Day 7: 8th July 2017 – Dorset

Checkpoint Numbers & Names
Dorset 1 – Sturminster Newton
Dorset 3 – Milton Abbas

Day 7 was supposed to be a combination of two, great outdoor pursuits – cycling and camping, unfortunately as you see later one of them went sadly wrong.

So, the day started well as I arrived at the campsite in plenty of time, and even managed to get the tent pitched before my intended start time.

So, with ample time I started my ride from the campsite with a nice gentle ride out through the market town of Wareham, and on through a combination of busy (for Dorset) ‘A’ roads and country lanes through the villages of Morden, Almer and Spetisbury and on to the Market town of Blandford Forum. I have to say that if you don’t mind handilng a few hills then the countryside in Dorset is pretty spectacular, and well worth the effort to visit with some great views over the whole Jurassic coast. With plenty of time to stop for a drink and look around Blandford is the sort of quaint country town you could easily lose a couple of hours in.

From Blandford my route took me away from the quiet roads on to the completely off road route of the North Dorset Trailway. This is the conversion of an old railway line in to a walking and cycling route that stretches from Blandford Forum all the way in to Sturminster Newton where it quite literally pops up in the middle of the town. The Trailway is a mixture of dirt path, tarmac, and gravel, but should navigable for bicycles with anything but the skiniest of tyres.

White Hart in Sturminster Newton

So having followed the trail in to Sturminster Newton it was lunchtime and having had a recommendation from a friend I decided to stop in the Poets Corner Cafe, a Turkish cafe with some very nice authentic cuisine. So, full of moussaka it was time to head to the other side of town where the checkpoint was located (an old CTC winged wheel symbol on the side of the pub). Not much opportunity to stop here for long as the road was quite busy so after he obligatory photograph time to join the road and on to the second and final checkpoint of the day at Milton Abbas. Feeling really pleased with myself for planning such a nice route through Okeford Fitzpane and whilst admiring I almost didn’t realise I was at Milton Abbas until I hit ‘The Hill’.

Every time I climb a steep hill I think well at least it can’t get steeper but I seem to be able to constantly find tougher hills on each ride I plan, and the ride in to Milton Abbas was no different, the hill went on and on and on, with some bits that were quite steep, and others that were really steep!

Once I found the Abbey, it took a little effort to find the checkpoint – the Abbey is more of a complex with the Abbey itself and a few out buildings and I wasn’t exactly sure of where the checkpoint was. Eventually someone took pity on the Lycra clad out of place bloke with a bike and asked what I was looking for, so after being pointed in the right direction the checkpoint proved easy to find and duly photographed.

The good part about having to go up a big hill to get to a checkpoint is that you’ll probably get to go down the other side and today was no different, with a nice downhill swoop that should have taken me right in to Bere Regis, however whilst riding in to Milborne St. Andrew disaster struck. I was in a traffic queue behind and to the left of a supermarket home delivery van which suddenly decided to reverse, catching my handlebars and dragging my front wheel buckling it beyond repair.

Wonky Wheel
Is there a doctor in the house?

Fortunately I was unhurt, and the driver was more than apologetic admitting it was all his fault so no harm done there. but how to get the bike the last ten or so miles back to the campsite. Help came in the form of a friendly shop-keeper who had seen it all happen, and not only offered to phone for a taxi for me, they looked after the bike while I went to get my car, and even made me a cup of tea while I was waiting for the taxi.

So they day ended with me getting a taxi back to camp, and coming back in my car to collect the bike.

Footnote – Bicycle repair bill came to just under £200 which the supermarket company paid up without hesitation and I was back on the road again in under five days.

Miles Cycled – 38 (of 50 planned)
Checkpoints Visited – 2
Total Miles Cycled – 277
Total Checkpoints Visited – 12

Click here to download a gpx file of this ride

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