AAARTY

The route

The route

To help motivate myself to keep riding through the winter months I have selected 2 Audax challenges.  One is to ride a Randonnee every month (RRTY) and the other is to gather some Audax Altitude Award points. It is quite easy to combine AAA points into the RRTY on the long summer days. I am not experienced at riding in the dark so for now I am choosing 200k routes with less elevation so I ride them quicker and keep riding in the dark to a minimum.

This ride was to get December’s Altitude points and was over the shortest distance allowed – 100k. I(Audax is after all a long distance cycling Club) I live at sea level in West Dorset so it’s not difficult to find hills. For this ride I went north to Shipton Gorge and then up Eggardon Hil. Then followed a big downhill freewheel to Maiden Newton. This pattern followed over Break Heart Hill and a freewheel down to the ford at Sydling St. Nicholas.

The ford at Sydling St Nicholas

The ford at Sydling St Nicholas

Next up Hog Hill to Dickley Down before the freewheel down to Cerne Abbas.

Up steeply once again to cross the Old Sherborne Road before freewheeling into the Piddle Valley at Piddletrenthide.

That was the end of the proper big hills for a few kilometres and we followed the undulating lane to Cheselbourne, and on to Ansty.  It was a still a little early to stop at the pub but it was tempting.

The lovely Fox Inn at Ansty

The lovely Fox Inn at Ansty

The main objective, to gain precious metres of elevation, was Bulbarrow Hill.  Bulbarrow  isn’t the highest hill in Dorset, that accolade belongs to Lewesdon, but it is the highest paved road in Dorset, at 270 metres. The hill overlooks the Blackmore Vale, and offers views of Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Devon.

Bulbarrow Hill

Bulbarrow Hill

More freewheeling followed, all the way down to Okeford Fitzpaine – although I did have to turn the pedals at Belchalwell Street. Here the lovely St Aldelms Church stands out on a small hill – seemingly in the middle of nowhere.St Aldelms Church at Belchalwell

Okeford Fitzpaine was listed in the Doomsday Book and is very picturesque with no less the 55 of the cottages in the village being listed buildings.  I was more interested in the fuel the village shop had to offer but had time to admire the green telephone Box (also listed)

Green telephone box at Okeford Fitzpaine

Green telephone box at Okeford Fitzpaine

and the fine telegram sign.

Telephone sign at Okeford Fitzpaine

Telephone sign at Okeford Fitzpaine

Soon it was time to retrace back up Bulbarrow.  The day had been quite warm and bright so far but I could see a large shower tracking across the scarp of the North Dorset Downs and reached for my jacket as the rain began to fall with a plummet in temperature.

Deteriorating weather

Deteriorating weather

The North Dorset Cycleway  (Route 253) passes over Bulbarrow.

Cycle route 253 at Bulbarrow

Cycle route 253 at Bulbarrow

Once again it was a long freewheel down through the lovely woods at Delcombe to the picturesque village at Milton Abbas – an early forerunner of Milton Keynes.  It was rather grey and damp today but there were still plenty of tourists. On the lane down to Milborne St Andrew we passed Hewish Farm with its large flock of geese.

Geese at Hewish Farm

Geese at Hewish Farm

Michael Coleman became a goose farmer almost by accident when he was given three birds to look after. 35 years later his flock has grown to several hundred and he now has a thriving business supplying birds for the Christmas table. After Christmas the field falls silent until the spring. Then the new chicks arrive to make up the following year’s flock and the cycle starts all over again.

The next twenty kilometres were relatively flat and we made our way along the Piddle Valley through Tolpuddle

Tolpuddle

Tolpuddle

and stopped at the village shop at Puddletown where there is a wonderful range of pies, slices and pasties. Just what was required. They also have Peanut Butter Chunky Kit Kats – my current chocolate bar of choice. I followed the route of the old A35 through Troy Town and then up through Dorchester and down to Martinstown. Then followed the next big hill up onto Black Down the site of the Hardy Monument

The Hardy Monument

The Hardy Monument

with fine views down to Portland.

Views to Portland

Views to Portland

I had a choice now – down into Abbotsbury and up the 17% kilometre of Abbotsbury Hill or take Cycle Route 2 down the Bredy Valley to Burton Bradstock and home.

Home (well, 200 metres from home!)

Home (well, 200 metres from home!)

I opted for the latter. Winter riding is tough – and 114k and 1980m of elevation was quite enough.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “AAARTY

    1. Barbara

      Thanks Tim. I’ll have a look at the perm list to see if there is a 50k close by. I enjoyed a 100k circuit from Bristol a couple of weeks back that went to Stroud. A very nice area to ride.
      I hope this mild weather continues. Its good to be able to get out on the bike without fear of icy roads.

      Reply
  1. Pingback: The Big One | Old Bat On A Bike.

  2. Pingback: The Sport of Ageing | Old Bat On A Bike.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s