With the Rigsville collective on a short day it was an opportunity for Billy No Mates to have a trip out and tag a few TMBF Challenge 100 locations. The route had been planned for a while and was sat in the sat nav waiting for a suitable day to heave the beast out of the garage and have a 300+ mile trip out down South. The day started off miserable and damp but the forecast wasn’t too bad it was deemed necessary to wear waterproof gear though which was to prove a bit of a mistake as the day turned out rather on the warm side.
I set off down the Fosse way towards Moreton-in-Marsh ,Stow, Bourton and onto Cirencester using the same route to Kemble Airfield a couple of weeks ago, it was so much easier with the sat nav for guidance, never put a foot wrong, passed Kemble on the other side of the airfield where the big jets waiting for dismatleage were even closer, I considered stopping in the layby to take some photos but thought better of it a cracked on to the first destination which was Laycock Abbey. Riding through Laycock Village was a treat in itself, I had never heard of the place, which is one of the things I like about the TMBF challenge locations, never been to a lot of them. This is a place packed with history and well worth a visit with time to wander about, several historical TV programmes have made use of the area and you can see why. Laycock Abbey was shut when I arrived which was perfect for the necessary photo, it meant I could get close to the signage for proof of attendance.
Next it was off to another historical site, Stonehenge. It had been many years since I had been here before it must have been early 80’s as I remember having a couple of babies in the pushchair as we meandered around. By the looks of the visitor’s car park it was now a much bigger place and I believe that the days of actually touching the stones are long gone. The traffic was busy on the road which passes the stones so it was difficult to assess a suitable vantage point for the photo. I cruised past and noted a couple of places and at the first traffic island came back and managed to drop lucky and pick the perfect vantage spot. Pictures taken of this very spiritual place I moved off to the next tag.
This was to prove the hardest stop of the day; I entered Salisbury to be confronted by streets which were closed off as you neared the Cathedral, after a couple of circuits around the town centre (or is that City centre?) I ended up in a back street with a small archway at the end of it, there was enough room to get the bike through and onto a cycleway/road I couldn’t tell which but there were cars about so didn’t worry, although I may have gone through the arch when I shouldn’t have done!. A stop in the middle of this roadway sorted out the evidence photo so I retraced my steps back through the arch and into the old town (city) area, picked up the sat nav trail and headed off to the next stop.
My next destination was Calshot, and specifically the Castle, researching on Google Earth showed the castle to be right on the Solent so should prove to be an easy stop off. After a good trip from Salisbury my research proved to be correct, don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? Calshot itself was an interesting place, again somewhere I had never visited, looked to have a history for flying boats and seaborne aviation, the large hangers sort of gave that away, plus they were named after famous seaplanes. I made a mental note to have a look when I got home. Also part of the charm of Calshot are the numerous beach huts lining the beach, no surprise there!, however what was a bit of a surprise was the price they sell for, when I looked up the area after returning home it seems they exchange owners for costs in the region of £20K.
The last stop of the day was now my next target, Warsash which was nearly opposite Calshot over the water. By now the tank was becoming a bit low so I made a mental note to stop at the first garage, this turned out to be harder than imagined as the only petrol station I passed was on the Motorway and being a bit of a tight arse was reluctant to part with 138p for a litre of go juice so I cracked on assuming there would be one en-route.
I arrived in Warsash still sans fuel, so decided to park up in the pub car park diagonally opposite the tower to get the photograph, turned out to be a good spot. The tower was built to hold a shed load (or should that be a tower load) of water and they put a clock face on it, presumably for decoration. It has long since ceased to hold water and is now a private residence.
With all the photos taken my thoughts turned to fuel, consulting the trusty sat nav I searched for the nearest petrol station and set off, this Esso garage proved to be a red herring and it was closed for refurbishment, luckily another search brought up a BP garage not 500 yards down the road, disaster averted, not good running out of go juice. I filled up and set a course for home some 120 miles away, I exchanged a couple of text messages with the “arm in arm” so she knew when to expect me back and set off up the M27, M3, A38, M40 A422, it was a quick route and can’t fault the road planners one little bit.
Getting home just before 3pm also gave me a bit of time left in the day to do a few chores, specifically get the washing machine out of the kitchen as it had given up the ghost a few days earlier and as we were expecting the new one in a couple of days I wanted to get ahead, however this turned into another debacle thanks to Tesco & Hotpoint.
Excellent day trip for Billy and his no mates, looking forward to the next one.