On arrival, it was soon clear that the garden was too cold to sit in and so we tried to find space inside the pub. It’s a lovely old building, with log fires, beams. Very cosy. And very busy, serving Sunday lunches. We just about managed to squeeze in, with the help of some friendly locals who were only too happy to squash up and the assistance of the staff, also extremely friendly and helpful. Everyone got their lunch, despite the busy lunch hour of the pub, in good time and it looked delicious. Although Bob’s very tasty and appetising fish dish was pronounced by him to be “a bit poncey”. However, it looked, smelled and, I believe, tasted delicious from the way he polished it off!
Before we left, the landlord asked me to give them a ring if we were going to bring such a big group again, even if it was just a few hours in advance. Which seemed a reasonable request and we’ll definitely do so. It’s a great pub, in a great location for many of our rides and the staff did a really good job feeding us all so quickly when they were so busy with Sunday lunches.
On leaving the pub, we were now off route as it had been a last minute change and detour. So I quickly mapped out a new route back to our way home. A job that’s always best done with a proper paper map. Which, unusually, I didn’t have. GPS is great but it does have shortcomings and I always like to take a proper map with me. But had left it behind today. And I didn’t want to retrace our wheels back, I fancied exploring a couple of lanes which looked like they were heading in the right direction to return us to roads I knew. So that’s what we did…I knew Basted had to be somewhere near and once there we found it I would know exactly where I was going again. So I did something I don’t recommend when leading a ride! I took the group up a road I had never ridden before. It was a climb, it had to be as the ride to Dunks Hill had been a long descent, but it was a lovely little road with some great views along the way, and we even passed field of what looked like it was going to be hops. A rare sight these days. Then, we passed a lane on the left and I instantly recognised the road again as we began the descent into Basted.