Friday, May 26, 2006

Silchester/Calleva II

More Pics, hope of interest.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


It's never too late to learn.

Silchester A/B ride 24th May 06

Here are some pictures to add to Julian's excellent report. Hope to add more later.

C Group—24 May

From 'C' group at Hersham, indomitable Albert reports squally showers and a fair bit of sun. According to my list, which I have just re-checked, Tom was to lead us, but everyone was adamant it was Ron who did the honours and thirteen of us left en route for the Old Plough at Stoke D`Abernon. We were Lynda, Beryl, Bill, Roger, Mark, Phil, Dennis and Fuzz plus one who was new to me named Tony. (Two short I know, but there we go again!). There was a fair old bit of mud on the way but we emerged on the Stoke Road from Fairmile Lane close to our destination. Six of us had lunch at the pub, but afterwards I made a beeline down the Stoke Road to Cobham and home. I'll miss you all next week as I have visitors but look forward getting out to Cobham in a couple of weeks.

Regards, Albert

Iter ad Callevam—24 May (die IX ante Kal. Iun.)

Fifteen of us made our way to Fleet by train, bike, motor-home and car for Vic's annual tour to the abandoned Roman town of Silchester (Calleva). Lining up outside the cafe by the station were: Vic, Pam, Ed, Rob, Brian S, Bob, Robin, Ray, Phil, Norman, Les, John S, Steve, Julian and (newly re-released from teaching and hoping to come out on many more Wednesdays) Brian Nixon.

Brian S had mended a puncture on arrival. Setting off into a stiff westerly wind, we rode alongside the railway line (where Brian had a second puncture) and briefly on the main road towards Hartley Wintney, before ignoring advice from a road mender and going down a closed road full of potholes and bumps, but enjoyably free of traffic. At Phoenix Green, Phil went on ahead, the heavens opened and Brian had his third puncture and was red-carded for time wasting, cycling 44m home alone via Pirbright. The rain eased and we continued, dodging showers, through some lovely lanes bordered by cow parsley, skirting the Duke of Wellington's park and long stretches of Silchester's roman wall to the Calleva Arms for lunch--good beer and food--where Ed dealt with a slow puncture.

The landlady told us that the small museum at Silchester is now closed, so after lunch Vic showed us the amphitheatre, the long line of wall still visible from the Silchester churchyard and, a little further on, the biggest remaining section of wall. At this point Phil rejoined us, having come via the Duke of Wellington's monument, and we met another group of cyclists from the Reading area (one of whom--Brian Morris--said he was an ex-CTC chairman) and stopped for a chat. Vic's last call was at Bramley church to see the grave of Ilse Meitner--an Austrian nuclear physicist who told Rutherford that his data showed that he had indeed split the atom--ancient murals of St Christopher and St Thomas à Beckett, saved by whitewash from the depredations of the Civil War, and a note about the enormous ammunition store that had been on the outskirts of Bramley during two world wars until the 1970s. By now it was past four o'clock and we decided to skip tea and make straight for Fleet station. The rain held off and the wind helped us along to the end of a highly enjoyable and instructive day.

The artefacts excavated from Silchester are now all in a museum in the middle of Reading. Vic would be happy to lead a ride there, starting from Twyford if enough people can get to the starting point. Twyford is on the line out of Paddington and is about five miles from Winnersh, which is on lines from Richmond /Twickenham, Dorking or Guildford. An alternative might be to meet at Windsor and follow Sustrans route 4 to Reading (25 miles).

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Raasay Times no 4

The new assistant warden was collected last Saturday from Kyle and has settled in well. There has been a marked improvement in the catering but I had to deduct marks for damaging a fire door (excuse: curiosity) during an alarm test. The weather's still OK so we've done the sites: Dun Caan, Hallaig, Raasay House, North End where I confess I was outdistanced. I attributed this to a lack of suitable climbs in the Surrey Hills.

Today saw a small loop round Skye (Sligachan, Struan, Portee) in wind (lots of it). Having missed the ferry in the morning, we only just avoided the same calamity in the afternoon; next time Irene may have second thoughts about going to the front. No more exercise envisaged as we're awaiting an HQ inspection, an electrician to fix one shower and we're giving the hostel a thorough cleaning before handing over on Saturday and heading for Cape Wrath. See you all after Bank Holiday.

