26 Nov, Victoria Inn – Dobbie to RM, (9,10)
"General Dobbie will see you now Frackbladder.."
Ah - Frackbladder. I have a job for you. As you will be aware the battle is at a salient point. We need to go over the top for the big push. But before we need more information about enemy positions and movements, and in particular the state of terrain in the southern hills. We have had the fly-boys take a look see and it all looks smooth, dry and stable.
But don't want to waste everyone else if we can sacrifice just a few, 'special' individuals - yes you know who I mean, the elite SCS - the Shabi Cycling Service - fine body of men (and if they can find them, women). Just the outfit for this dangerous mission - that mixture of courage and stupidity is unrivalled. So get on your bikes, do a recce, take a shufti over the top and see what you can find.
As you know I would love to go with you, but I have an opera / dentist / gallery opening / badminton* appointment, (*delete as appropriate). So good luck.
.....2 hours later....
"Captain Frackbladder is here to make his report sir."
General - I have to report that terrain in the southern hills is unpassable and an advance in those conditions would be inadvisable, oh and the chaps are not happy about the additional kit cleaning required - although the food in the mess afterwards was top notch...
And we nearly had a deserter, Corporal Chuff, on the first ascent feigned a broken chain trying to get out of the mission. Unfortunately for Chuff, Chief Engineer Smashie pulled alongside with the missing link (no, not Private Slumpy - this was real chain link ) and fixed the chain in a trice. So onward and upward, the route out of West Marden was fine for about half a mile - then we discovered that the enemy had been on heavy manoeuvres, blocking the route with deep deep slurry chalky mud and fallen trees.
Bravely, the Shabis proceeded.
Some faster going down towards Compton and then north up towards the SDW, but on reaching the SDW, we discovered that more enemy manouevres had made the route impassable to all but the most skilful, determined and idiotic bicyclists.
So we progressed. Just one more hill until the next one, circling round through Harting Down, Compton and returning to West Marden. A couple of the men tried to throw themselves from their equipment in fear for their stability - but the team rallied round and made it home with the team intact.
Well done the Shabis.
10 muddy miles