The original plan had been for Canardly and I to spend a four day long weekend on a camping trip to the Peak District with a baton collection from Jogler on Monday somewhere on our return journey.
However, Saturday proved to be unavailable for Canardly due to real life so we settled on a Sunday start with a proposed trip to the East Mids CTC rally.
Sunday arrived and a call from Canardly to say that he had overslept and would be an hour late. 1/2 hour later and a further call to report that it was tipping it down with a forcast for another 9 hours of rain and should we postpone untill Monday.
I re-fettled a route and arranged for us to meet Jogler at 'Conkers' the camping club site in the National Forest just west of Ashby-de-la-Zouch on Monday afternoon.
07-30 Monday and Canardly arrived at chez loads. Bikes loaded, this was to be Canardly's first ride with full touring kit, and we were off.
We took the lanes through Rutland and made a quick stop at Wing for an early coffee fix to kick start the metabolism.
On along the lanes to Knossington where we met a posse from Cycle+ who were out on a day ride. Greetings exchanged, we continued along traffic free lanes to Mountsorrell where we stopped for lunch at the Waterside Inn on the banks of the river Soare. We were kept entertained by the antics of boaters and their less than expert use of the lock.
We called in at Beaumanor Hall, the location for the CTC meet, but it was very quiet, I suspect they were all on a ride.
From Woodhouse Eaves, the road rises steadily for 2km at 8% to the top of Beacon Hill. This took it's toll on Canardly's legs and he was very glad to reach the summit.
It was then pretty much all down hill to Whitwick and Peggs Green where we joined the A512 for the short run into Ashby.
The campsite at Conkers is just 6km west of Ashby where we were greeted by Jogler who had been awaiting our arrival for quite some time.
The site wardens very kindly provided us with mugs of tea, they had kept the site office open for our arrival.
With the Baton handing over ceremony completed, Jogler set off for home and we went to pitch tents and drink coffee.
The site was busy but the facilities are good and well maintained.
There is a large YHA on the site and we were able to book breakfast there for the following morning.
Having showered and changed, we adjourned to the local pub, the Navigation. This was a family run affair, with only the family in it. The kitchen had closed for the day, but Ruth, the Landlady, happily rustled up plates of ham sandwiches so all was not lost. We were both flagging so returned to the site and took to our tents.
Tuesday morning, up early and tents packed, we were in the YHA by 7.30 tucking into cereal and full english. Good value at £4.95 per head.
The forecast was not good for today, but it was dry if chilly as we began to retrace our route. We made reasonable progress and stopped at Beacon Hill for a photo call and we hoped, tea. They charge £2.50 per car to get in and all you get is grubby toilets and a trig point! Not even a tea hut!
Never mind, a hurtle down yesterday's purgatory soon had us back at Quorn and Woodhouse Station on the old Great Central Railway where we enjoyed tea and sausage baps and were treated to the arrival of the 12.39 from Loughborough, a rather splendid steam locomotive. Oh! that wonderfull smell of hot oil.
From here we just pressed on for home, managing to dodge the rain untill Rutland Water so dry for all but the last 5km.
An out and return trip of the fairly lumpy variety but great scenery 178km in all. Good stuff.