Graham Hill
Raasay SYHA Hostel, Creachan Cottage Raasay, Kyle IV40 8NT

France and the B and C Rides 17 May

We Nesles tourists had a great time and came away today just as our excellent weather each of the three days reverted to gales over the English Channel (as the French refuse to call it). Brian

I led 4 of us 'B' group (33% increase on last week). Angie Launder, John Gaunt and Cliff Whitfield. From Addlestone via Longcross, over M3, Wentworth golf course, A30, through Sunningdale to Sunninghill for lunch at The Royal Oak. Light rain after lunch, we rode Buckhurst Lane, Blacknest, Virginia Water, Wentworth golf course (different route), Thorpe Green, Chertsey to Shepperton where we had Tea at Holts bakery. I clocked 51 miles. Les Johnston

And from Albert: The weather forecast was probably why the turnout at Addlestone was rather low. In fact if any of us played bridge we would have had one too many! I had the privilege of leading Bill, Beryl, Roger and Mark, who later peeled off for Chobham not feeling up to scratch, en route for The Nag's Head at Sunninghill. We reached Green Lane via St. Mary's residential estate, then up Holloway Hill along the Longcross road, over the M3, left along Chertsey Road and then right on Chobham Road to Sunningdale where we turned right on the A30 for half a mile to the left turn for High Street Sunninghill and one of the most pleasant watering holes I know. After lunch back up the A30 again for another uphill half mile to Shrubs Hill we turned right into Wentworth Estate, emerging with a right turn on Wellington Avenue then left into Crown Road then left at the end to Trumps Green with a good bit of downhill to a right turn along Lyne Crossing Road. Rather a misnomer since the advent of that weird railway bridge made the crossing redundant. The aforementioned road now runs into Hardwick Lane ending at the lower end of Holloway Hill, from where we made a beeline for tea at my place. I'll be living on that extra cake for some time if no one drops in. Albert

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Group—17th May

Here's a quick note of the A ride for the time being........

Nine of us from the A Group—Vic, Pete B, John B, John S, Nigel, Toni, Mike M, Julian and leader Ed—left Addlestone at a sprightly pace for Windsor and Eton. On the cycle track alongside Woburn Hill Mike M ran over a discarded mobile phone, which amazingly survived his monster tyres. From there until lunch he dealt with a series of business propositions of varying propriety as we made our way over Chertsey Bridge, along the towpath past Chertsey Lock (where Vic spotted a pair of Egyptian geese), Laleham and Penton Hook Lock, through Staines (where Ed told us a cautionary tale about winning the pools) over Runnymede to the A308, Burfield Road, Datchet, Windsor and across the river to the Waterman's Arms at Eton. Here the beer and food were good and the meal was enlivened by the mobile's owner arriving to reclaim it.

As we started off homewards through Eton, the rain set in as promised. On the way to Staines we enjoyed an extra stretch of (high quality) traffic-free route, courtesy of Thames Water and an enormous reservoir project which has closed part of the B376 near Sunnymeads until February 2007. At Staines Ed stopped for tea and most of the rest of us made for home, either by towpath or Laleham Road. Thanks to Ed for an enjoyable, scenic ride—rather more built-up than when Ed first rode it in the early fifties.


Friday, May 12, 2006

B Ride

Where have all the B team gone? 'B' trio, Terry, Les led by Norman rode to Cranleigh via Albury, Chilworth, Blackheath and Shamley Green. We were held up riding through Albury by slow moving vehicles following a moving fog. The fog was caused by a lorry, a cross between a road-sweeper and a vacuum cleaner, clearing loose chippings from the newly resurfaced road. So we waited till the air cleared and pressed on to Cranleigh in gorgeous sunshine where, due to the speed of the small group, we arrived at the Onslow Arms before the kitchen was open. So we ordered drinks intending to move on to another pub, but while drinking the kitchen opened and we stayed for lunch. The food was good and the prices rivalled Wetherspoons, the beer was cheaper too (Bob take note!) After lunch back to Annie's for tea via Ewhurst, Forest Green, Ockley, Capel, Newdigate, Henfold and Dorking. Les didn't stop so Terry and I had tea. Terry met a former BAe colleague who could be a future member. Terry and I soloed back to respective homes.
Au revoir, Norman

