2nd mini tour - Dorset to Exmoor-ouch

doog

....
This was my second mini tour and for any newbies out there I have a few pointers :biggrin:

I was prepared with the camping gear, cycling on a Tricross sport (not really a touring bike) on 25mm tyres, two rear panniers and the rest of the kit on a Blackburn rack and a few pages from a 1999 AA road map.

Departed at 1200 hrs on Tues and my intention was to head north to Wiltshire, then due west to Exmoor, down to Dartmoor then home. This didnt happen. I decided to head west after Blandford. After 6 hours (50 miles)of some extremely hilly Dorset countryside (I should have known better) I bedded down at a farm for a tenner on the Somerset border in a place called Seaborough.

After setting up the tent the farmer pointed me towards the nearest pub in Drimpton. I walked over two fields and enjoyed a few pints with the 3 regulars in the Royal Oak.One thing had hit me during my journey so far was the lack of village shops and pubs and true to the theme the locals told me this pub was soon to close!

I set off the next day with no real objective other than to reach a piece of green on the corner of my map......Exmoor. I tried, as previously, to keep to minor roads.

My first point to newbies..Somerset is extremely hilly. I stopped in Chard for supplies and continued over the M5 into some gorgeous countryside but this is when things got extremely tough.

My aim was a site called Wimbleball lake on Exmoor. Second lesson learnt: A and even B roads usually follow the path of least resistance, even if it means a longer route. I tried the small lanes..... I suffered big time. 5 miles of Exmoor back lanes took 2 hours, up and down major gradients I came to hate downhills, seeing the hill beyond would mean a major uphill.

I stopped on the edge of Exmoor ( about 1000 feet)and stayed at a small camp site at Lowtrow Cross...did 49 very hill miles and encountered one other tourer all day. A fabulous pub next to the site made up for it and a few pints of 'Fox' and a curry. This place was fabulous, at 1am with no ambient light and a clear sky the heavens were something else (on my early morning loo visit)

The following day I left the site and headed north reaching 1300 feet on Exmoor. It was a glorious day and here is another hint. Suntan lotion: its an essential :blush:

Having reached my 'height's ' I suddenly decided to head home, back to Poole In dorset. It was about 100 miles and for some reason I decided to go for it.

The Journey from Exmoor down to Taunton was fabulous, my problem was keeping the speed down on some of the descents, the B224 from Brendon Hills to the A358 was fantastic.

I carried on, circumnavigating Taunton to the North and made a decision thereafter to do A roads. My thinking was based on the fact that they would be a faster route. Another lesson learnt, some of the A roads in Somerset are in a worse condition than the lanes. I hit the A30 from Crewkerne to Yeovil and encountered some pretty hostile, heavy moving traffic on very narrow A roads.

I was now six hours in and was regretting my lack of suntan lotion. The coldish Easterly from the last 2 days had died and it was now very hot. My ears, neck were burnt so stopped and soaked my micro towel in water and placed it on my head under my helmet and tucked down the back of my shirt.

Drink, Drink, Drink..having suffered from dehydration and its effects many years ago i had ensured that I was prepared...but this was something else. After Yeovil came Babylon Hill onto Sherborne and Dorset. I Live in the South East of Dorset.

The A roads were giving me a hard time but my pace was so much quicker and so what if I cause a motorist a few seconds delay, I am hardened to it through my commute but on very twisty / steep country A roads, fully loaded you just cant stop and walk....ouch.

I sufferred a broken spoke 20 miles from home but decided to carry on, I was so near, the rear wheel went all wobbly but hey ho :biggrin:

I arrive at Poole at 8 PM, 96 miles later with frequent stops. I encountered only one other tourer during my 200 mile trip of Dorset and Somerset.

What lessons have I learnt:

1.Take decent maps with gradients on them
2. Dont do country lanes thinking it will be some kind of heaven on a bike.
3. Dorset and Somerset have big hills.
4. Suntan lotion
5. 96 miles on the last day, with camping gear, on mainly A roads and very hot was more endurance than touring!!


