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The Round Rutland Ramble

by Brian Brimson

Seven Leicestershire enthusiasts plus two from Peterborough and one from St Albans assembled in the shadow of Oakham Castle walls on a bright but very windy spring morning, for a ride of approximately 40 miles around England's smallest county, using mostly minor roads.  We visited a medieval maze at Wing, where religious penitents crawled around on on bare knees in a former Palace of the Bishop of Lincoln.  Lyddington Bede House is now in the care of English Heritage.

Unfortunately, due to recent road closures we abandoned our visit to the Eye Brook reservoir, where the 'Dam Busters' carried out their training, and instead carried on under the magnificent 84-arch Harringworth Viaduct.  This led us to Edith Weston on the south shore of Rutland water for our lunch break.  Here Mike Farrell returned to Peterborough due to family commitments (he must have known what was to come).  At this point John Potterton joined us on his Peugeot Speedfight 100.  After lunch we resumed our ramble to the north of the county, passing Exton Hall and the Barnsdale Gardens of BBC TV fame, through Cottesmore and on past the Rutland Railway Museum.

We now headed back toward Oakham and shortly thereafter 'The Weather Fairy' decided we'd been spared for too long and a torrential storm of hail, rain and SNOW caused everybody to stop, unable to see where they were going.  Several riders discovered that their waterproofs WERE NOT!  Off on the move again as the sun reappeared, we descended on a nearby Garden Centre for warm drinks, etc.

The cafeteria floor was soon covered with large puddles and one rider, on removing his gloves, discovered his hands were covered in blue tattoos...

After a suitable interval we set off again for Oakham, speedily passing the high walls & fences of HMP Ashwell.  Everyone returned safely to the start point car park, where they said they had enjoyed themselves, despite the high winds and atrocious storm.

Riders: Mark Astill - Raleigh RM5, Mark Adams - Bernardi Buzz, Brian Brimson - New Hudson, Les Gobbitt - New Hudson, Rob Hirons - Cyclemaster, John Hook - Phillips, Roger Simpson - NSU, Mike Farrell - Honda and John Redding from Peterborough on his Batavus.  Peter Lawson - Puch, came from St Albans and John Potterton joined with a Peugeot Speedfight 100.  Our able support team comprised: Mary Simpson, Marlene Brimson, Tracy & Bruce Astill and Ron Wright, who followed in his car as he was unable to ride due to recent heart surgery.

First published, June 2006

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