Saturday 9th February 2019 MTB Stoke D’Abernon

Four riders met at Cheam Station at 09.00hrs, Bill Martin, Dave Repson, Mick Curtis and myself leading today.

The weather was a lot milder than last weekend, but with the remnants of storm Erik passing through we had gusty winds from the SW at around 20mph which alas Mick Curtis decided wasn’t for him and he turned for home.

Our route took us across Nonsuch Park and through the back of Ewell and as usual following the Hogsmill River to the south west to Castle Hill.

Passing Chessington South station we headed into Barwell Lane (just up the road from Chessington World of Adventures) to cross the A3.

Just beyond the farm leading to the A3 over-bridge Bill Martin discovered the reason for either waterproof socks or the equivalent in MTB boots this time of year. As usual there was a large puddle straddling the whole of the roadway up to the bridge. I was aware that this flooded area would likely be there and had deliberately used the route to avoid an even nastier bridleway a little farther up that was guaranteed to be ‘porridge and to be avoided.’ However as I was the first through said puddle even I was surprised at its depth. No doubt due to the last couple of days rain it was a lot deeper than usual and the water crept up almost to my wheel axles before receding and I was through to the other side.

Everyone was through safely, but alas Bill was now the proud owner of two soggy feet! After skirting the edge of Claygate we headed south across to Prince’s Coverts and via a bridleway into Stoke D’Abernon and elevenses at Squires on the Cobham Road. Upon our timely arrival Barry Gregory was just locking his bike up in our usual parking spot and so we were back to four for tea!

The return route followed back through Prince’s Coverts, minus Barry Gregory who was heading toward Cobham/Hersham for home. This time we avoided some of the more sticky stuff we’d encountered on the way out by climbing back towards Malden Rushett and across onto Ashtead Common. From there on it was back across the west side of Horton Park and then towards Ewell.  We parted company there, with Bill and Dave heading for Worcester Park and Sutton respectively, and me back to my car parked in Cheam.

23 miles @ 2h:40m.

Paul White

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