Otherwise it was brilliant....
 

summerdays

Cycling in the sun
Location
Bristol
3. Dorset and Somerset have big hills.
What you talking about - Somerset is flat (well the Levels are anyway:biggrin:).

And I feel for you getting burnt - I managed to get burnt yesterday WITH sunscreen - without I imagine you probably did go fairly red? I liked your idea of soaking the towel - as long as you have enough water.

Are you going to go back that direction in another tour? (after looking at the contours a little more).
 

rh100

Well-Known Member
Hi Doog

Thanks for the post, really interesting. Despite the problems it sounds like you had a great time.

I enjoy reading newbie touring posts, as I'm quite new to cycling and haven't toured yet so I like to see how others get on.

You make a good point about village shops and pubs closing down, I imagine this has some effect on peoples tours, it must take some of the charm out of it if all that is available is the local Tesco and Wetherspoons!

As for the hills, well it wouldn't be Dorset and Devon without them would it :tongue:

Living in Poole, you are on the doorstep of some lovely countryside, I wouldn't mind cycling around the Isle of Purbeck, but the roads are very tight and busy in some parts, but that road from the ferry is lovely in the sun, even in a car.
 

skudupnorth

Cycling Skoda lover
Quality write up,many thanks for that.I feel for you about hills and carrying camping kit after my trip to Cornwall seriously made me realise my short comings in my trip planning and stamina.Next time i know i need to train more and be ruthless in what i really need to take with me.
 
OP
doog

doog

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Muddyfox said:
Great write up .. and living in the Blackdown Hills in Devon i know exactly what you mean about the hills

Simon
Simon

You may recognise some of the road signs in this photo ;)

It was shortly after this photo that I passed the other tourer....my words to him were 'there are big hills that way' (the way he was heading), he replied 'i thought as much' :biggrin:

009.jpg



A beautiful part of the world I must add
 
OP
doog

doog

....
rh100 said:
Hi Doog

Thanks for the post, really interesting. Despite the problems it sounds like you had a great time.

I enjoy reading newbie touring posts, as I'm quite new to cycling and haven't toured yet so I like to see how others get on.

You make a good point about village shops and pubs closing down, I imagine this has some effect on peoples tours, it must take some of the charm out of it if all that is available is the local Tesco and Wetherspoons!

As for the hills, well it wouldn't be Dorset and Devon without them would it ;)

Living in Poole, you are on the doorstep of some lovely countryside, I wouldn't mind cycling around the Isle of Purbeck, but the roads are very tight and busy in some parts, but that road from the ferry is lovely in the sun, even in a car.

The Isle of Purbeck is fantastic. The beauty of coming off the ferry is that once the traffic from the ferry has passed toward Swanage the road is your own. If you dont turn left towards Swanage and head on the 'underhill' towards Corfe you have a great piece of road. You can then turn left at Corfe toward towards Swanage and right up Kingston Hill (very steep) but the road from Kingston down to Worth, Langton and Swanage is worth the climb.
 

rh100

Well-Known Member
doog said:
The Isle of Purbeck is fantastic. The beauty of coming off the ferry is that once the traffic from the ferry has passed toward Swanage the road is your own. If you dont turn left towards Swanage and head on the 'underhill' towards Corfe you have a great piece of road. You can then turn left at Corfe toward towards Swanage and right up Kingston Hill (very steep) but the road from Kingston down to Worth, Langton and Swanage is worth the climb.
Thanks for that Doog

It's nice to see a cyclists perspective on that area.

Just had a look at that road on Google streetview, looks like a nice run but blimey that hill looks steep!
 
doog said:
Simon

You may recognise some of the road signs in this photo :biggrin:

009.jpg



A beautiful part of the world I must add
Doog ... i live very close by to there in a village called Dunkeswell

When i go cycling i always make sure i have enough in the tank to climb back up to the village :sad:

Simon
 
Ivan Ardon said:
Dunkeswell? You'll not be needing suntan lotion then. Foglights yes, suntan lotion, no.

:sad:
lol ... on a nice day we are normally a couple of degrees higher than down in the valley but your absolutely right, when the fog descends you cant see bugger all

Simon
 
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