Day 15: 27th August 2017 – Dorset

Checkpoint Numbers & Names
Dorset 2 – Hardy Monument
Dorset 5 – Cerne Abbas
Dorset 6 – Beaminster

So, day two for my BCQ extravaganza was upon me, and I made an early start because I need to catch a train to the town of Dorchester from where I would start the ride.

So, from the station in Dorchester I had a short wiggles through the town and joined a road known as ‘Westleaze’ which carried me on a genrally uphill slope through the villages of Lower Burton and Charminster, and continued as such for around seven miles with barely a car, person or house in sight for the whole way. After about seven miles of riding the road took a sharp downhill slope in to the village of Cerne Abbas.

Cerne Abbas
Cerne Abbas Giant

Cerne Abbas is a small village famous for both it’s abbey, and carving of a man in the nearby hillside known as the Cerne Abbas giant both of which are well worth taking the time to visit if time allows. I had been advised by a friend who knew the area that the route i was planning was going to be hilly, but I hadn’t quite realised how hilly and having had a good climb I also took the opportunity to stop for a well earned rest.

From Cerne Abbas the next twelve miles or so were very up and down with a good mixture of speedy downhill stints and slow uphill tests. The first few miles were much similar to those leading in to Cerne Abbas with very little to see in the way of villages and no-one on the roads except the odd farmer in a tractor and on one occasion a combine harvester causing me to have to beat a hasty retreat from the road on to a handily placed passing point in the narrow road. So, it was with a bit of shock as I approached the A37 that I should see two sets of five Red Arrows planes flying in formation immediately overhead, and not that far off the ground!

After crossing over the A37 the road became a little busier in terms of buildings and people as it passed through the villages of Sandhills, Wraxhams, and Hooke, shortly after which the road finally started to take the downhill slope in to the small town of Beaminster where the second checkpoint of the day was to be sought.

Checkpoint in Beaminster

Once in Beaminster it was easy to find the monument that formed the checkpoint and being lunchtime it would have been rude not to stop for lunch while I was here. With there still being twenty or more miles to ride I opted to have a cafe lunch rather than a full pub lunch as I knew there was still a lot climbing to do which wouldn’t have been too easy on an overly full stomach. So having spent a pleasant 45mins or so at the Cilla & Camilla tea room opposite the checkpoint it was time to saddle up and head out.

Leaving Beaminster my route took me south along the A3066 for around for miles where I turned off left and re-joined the quiet roads through Bradpole, Yondover and Uploders where I then needed to south again a little until I hit the very busy A35. Unfortunately there was no real way to get to the third checkpoint at the Hardy Monument without a short uphill stretch along the A35 for about a mile, so with a bit of a spurt I got past that section and turned back off in to my favoured country lanes with the uphill continuing until the village of Chilcombe.

From Chilcombe there was a small downhill section that gave my legs a short rest before the longest and steepest climb of the day. As I again turned eastward the road now started a gentle uphill aspect continuing through Litton Cheney and Long Bredy, but at around the 36 mile mark the road started to take a very steep uphill turn as it passed through Little Bredy, and around the edge of the Valley of Stones nature reserve sortly after which I arrived at Hardys Monument and chckpoint three.

Hardy Monument
Hardy Monument

The ride up to the monument itself from Little Bredy was easily the worst hill I had encountered whilst cycling the BCQ (again!), and necessitated quite a long rest at the top of the hill to catch my breath, which caused some amusement with the two young ladies from the National Trust who were working at the monument that day.  Once I had recovered from the climb I decided to take advantage of my National Trust membership and climb to the top of the monument and see the view which was spectacular to say the least and well worth the effort of the cycle ride and stair climb.

Having taken in the sights of the monument I almost made the embarrassing error of leaving without answering the checkpoint question, fortunately I remembered just as I was about to ride away as I wouldn’t have wanted to ride back up that hill again! From the monument the ride back to the train station in Dorchester was a fairly uneventful but nicely downhill cruise through the villages of Martinstown and Winterborne Monkton and in to the outskirts of Dorchester town and on to the station.

Overall this ride was probably the hardest one I’d done on the BCQ so far, it was certainly up there in terms of distance, but the 3500+ ft of climbing certainly made it tough, but as with nearly all my previous BCQ days it was still very rewarding.

Miles Cycled –46
Checkpoints Visited – 3
Total Miles Cycled – 549
Total Checkpoints Visited – 29

Click here to download a gpx file for this ride

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