Saturday, April 22, 2006

3. TCA away-day: The Downs Link

Ride: April 22nd 2006, Downs Link
Present: Al; John

We met up on the 10:48 train from Petersfield to Guildford to undertake the 36-mile Downs Link, which connects the North Downs way at St. Martha's Hill to the South Downs way north of Shoreham-on-Sea. Fortunately we had choosen what would be the hottest day of the year so far for the ride and, with spring finally upon us, the passing scenary really made the rather tame ride along disused railway lines well worthwhile.

Leaving Guildford railway station the first few miles were a pleasant bimble out of town along the canal before picking up the North Downs Way east and up St. Martha's hill. The climb was just about worth it for the hectic descent into Chilworth before picking up the disused railway line at the old railway station. We stopped at 12:00ish for a beer at the Thurlow Arms (Cranleigh) which looked inviting and sounded very promising in the Surrey County Council route guide: "The pub has it's own brewery, 'The Baynard Brew House'... an excellent snack or lunch top". Sadly the guide is at least 7 years out of date (it has been that long since any beer was produced in the brew house!). We had a rather indifferent pint of forgetable beer having braved the three toothless old men and burley landlady. If your idea of an "excellent snack" is a pack of ready salted crisps, fair enough. The TCA expects better - if a pub does not do food at 12:00 on a sunny Saturday afternoon in the spring then they are surely missing a trick..?

Thankfully, at around 13:30 we hit the Bax Castle at Two Mile Ash, a 15th Century freehouse which served a range of hand-pulled beer. We can both recommend the ham, egg and chips too. However, (if we were being fussy, as opposed to half starved) the landlord was the grumpiest old codger we have had the misfortune to meet in a long time (and our eggs were a bit runny). We also took a stop for refreshments in Henfield (or 'Chavsville', as we christened it) but we didn't hang around to patronise any of the nasty-looking cafes, rather grab some chocolate bars and high-energy drinks before pushing on as quickly as possible.

The total distance for the day clocked in at 42 miles to Shoreham station. Train back to Jon's for curry and a beer, and early to bed.

[The next morning we cycled back to Havant to pick up Jon's car, Al carrying on home to Hambledon and a grand total of 65 miles for the weekend].

(Posted by :Al)

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At 3:53 pm, May 02, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carry on bimbling! Will link 2 ur site...

At 11:46 am, May 09, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...

Ham egg and Chips seem to be a recurring theme of late? lard boy! B.B


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