The Quantock Hills are situated just beyond Taunton on the Somerset coast. Having not looked up any facts or figures but its approximately 20 miles long, 5 miles wide and about 350 meters in height. imagine a large mound, something like Ayres rock (but much smaller) and covered in typical English country side, rolling hills, ancient woodland, thatched cottages, valleys, open moorland, woodland streams – picture that yet? Well that’s it in a nutshell.
Initially we met up Friday lunch time for a warm up ride. As Surrey basked in sunshine for the first time in what seemed liked weeks we were greeted by heavy showers and took refuge in a cafe for an hour or so until the weather improved. we set off around the hills and lanes of Exmoor national park. The climbs were steep and the going was tough. Gareth planned a tea stop for himself, tired and hungry we watched on as he devoured his cake and tea. Service proved ineffective and we gave up waiting to move onto pastures greener, and steep hills.
Our guest house was a farm literally located in the back of beyond. No pubs, no services for miles. This place really is remote. Civilisation has forgotten to move west, across the M5. However our hosts provided us with all the food and liquor required to keep us going for the weekend.
So Saturday morning and we were off to the Quantocks. The area is unique in that not only is it quite small, it also very tall, and the trails are very steep. We rode up, then zipped back down through bracken and skipping across streams avoiding live and dead farm animals and wildlife. Going first proved to be brave, Dave and Gareth gave it little thought and generally led the way. No sooner we were down then we would be climbing back up again. There was no respite.
As our away trips prove time and time again, climbs are always rewarded when off road, either with spectacular views or cracking descents and usually both. We were out for approximately 7 hours and all pretty exhausted by the end. There was no hurry to get back to the digs which gave us plenty of time to relax with a pint and enjoy the sun which came out to greet us.
Sunday and it was back to Exmoor for more of Gareth’s now legendary map reading skills and plenty of hill climbs. The lack of a tea stop and some very tired legs meant some clever detours using tarmac lanes (rough with the smooth – etc) and some very steep cow fields.
Apparently, for all you Stato’s out there, we climbed about 5.5 kM, about half that of the south down way on Saturday, Friday and Sunday not included. We rode less miles than we did Kilometers and we had a lot of fun doing it