24 May, Marley Loop
Ten SHABIs assembled for the off at the Green Dragon car park. After an extensive risk assessments (ie the tossing of a coin), it was decided to do a Marley Loop ride rather than the advertised SB camp site special.
So it was Tonka who led the peleton through Liphook village and left at the golf club to Iron Hill. We then headed up towards Linchmere or Lynchmere (it’s spelt both ways on sign posts - not sure why and tbh lost the will to live trying to Google the reason for it).
The settlement at Hammer took its name from an iron mill which was active there from before 1573 until at least 1730. There were also other iron works in the district including one partly in what is now Fernhurst parish, in Furnace Wood near Lower Lodge Farm, apparently started a little before 1620. The associated water supply is still named Furnace Pond and is just 2.8 kilometres (1.7 mi) south of Linchmere village centre.
Once in Linchmere (I’m going with the i option) we took the snaky, climby path through the woods that definitely was not a footpath. Now soon after we set off from the kissing gate inexplicably 80% of the peleton headed off down the hill rather than turning left. This is despite half the pack knowing the route and having scoped it on Sunday.
The peleton split may have something to do with the Yew trees that line the path, which are apparently ‘Omens of Doom’. Whatever it definitely wasn’t the RMs fault and during later analysis in the pub it was indeed established beyond all reasonable doubt that it was Faff’s fault so that’s a relief all round.
The ride reformed at the top of the climb and following a photo call we set off for Marley.
There we descended through the woods to a Victorian outdoor swimming pool. Apparently it used to be a thing back in the day to have a communal pool in the middle of the woods and we discovered that Slumpy used to frequent the pool as a young lad to hang out with the “lovely nubile young ladies” (his words not mine).
From there we headed back to Linchmere and Iron Hill where Nurse Brown led a detour to avoid several fallen trees. Then followed a section of dry and fast trail through Highfield Woods and we popped out on the Midhurst before turning left down an undulating byway which leads back to the golf club. With only a minute to dinner time we had a road schlep back to the pub for tea and medals.
The Thai food went down well only enhanced by the candlelight, courtesy of a number of power cuts. Panic set in as SHABIs had began to imagine cold rice and raw fish (it could catch on !)
Anyway all was well at the Inn and next weeks ride was booked in as the ‘angry camp site landlord ‘ ride to be RM’d by SB .