Jeff was unable to lead this ride, so Sam and myself stepped in.
Six riders met at a chilly 6c Chichester Cross for the ride to Durleighmarsh, near Petersfield. Sam and myself were joint leaders, we were joined by Ann, Rosie, Paul and Roger. We took the usual route via the Centurion Way and West Stoke to Compton for our morning coffee. Sitting outside, away from the nagging north east wind in the sunshine, it felt much warmer than the indicated 9c.
After a pleasant 20 minutes we headed off to Durleighmarsh, again taking a direct route via South Harting and West Harting, arriving to find the Tea Barn already busy. Luckily there were two vacant tables outside in the sun, ideal for a relaxing chat during lunch.
Our return route took in the exceptionally quiet lanes through the exotic sounding hamlets of Quebec and Goose Green to Nursted. Then a quick 1/2 mile on the busy Petersfield road to turn up the lane to Ditcham Park School and the long gradual climb over the Downs. The views were spectacular in the strong Autumnal sun. Arriving at Rowlands Castle there was a choice of stopping for a coffee in Bumblebee’s or heading straight back to Chichester. Myself, Sam and Paul opted for the former with Ann, Rosie and Roger heading back. The refurbished café has a nice ambience and very reasonable prices.
Eventually we pulled ourselves away to battle a strong headwind for a fast ride back to Chichester, arriving just before 3pm.
Return mileage was 41 miles.