Raasey Times

Subject: Raasay Times 2006 issue 3

And still they don't come - just one couple stayed the weekend. So I've had to move out of character and washed/cleaned/polished/cut/chopped/mended everything. Definitely not what this job's all about. Thursday evening was most interesting. The severe thunderstorms affected 5 hostels. Here the power was cut off, the alarm sounded on 3 separate occasions, and the PC (modem) expired whilst all around the water kept on rising. It got over the doorstep but not the doorframe! Being of optimistic mind I retired and hoped. You may have noticed that Skye has been the hotspot of Britain over the last few days so I've managed a trip to the northern end of the island as well as two long rides on Skye. But you cant see a thing this morning and it's a lot colder; perhaps the day to try out my newly swept stove.

(Never mind, Graham - you'll soon have Irene to fuss over! Brian)

Graham Hill

Raasay SYHA Hostel,
Creachan Cottage
Raasay, Kyle
IV40 8NT

May 10 Rides

Hello Wayfarers and Friends

Almost 200 people turned out in the rain at Leatherhead Crematorium on Monday morning for Ron Beams' funeral - a moving testament to our great friend. Later, a short celebration of Ron's long life was held at the Old Plough Stoke D'Abernon hosted by his family in place of the party they planned for August. £100 was given by Wayfarers to Cancer Research UK, comprising £25 from our funds and generous personal donations from several members.

Later, at our DA committee meeting in my house, Jill brought in the phone for me to learn that I had won the raffle at Cobham RBL and that I was now "The Rocking Horse Winner"*. I suggested a re-draw, but they would have none of it. Another call within minutes was from Thelma (who, with Hazel and Joyce had been at Ron's funeral) at RBL Cobham, inviting me to donate the rocking horse to the Shooting Star Hospice for children, and this will be done in our Wayfarers name. *A DH Lawrence novel and 1950 movie.

Seven left North Cheam for our earlyish start for elevenses at Newlands Corner. After running the gauntlet of the Dirtham Dogs, Cliff was not seen again, so I hope you are OK, Cliff. Twenty five or so assembled at The Barn, including Gill who returned home with 40 miles under her belt after several weeks of non-cycling activity. I asked Julian to write our 'A' group report, which follows.

Stunning views as the North Downs emerged from slight haze made an excellent start for sixteen members of 'A' group - Brian, Bob, John S, John M, Frank H, Steve, Ray, Nigel, Pete M, Irene, Gino, Vic, Pete B, Ed S, Mike M and Julian - setting off from Newlands Corner following our leader Brian along the North Downs Way to Pewley Down. After whizzing down the cobbles to the pedestrian bridge in the centre of Guildford, where Gino encountered mechanical problems, we forced ourselves up The Mount to the start of the Hog's Back then down past Watts Gallery at Compton and over A3 to Puttenham, then south to the Woolpack at Elstead (second new pub in as many weeks). Here the beer was good, but both it and the food were expensive. Bob remembered an appointment at Wetherspoons in Godalming, but not until he had approved the beer and rearranged the garden furniture to ensure our comfort. Our ride was turning out to be an invigorating mixture of off-road, some of it muddy, with a fair number of hills.
The way back took us under A3 at aptly named Hurtmore, through Farncombe, past Loseley Park, Littleton, and on to the Pilgrim's Way. John S turned north to catch a train from Guildford and Vic and others went with him. Pete M punctured and arranged to meet us at Abinger for tea. The rest of us kept to the Pilgrim's Way, crossing the Wey via the wooden bridge that we took care not to jump or dive from and took a mysterious and sandy track [more Pilgrim's Way], past Chantry Wood to the road at St Martha's Church. At this high point, it seemed better to make for Newlands for tea, rather than drop back to Abinger. Ray rang Pete M, who said he preferred Abinger as he was already there. After the mud, sand and hills we were all glad of high tea at Newlands (not The Barn this time, but the excellent outdoor café). The ride wasn't particularly long but, as Ray said, 'they were quality miles' and weather and scenery were magnificent. Thank you, Brian.
[and thank you, Julian - 67 quality miles for me!]

