns, but eventually found the road (marked cul-de-sac) to Norman's Bay. After an incident with an impatient motorist at the only manually operated railway crossing in the UK, we arrived at the popular family pub The Star for lunch, where we were joined by Sue and Terry.
At Norman's Bay level crossing
Tessa, Terry, Marilyn and Sue at lunch
The Star Inn
Afterwards we headed against the wind through the Pevensey Levels on the most direct route to the Cuckoo trail, missing Pevensey Castle this time. Along here we encountered our first shower and stopped to don waterproofs, though the sun was out again within minutes.
Marilyn, Fred, Tessa, Terry, Sue and Ian after lunch
A passing shower
Back on the Cuckoo Trail (northern branch) again, we stopped at the Old Loom Mill for tea and cakes and said goodbye to Terry and Sue who'd left their vehicle at Pevensey Bay. I'd never noticed before but a plaque on the wall said the building had been blown up by a doodlebug brought down by a Tempest in July 1944! With plenty of time, we ambled back to Polegate and Tessa and I got on the train just as the heavens opened! Thanks to Ian for planning another adventurous afternoon.