This weekend I decided to go wild camping (or at least for one night with the option of staying at a Camp site one night).
I’ve been camping loads of times or at least fishing overnight and I’ve been a fisherman or should I say fisherboy to start with since I was 6 and my family moved us to live right next to the Kennet and Avon canal near Devizes.
As I already owned lots of the kit I needed, I only needed two items to get me going, a new tent as the fishing ones are too heavy, fantastically made, very warm but way too heavy. My fishing one weighs 20kg with winter outer skin. And the other item a blow up lightweight mattress. Fishing bed chairs, again very good but too heavy.
After a lot of research for cycle touring tents and mattresses I went for an MSR Hubba Hubba and a thermalite mattress.
A route was plotted on ride with GPS to take me from work on the Friday, about forty miles towards Castle Cary with the plan to go to Seaton in Devon where I have many childhood memories of visiting my Great Aunty Ivy. From Seaton following the coast as much as possible to Weymouth, with a stop overnight and back home on Sunday.
Thursday night was spent loading the bike and off I rode to work in the morning.
17:15 arrived, I changed back into my cycling kit and got ready to ride…..only I couldn’t as the back tyre was flat!! It’s the second time I’ve had a topeak patch failure in warm weather.
Repairing a puncture on a fully loaded bike isn’t anywhere as easy as it is on a non loaded bike.
Half an hour later, new tube in & I was off, and a great start toward Melksham. A colleague overtook me just coming out of Chippenham on the A350. I overtook them stuck in Traffic 3.5 miles later in Melksham :-).
The ride toward Castle Cary went well, stopping at a churchyard for a water top up at about 37 miles. I got to my target 40 miles but there was nowhere to stop that looked suitable for wild camping so on I went to 47 miles when I spotted a field of oilseed rape. Along the edge hasn’t been planted so I snuck in and setup. The spot wasn’t ideal as much of it was bare earth but its a start.
I got the tent up in double time and put tea on straight away, savoury rice (2 portions).
I woke early, had a coffee, pain Chocolat, packed up early and was back on the road for 7:30 on the way to Seaton. I was adamant I was going to cover 20 miles before stopping for breakfast. Before 20 miles there were loads of places, after there wasn’t. I made it Seaton and found a cafe on the sea front.
After ordering the Big Breakfast I was told it’d be half hour at least which I was fine with as I could update the blog, but ten minutes later my food arrived. Breakfast was excellent, I paid, got lotioned (sun tan) up as the sun was out on full force, a contradiction to the forecast and set off.
On the way to Weymouth I stopped a few times, full breakfast in Seaton, large cream and jam doughnut in a bakery I found on the way out of Seaton, portion of chips at West Bay, large vanilla ice cream at the Hive Cafe, orange juice and coke at the red bull inn and finally into the swallow campsite. I’d thought about wild camping the whole weekend but the draw of a warm shower was too much. The view was good as well.
After setting up at the campsite and having a shower I headed into Weymouth. On the way I bumped into a guy on an a Raleigh and asked where the best place in Weymouth was to enjoy some real ale. The chap kindly took me to the globe pub where we had a good old chin wag about cycling and sank a few Ringwood fortyniners. The pub was doing a promotion I think the Devizes and district club should take on, buy 5 pints get 6th free!
After leaving the pub I needed food, so looked for a nice place to eat. Unfortunately as I’d left it late, several places had long waiting lists. I ended up in Bennets on the waterfront for Cod and Chips. And very nice it was too.