Replying to my apology for the communications glitch, Pete M writes:
Puncture mended quickly. Ray's call enabled me to climb Netley Hill instead of White Downs affording a stop among the bluebells and an offer of tea from Pete Cook (Epsom CC) who lives round the corner from Terry. Pete M

A fantastic ride, thank you, Brian. Just to fill you in on the back markers. Not sure what happened to Pete M etc but Pete B, Gino and me were off the back going up the hill before descending into Guildford and lost you all. [apologies for more poor leading] I had waited for Gino as we had done most of the day. Having descended into Guildford we took the Leatherhead road back and Pete left us at East Clandon leaving Gino and I to make our way back via Leatherhead without stopping for tea. Gino punctured to add to his mechanical problems and in the end said he would go into Leatherhead and get it fixed at the bike shop after pumping his tyre up several times.
I made my way up over Headley and home to reinisce on a glorious day out with men (and woman) of like mind. Best regards to all. Mike M.

Meanwhile, Norman led 'B' group from Newland's Corner to Cranleigh and I saw Terry looking very fresh heading south from Leatherhead around tea time.

In response to my overture "Your poetic prose is keenly awaited"
Harold writes: My 'C' ride was forsaken to the tender mercy of Roger and the gentle hand of Lynda, at least that's what the plan was. This improvement of leadership made possible by the breaking of a tooth followed by two weeks of anti things, then the spectacle of a grown man "escorted into the dentist chair resisting pushing and pulling with limbs all of a tremble". This not the whole tooth, make up your own mind about the fearless fellow who is now minus the cause but still has the pain. Sorry I can't oblige Brian but you know - don't like writing reports and will find any excuse not to.
Harold [Good job we've got our Albert]

In warm and sunny weather around twenty of us left Molesey Day Centre en-route for Nonsuch Park and a picnic lunch. Lynda took the lead in the absence of Harold. There were a number of riders whose names I did not know apart from Beryl, Lynda, Carole, Bill, Mark, Ron. Dave, Roger, Phil, Dennis, John C, Derek and Geoff. I did get the name of the tandem stoker, Doreen, her husband [Ron] being on the end with the brakes and her brother-in-law [Frank] on a solo. The route took us through a few shortcuts and a bit of off-road during which I managed to get in the way of a lamp standard without serious injury. I have followed Lynda around the environs of Cheam on previous occasions but still need to keep my eyes on the mudguard in front! About eight of us purchased a snack lunch at the bakery in Cheam and consumed same in the sunshine and well-kept gardens of Nonsuch Park. Much of the ride after this was pretty urban and we took tea in a most upmarket spot which in the past had been a RAF medical establishment. With directions from Lynda and the company of Bill I made my way home via Claygate, Esher, Hersham and Weybridge having clocked up 39 miles and over four hours ride time. Next week should be a doddle!! Albert

Friday, May 05, 2006

C Group from Dawn

Hi Brian,
took these photos yesterday. It was funny that the guys lifted their bikes over the style - someone then opened the gate! Best wishes, Dawn.

May 6th Reports

Our naturally somewhat sombre atmosphere at Cobham yesterday was brightened by the first welcome 2006 appearance of several assumed-lapsed members and a couple returning from unfit absence.

On this note, several friends are dealing personally with their tribute to Ron Beams, but if anyone wishes to donate to Cancer Research, Ron's nominated charity, you could send to FW Chitty & Co 5 Bridge Street Weybridge or you could add to the £25 we are donating from Wayfarers funds, passing it to me at the funeral at 10.15 Monday next 08May06 at Randall's Park Crematorium Leatherhead. I shall respect Ron's wish that cycling gear would set the right tone.

