Torrential rain at 9.am did not look promising for today’s ride, but by the time we left Orpington, shortly after 9.30, the rain had stopped and the sun was beginning to shine. We headed out on country lanes past Swanley Park, Swanley Village, up Holmesdale Hill and through Betsham to Gravesend. The wind was behind us so we made good time.
We passed by the spectacular looking Sikh Temple, dominating the landscape, as we rode into Gravesend,
before heading for the riverside cafe for a well earned cup of tea.
Here we lose Steve W who has to cycle back for a family lunch. So the rest of us cycled on, still with the wind on our backs, all too aware that we would be riding into a headwind on the return journey. Up through Cliffe to Cooling Castle (the home of Jools Holland) and up another nasty hill to High Halstow. Past the RSPB reserve we cycled where you can see over 150 pairs of grey Herons, hence the name “The Heron Trail”.
From here we carried on towards the Hoo Peninsular where we enjoyed beautiful views of the River Medway as we cycled down the most fantastic cycle path into Hoo.
Cycling out of Hoo, two of our riders headed for Rochester Station to get the train home, while the rest of us completed the circular Heron Trail back to Gravesend. The wind on the way back was bad enough to warrant another tea stop when we arrived at Gravesend.
Then it was off on the last 20 mile stretch back to Orpington, quite a windy ride and I certainly don’t remember coming down all those hills on the way there, that we encountered on the way home. We managed to get to Birchwood before darkness descended, so just had a few miles to do in the dark. I don’t mind the dark, you can’t see the hills!!!!!!!
A good 60 mile ride today. Thank you to everyone who came.
We will repeat this ride in the summer and will break it down into stages, so you will be able to meet us at Gravesend and just do The Heron Trail, should you wish.