So last friday i finished work early and met up with a couple of friends at East Croydon and headed down to the surrey hills. Friday was in fact the summer solstice and even though we did not get to see the sun rise we hoped to see it set but only if the weather behaved its self. We caught the train to Gomshall and were soon in the green of the countryside and could feel the stress of london life washing away. No sooner had we started riding though and nature decided that it would rather rain and a fine light rain started. We were heading for Holmbury hill and half an hour later we entered the forest that cloaks most of Holmbury.A short climb up and we soon found our camp spot for the night,sheltered under a young oak tree. A flurry of activity had the tarps up and a cup of tea on.
Later on we headed up to the top of Holmbury hill to see what the views were like and if we were going to get any sunset,but the rain continued and the clouds showed no sign of a break. The one great thing though was having the hill to ourselves as this part of the world get very busy at the weekends with walkers and mountain bikers.
We headed back to our campsite and got our dinner on the go,vegetarian chilli + rice followed by about a ton of chocolate as we had all packed bars of chocolate and a lovely 12year old bottle of highland park single malt. It was not long before the rain didn’t matter anymore!
The next morning it was still raining so a lie in was had.It great some time to just lie under a tarp and listen to nature. We finally got up around about 9.30 and after coffee we packed up and headed out on the bikes.The weather started to clear up and we headed to leith hill and the tea shop that can be found at the top.The tea shop has been a saviour of ours over many years of riding here.It only opens at the weekend but in the middle of winter when you are cold and wet it can be the only thing that keeps you going knowing that when you get to the top there will be a hot cup of tea a slice of homemade cake.
Anyways i degress.Leith hill was reached and tea and cakes consumed then a short blast down to coldharbour and a pint in the plough.A great pub which has a micro brewery,which has been close for awhile due to the owner’s battle with cancer,which he seems to have beaten for the moment and he is planning on starting up the brewery again.
From coldharbour its a long 6 miles of steady down hill to the main road at Westcott then a road ride to Dorking and the train home.
All in all a great trip out and after years of talking about doing overnight trips out with the bikes it has given us food for thought. Next trip should be to north wales and a two night trip into to the wilds of Snowdonia national park.