Cycling from Cobham to West Horsley can be a short, flat, pleasant pre-lunch excursion, so I believe, but fifteen strong 'A' group had a leader with a mission. Irene evidently checked out just how many and how severe climbs could be wound into this simple route and we took on the lot. Our salvation was the rarely visited (never by 'A' group) King William IV pub. Irene's next trick was to offer tea at her lovely new riverside apartment. So a trip to Staines meant, for several of the tempted, an after-lunch ride of 35 miles plus. But was it worth it! Our choice was delicious rich fruitcake or delectable iced vanilla sponge, and I can vouch for both (from Mum's remotely controlled recliner). Thank you Irene, for a day to remember, especially for refreshments with digital full stereo choral evensong.

Hi Brian, yes I did lead 'B' group, sorry I forgot the write-up! Cliff led a small band of 'B' warriors out of Cobham via Fetcham Leatherhead Sports Centre and Mickleham bypass down Pixham Lane thro the Golf Club to Brockham and thence to Bunce Lane and Leigh. Those present included Ray, Norman Robin and nice to see Neville after along time, Les, Terry and I've forgotten someone! I must not forget that I took a wrong turn down the cul de sac first left out of the British Legion at Cobham, much to the amusement of the A team. Anyway the weather was good and we had a good lunch at the Plough on the crossroads at Leigh. Returning thro Newdigate and Henfold Lane and Brockham, back over the G.C. again to Denbies for tea. Just remembered the eighth rider was Jonathon! Norman and I completed the ride back together and I clocked up 52 miles. Our 'B' ride lunch venue last Wednesday was The Turner Restaurant - not now a pub - Les

From Cobham, we enjoyed plenty of sunshine and quite a lot warmer. For some reason John handed the lead over to Phil and fifteen 'C' group left Cobham en route for The Holly Tree at Sutton Green. We had a good number of ladies along, Lynda, Beryl, Dawn, Pat and Anita. Then there was Allan, Dave, Ron, Roger, John C, Jonathon, Phil, Dennis and me. I did not get the name of that decent chap who lifted my bike over those stiles and gates. We turned up Plough Lane for the initial climb, then Hungry Hill Lane arriving on the cycle-path along the A3 going west. We then took a right turn away from the traffic noise towards Send where we joined a cycle-path going west along the old Portsmouth Road. After a bit of offroad we arrived at the pub for a decent lunch although once again refurbishment was going on and it was impossible to use the garden. We took tea at the Woodham and New Haw day centre after a ride through the woods where I lost the others for a while. Lynda tried my mobile but it was not loud enough and I heard Phil call out my name although by now I had seen the rest waiting for me. This contretemps was in the woods near Pyrford from where we made for West Byfleet and New Haw. Y'know Brian; I'm getting too old for all this!! Nevertheless I chose the short way home thro` Rowtown. I thought the tough hill would sort me out. It did! Albert Hi Brian I took these photos yesterday. It was funny that the guys lifted their bikes over the sty - someone then opened the gate! Best wishes Dawn {not attached due to potential overload of non-broadband accounts - I will pass on separately on request, but see }

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Hello Wayfarers all

At least there have been visitors; three to be precise and none expected until the weekend so I've not been overworked. "Tha buird is rairnean air an uinneig" We whose Gaelic is up to the mark will recognise the opening line ("The window is nailed and boarded") of Sorley Maclean's poem "Hallaig" (a clearance village for the ignorant). We, that is I passed that way on Sunday during a walk up our wee mountain Dun Caan. Last weekend's weather was quite splendid and from the top I could picked out the Outer Hebrides, lots of NW Scotland (Torridon and beyond) and naturally most of Skye. More cows on the roads than cars (3 again) so a quiet bank holiday. Since then it's been downhill; groundsmen would be talking about the forking weather; nothing's drying - drought you must be kidding! But there are moments of joy - soaked day visitors trudging past wearily on their 3-mile hike to the ferry and comparative shelter. At least the accompanying wind has had a Bessemer effect on the stove, which now produces heat. But I'm having a sweep in later this week or next; I bet I'll have lots to clear up once he's gone. The bike's stayed in the shed apart from its daily trip to the shop but I'm hoping to get over to the mainland (Skye) before next weekend. I do believe the sun popping out so enough of this - I must away and put up my smoking ban notices.

Graham Hill

Rasaay SYHA Hostel,
Creachan Cottage
Rasaay, KYLE
IV40 8NT